King Hezekiah is in a pickle. We discussed in the last chapter how he is about all that’s left of what is left of Jerusalem, and King Sennacherib of Assyria is threatening to take it away. He’s not just threatening. He’s badmouthing God while claiming also to have God on his side. But God lets King Sennacherib know right away that the joke’s on him because, … drum roll, please, … God’s been planning this all along! Enter Isaiah, who delivers the message. I forget how much I love Isaiah’s writing until I start reading it. Isaiah is our newest prophet. We haven’t seen or heard much about any prophets since Elisha died several chapters (and years) ago. Isaiah is a poet of sorts, or at least many of his messages are relayed in a poetry-like style. Of course, in English, the poems for which he is known, lose some of their poetic qualities, but they still are so flipping gorgeous. As soon as I started reading the passage by Isaiah in this chapter, I immediately started thinking about how God allows us to deliver His words in styles unique to each of us. And each of us readers in return respond and resonate in different ways to different styles. Can you imagine if there was only one style of writing, and each of us was “programmed,” so to speak, to appreciate, understand and comprehend only one style of writing? Madness. Also boring. Thank you, God, for diversity. Anyway, now that we’ve talked about how Isaiah wrote, let’s talk about what he said. He said EXACTLY what we hoped he’d say: don’t worry about Assyria. I got your back, Jerusalem! But through Isaiah, He said it wayyyyyyy more eloquently than that. Isaiah’s words are punchy and to the point. Ain’t no messin’ about! Yet, his sentences and thoughts are strewn together so that they not only emphasize the great anger and emotion of God but also the absolute love and romance God has with Jerusalem. I mean, it’s beautiful, guys. Look at verses 29 through 31. For the umpteenth time, God is taking what is left of His people, and He is planting seeds with them, and He is starting over. “For a remnant of my people will spread out from Jerusalem, a group of survivors from Mount Zion.”
A group of SURVIVORS. Let that sink in.
Now go to the next line.
“The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!”
I underlined passionate commitment, but I’m also eyeballing the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. God is so determined to protect his remnants. He is “PASSIONATELY” committed to protecting them, so passionate, in fact, that He rallies Heaven’s Armies … for these few people … for the remnants. We don’t hear about Heaven’s Armies often, but when we do, you can bet that the battle is gonna be ON.
The message Isaiah delivers is so clear and so passionate that we can deduce, even though the chapter ends somewhat vaguely, that Assyria did not capture Jerusalem and that King Hezekiah will live to see another day. I put a mark around Nineveh in verse 36 because this is the first mention of a city we will later get to know a little better. I also circled that Esarhaddon becomes the next king of Assyria … not Israel … Assyria. I think that’s worth noting.
Writing prompt: passion
Do you have a passion so great for something or someone that you would devote your life to protecting it? Write about your passions today, or write about how you feel about God’s passion for you.