In our reading today, God’s people are facing a major threat to their very survival. The mighty Assyrian army appears right on the doorstep of Jerusalem, demanding the surrender of King Hezekiah and the kingdom of Judah. It is interesting to note that the army commander appears at the very spot on the road to Washerman’s Field (Isaiah 36:2) where years before Isaiah had appeared to King Ahaz, when they were being threatened by an alliance of Ephraimites and Arameans.(Isaiah 7:3-6).
In that situation, Isaiah said to Ahaz not to fear, but to stand by faith in God’s promises to Abraham and David. God’s presence would be with Ahaz if he trusted the LORD, but he would fail if he didn’t stand by faith (Isaiah 7:9). Ahaz ended up being admonished by the prophet Isaiah because he trusted military alliances more than the LORD.
Ahaz’ son Hezekiah ended up responding like a true Davidic king. He knew the LORD had promised to be with David’s house, and that as long as they walked by faith and obedience, their more powerful enemies would not be able to defeat them. Through the LORD, they would win the victory.
The threat faced by Hezekiah and Judah was much greater than the threat faced by Ahaz a generation earlier. But Hezekiah had a much clearer understanding of what it meant to be a Davidic king than Ahaz, and being a leader of God’s covenant people. He knew the LORD would fight their battles if they walked in faithfulness to their LORD. The Assyrian army commander told the Israelites not to trust the LORD because the gods of the peoples they had already defeated were not able to rescue them from the Assyrian army (Isaiah 36:13-20).
Hezekiah knew that the Assyrian army was very strong, but he also knew that the nations they had defeated possessed gods who were really no-gods (Isaiah 37:14-20). Hezekiah ended up trusting God’s word that came through Isaiah (Is’ 37:21-35) and the LORD ended up routing the Assyrian army. The angel of the LORD put to death 185,000 soldiers and King Sennacherib’s sons ended up assassinating their father while he worshiped his god in a pagan temple(Isaiah 37:36-38).
Isaiah portrays Hezekiah as an ideal Davidic king who faithfully trusted the LORD and who led the people of God to experience the blessings of the Mosaic covenant.
We see the same pattern for God’s people under the New Covenant. In Phil. 4:4-18, we see Paul paint the portrait of a faithful Christian life. On the basis of this portrait outlined in these verses, Paul declares these words in Phil.4:19: “And my God will meet all your needs according to ho his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” When we walk in covenant faithfulness, God’s presence and blessings will be with us.This is the principle of Immanuel, “God with us.” In Christ’s love and service, Pastor John