THE ASSYRIAN CRISIS, A TIME OF GROWTH
The Assyrian Crisis in Judah appears, from the surface, as a time of great luck for the people of Jerusalem. However, by examining the situation with a more powerful lens, one can see the powerful religious infuence such an event could have on a resident’s theology. If I were a Judean during this time, my faith would have faced the toughest test of my life. Going into such a conflict with a nation as strong as Assyria, I could not help but be afraid. My bones would tremble at the thought of destruction of the Holy City of Jerusalem, of the people of Judah, and of my own being. Although I would have believed in God, I would still be filled with fear. This fear would escalate when I heard a messenger for the king of Assyria, as stated in Isaiah 36, mocking God, insulting His power and doubting His saving grace on Jerusalem. He goes on to try and convice us, the people of Jerusalem, that Hezekiah is not trustworthy, and that we will not find help in Egypt because they are not reliable. Finally, knowing the path of destruction that Assyria has already created, and their hunger for more, in addition to the messenger’s statement that the Lord has commanded Assyria to go and destroy Jerusalem, my feelings of fear and doubt would uncontrollably well up inside me. We are, after all, only human, and fear is a common feeling, despite where we stand with God. No man lives without fear, but though fear our faith is tested and strengthened.
Upon hearing and experiencing the truth of Isaiah’s claim that God will spare Jerusalem and force the Assyrians back home, my faith in God would be fortified. In the times of fear, I would have realized how weak, how immature, and how far I must go in my faith and trust in God. But once I heard Isaiah’s prophecy, I would use it as a way to do away with my fear. Knowing that God was going to save His Holy City, and that He was going to continue with His perfect plan for mankind that dated back as far as the times of Abraham and held a future for the arrival of the Messiah, I would know that my God follows His plans and keeps His promises. Through this, I would have peace. I would soon learn that I can trust Him in everything because as it says in Scripture, “if God is for us, who can be against us?” Being a resident of His Holy City, I would know that God was on my side forever, and whatever doubt I ever had in God’s promises or plans for my life would be washed away. Seeing God spare my life, along with my city, I could not help but restore all confidence that was lost in my Father. I would be able to follow Psalms 46:10, and be still, knowing that He is God. What a comfort! What a sense of utter faith, utter dependence, and utter meekness!
According to Isaiah 37:25-29, God had given Assyria the power that it had and allowed them to conquer who they did. But, upon realizing the attiude and mockeries of the Assyrians towards Himself, God sent them home and allowed their king to be murdered. This passage would have taught me, as a Judean, the “other side” of God: His anger. I had already experienced His grace and faithfulness in saving my life and city, but I now would learn that God’s punishment is real, that what we do against God will not go unaccounted for. And sometimes, as with the king of Assyria, the punishment is as costly as one’s life. This would teach me how ignorant I would be if I were to mock my Father. Because of what He has so graciously saved me from and due to the evidence of His power in punishment, I would learn to so thankful and so in debt to God, that there is no room or reason to insult Him.
Furthermore, the evidence of God’s grace as a lesson to my faith could be seen in two more cases. The first involves God promise to Hezekiah that the nation of Judah will once again return the luxury it existed in. This involved an increase...
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