Through the Bible Day by Day
And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD.
FACING THE ENEMY’S THREATENINGS
That bowed form of Hezekiah before the altar of God, while his servants and elders were conferring with Isaiah, is a beautiful emblem of the true way of meeting trouble. And it is very blessed when our cause is so closely identified with God’s that we can appeal to Him to intervene for His own sake, 2Ki_19:4.
All through this crisis, Isaiah acted the part of a patriot and a saint. His intrepid figure stands out in bold relief amid the storm. He even dared to compose a funeral ode for the burial of this imperious tyrant. In all literature there is nothing more sublime than Isa_10:11-14. When bitter and threatening words are flung at us, let us go up to the house of God. See Psa_73:17. Let us get in touch with some holy soul, of the type of Isaiah, and ask for his prayers on our behalf. The prayer of a righteous man is very effectual. To stand in God’s secret place is to be in the calm center of the cyclone. Around us the elements may rage and the people imagine a vain thing; but they shall pass away as the chaff of the threshing-floor, while not a hair of our head shall perish.
And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.
SPREADING THE CASE BEFORE THE LORD
That bowed form of King Hezekiah, kneeling before God with this insolent and blasphemous effusion spread out before him, is a beautiful suggestion of our duty under similar circumstances. When we receive letters of rebuke and unkindness, whether they are signed or anonymous, let us treat them as Hezekiah treated this one. Let us spread them before God, and plead with Him to interpose for His holy Name’s sake. How blessed it is when our lot is so identified with God’s that we can forget ourselves in the one sincere desire that His character shall be vindicated and His Name honored! The selfish element has been so strong in our praying and doing!
In all Scripture there is nothing finer than the magnificent answer to Sennacherib’s challenge which God gave through Isaiah. The phrase, “virgin daughter,” fittingly indicates that the foreign invader was not to set his foot in the Holy City. Listen to her gleeful laughter, as strong in the Lord of hosts, she derides her foes, 2Ki_19:21, etc. But that faith may be ours. Others who have not made God their trust are like the green herb that withers in the drought: but they who are planted in God send their roots deep down to the moist earth and draw perennial freshness and strength.
Hast thou not heard long ago how I have done it, and of ancient times that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste fenced cities into ruinous heaps.
THE ANSWER OF THE KING OF KINGS
These verses, taken with Isa_10:5-15, form a most suggestive and sublime comment on the words, “the Lord reigneth.” They show us God using the Assyrian as “the rod of His anger,” and working personally and mightily through the politics of the world. Isaiah’s faith, through all this terrible crisis, was the one bulwark behind which king and people lay entrenched. What a gift one such man is to an entire people! His heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord, and he cannot be made afraid by evil tidings.
It has been suggested that this was a Sabbatic year, the produce of which sufficed for two years, 2Ki_19:29. In any case, the Sabbatic peace and calm had entered Isaiah’s soul. They who have learned to stay themselves on God may sing triumphal odes, in sure conviction of coming victory. Thus, also, it befell. The angel of God’s deliverance wrought through some terrible outbreak of plague, and thus the tents were strewn with the silent corpses of men who had yesterday been full of manly vigor. The Lord was Judge, Lawgiver, and King; and saved His people, as the mother-bird, with outspread wing, protects her brood against the hawk. God’s presence, like an invisible river, surrounded and saved His people. “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge,” Psa_46:11.