-When Hezekiah heard the words of the king of Assyria, he tore his clothes in anguish and covered himself with sack cloth and entered the house of the LORD. He sent Eliakim, Shebna, and the elders of the priests, covered with sack cloth to Isaiah the prophet in their day of distress, rebuke, and rejection; “for children have come to birth, and there is no strength to deliver (Isaiah 37:1-3).” In other words, they knew their weakness and were absolutely willing to do what the LORD said in this dire situation. They were broken and desperate for His will and His answers. A beseeching prayer for the remnant of the people of God left in Jerusalem was given in this exchange to the prophet (Isaiah 37:4). Isaiah responded to tell the king to not be afraid of the words he had heard from the servant of the king of Assyria, which blasphemed God. The LORD will put a spirit in him so that he will hear a rumor and return to his own land. And the LORD will see to it that the king of Assyria will fall by the sword in his own land (Isaiah 37:5-7). This occurs by the end of the chapter as his own sons take Sennacherib’s life (Isaiah 37:37-38).
-Then Rabshakeh, Sennacherib’s servant, returned to find the king of Assyria fighting in western Judah in Libnah for he heard that the king had left Lachish (Isaiah 37:8). There were more derogatory words thrown back at Hezekiah in an effort to discourage and dismay the people of Jerusalem and take their faith away from God (Isaiah 37:9-13). Hezekiah took this letter from the messengers and read it, then went up to the house of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD in prayer (Isaiah 37:14-15). The king praised the LORD who is enthroned above the cherubim as the only true God alone and transcendent over every nation and kingdom as the Creator (Isaiah 37:16). He humbly asked for the LORD to incline His ears and eyes to the arrogant words of the enemy who was reproaching the majesty of the Almighty. He acknowledged their earthly power and destructive capabilities, and then he petitioned the LORD for deliverance from their hand for the sole purpose of magnifying the glory of the LORD to all the kingdoms of the earth (Isaiah 37:17-20). *Application* A right heart before the LORD will bring His intended purposes and give Him ultimately glory. We cannot ultimately solve all of our problems with earthly clout. Only God can really save the day eternally speaking. Turn to Him in humility for deliverance that lasts.
-Isaiah responds with a sent word from the LORD. Because of the king’s prayers about the specific situation with the king of Assyria, God has spoken against the foe. The LORD calls Assyria by the feminine gender as a mocker and despiser of His people and His authority. Assyria made the mistake of thinking that the God of Israel was like the other false gods of the nations they had destroyed. Their reproach of the LORD would have catastrophic consequences. God knows their going out and coming in and all their rage against Him. Because of their raging against God and their arrogance in His ears, He will put His hook in their nose and a bridle in their lips and turn them back by the way which they came to Judah. The promise is given to God’s people that their remnant will remain and eat the fruit of their own land for years and years and years as the “house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem will go forth a remnant and out of Zion survivors. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this (Isaiah 37:21-32).” God will not allow the king of Assyria to come to the city of Jerusalem or shoot an arrow there. It is prophesied that the king of Assyria will not come before it with shield or throw a siege ramp against it (Isaiah 37:33). God, Himself, will defend the city to save it for His own sake and for His servant David’s sake to whom He had promised (2 Samuel 7, Isaiah 37:34-35). Then the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 men in the camp of the Assyrians in the night. When the remaining men arose in the morning they rightly decided to depart and return to their land and the king returned to Nineveh where his home was. This is where he met his doom at the hands of his sons, who escaped to the mountains of Ararat in modern day Turkey. Sennacherib’s other son, Esarhaddon, became king in his place (Isaiah 37:38). *Application* God certainly responds to the prayers of His humble people when they cry out for help. Go to God in your time of need and watch Him perform miracles by His own zeal and passion for you and His ultimate glory.
Verse to Memorize: Isaiah 37:20