Pastor Steve Ellison
We looked last time at Isaiah 33 where God prophesied to His people that He would rescue them from the Assyrians. We ought to remember that at the time Assyria was the most powerful and cruel nation on the earth. We find the prophecy repeated in greater detail in Isaiah 37. In verses six and seven, God mentioned a specific sin of the Assyrians for which He would punish them: blasphemy against Jehovah. Encouraged by the prophecy, King Hezekiah prayed over a threatening letter sent by the Assyrians. In answering Hezekiah’s prayer, through the prophet Isaiah, God asked and answered some related questions. Three things were promised. The Assyrians would be driven out of Israel. A remnant would remain and life would return to normal. The king of Assyria would not even be allowed to approach Jerusalem.
Isaiah 37:21-29 details the first part of the prophesy against Assyria, Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent word to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Because you have prayed to Me about Sennacherib king of Assyria, 22 this is the word that the Lord has spoken against him: “She has despised you and mocked you, The virgin daughter of Zion; She has shaken her head behind you, The daughter of Jerusalem! 23 “Whom have you reproached and blasphemed? And against whom have you raised your voice And haughtily lifted up your eyes? Against the Holy One of Israel! 24 “Through your servants you have reproached the Lord, And you have said, ‘With my many chariots I came up to the heights of the mountains, To the remotest parts of Lebanon; And I cut down its tall cedars and its choice cypresses. And I will go to its highest peak, its thickest forest. 25 ‘I dug wells and drank waters, And with the sole of my feet I dried up All the rivers of Egypt.’ 26 “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. 27 “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. 28 “But I know your sitting down And your going out and your coming in And your raging against Me. 29 “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. (NASU)
God asked Assyria, “Whom have you reproached and blasphemed? And against whom have you raised your voice And haughtily lifted up your eyes?” Against the Holy One of Israel! Evidently Assyria did not realize that their arrogant words against Hezekiah and the nation were really against the God of Israel. In v24b-25, God quotes Assyria using I/my seven times giving ample evidence of their sin of pride. Immediately, God reminded them that their mighty deeds were planned and decreed by Him from long ago. Not only that, those exploits were made possible by God.
Verses 28-29 indicate that God sees and hears the Assyrian blasphemy against Him. In graphic language God predicts their outcome. You and I ought to learn from this example. If in fact we accomplish anything of note, we had best credit God with it. Furthermore, we better not exhibit pride and arrogance against God or men. I would like to avoid a hook in my nose.