"Beware lest Hezekiah mislead you by saying, 'Yahweh will deliver us.' Has any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that Yahweh should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?'" - Isaiah 36:18-20
These are the words of Sennacherib, king of Assyria, through his servant the Rabshakeh. The Rabshakeh is speaking in Hebrew to the Jews hiding behind the walls of Jerusalem. He warns the people not to believe Hezekiah when he claims God will deliver the city. The gods of other cities have fallen before Assyria. Why should the God of Israel be any different? The year is 701 bc.
Belief that God can and does intervene in our world is at a low ebb. Most of us have become philosophic naturalists. We don't really believe God is active in our world. Many view the universe as a cosmic machine, where no true ethics exists and where might makes right. In such a world, Sennacherib would be right. There would be no way for Jerusalem to escape the fate suffered by other cities. But there is a God, and he is very active in our world. He is more active than we realise. And we can trust in him to act on our behalf. He saves and delivers his people. He is the living God (Is 37:4).
Father, you are real and living. In fact all life comes from you. You are the Creator of the universe, and you sustain our lives. Without you, we wouldn't be here. You are different from the gods of gold, silver, wood, and stone who can do nothing. When we pray to you, we are not just praying into the air. You are there, and you hear us. So may we trust in you to deliver us from what we are going through right now. You are a God who delivers in surprising ways. May we have the faith of Hezekiah and Isaiah today. Deal with our problems and opponents in supernatural ways, so that you may be glorified. In Jesus' name, amen.
- Jeff Coleman