King Hezekiah was panicked. So was all Jerusalem. The Assyrian king, Sennacherib, was at the gate, ready to pull down the city walls and murder everyone inside.
Sennacherib’s emissary stood outside the walls with a message seeking to discourage Jerusalem’s defenders: “Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? And when have they delivered Samaria from my hand? 20 Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their land from my hand, that the Lord would deliver Jerusalem from my hand?’” (Isaiah 36:19-20)
And it is quite possible, judging from the context of the first half of the book of Isaiah that many soldiers on Jerusalem’s walls were thinking to themselves: “Yeah. Where are those gods? And is OUR God truly able to deliver us from the Assyrians?
Yes, where indeed were those gods?
But the Sovereign God of the Universe, the King of all kings, the Ruler of all rulers was sufficiently up for Sennacherib’s challenge. Here is the word He sent to Sennacherib through His prophet Isaiah:
“Have you not heard? Long ago I did it, from ancient times I planned it. Now I have brought it to pass, that you should turn fortified cities into ruinous heaps. “Therefore, their inhabitants were short of strength, they were dismayed and put to shame; They were as the vegetation of the field and as the green herb, as grass on the housetops is scorched before it is grown up. “But I know your sitting down and your going out and your coming in and your raging against Me. “Because of your raging against Me and because your arrogance has come up to My ears, therefore I will put My hook in your nose and My bridle in your lips, and I will turn you back by the way which you came." (Isaiah 37:26-29)
By the end of the chapter, Sennacherib was dead.
Fast forward to 2022. This morning I did what I do every morning during breakfast. I opened my computer and skimmed the news headlines.
I don’t know what God is doing with our world today. No one does
But I do know this – and Christian, please remember this – our God is unquestionably, unequivocally, and absolutely sovereign over all nations and people and leaders. The king’s heart is STILL like channels of water in God's hands (see Proverbs 21:1), and He STILL seeks to encourage His people with this inerrant proclamation: “Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales . . . All the nations are as nothing before Him, they are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless.” (Isaiah 40:15-17)
And a few chapters later in Isaiah’s prophecy, God tells His people: “I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you are afraid of man who dies and of the son of man who is made like grass, that you have forgotten the Lord your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, that you fear continually all day long because of the fury of the oppressor, as he makes ready to destroy . . .." (Isaiah 51:12-13)
Christian, please! Do NOT be afraid of the modern Sennacheribs as they ravage across our world and devastate nations. Listen, Christian! You and I have GOT to believe this because it is God's infallible truth: We and our loved ones are INVINCIBLE until God says we are not.
And there is not a person on earth, and there is no devil in hell, able to harm us unless our Father grants him permission. And if He DOES grant permission, then know this, too: God is still able to cause all things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (see Romans 8:28).