The inhabitants of Jerusalem found themselves at a crossroads in Isaiah 36. To whom were they going to listen?
From inside the walls, King Hezekiah’s message was straightforward: “We trust in the LORD our God. The LORD will deliver us.”
From outside the walls, the taunts of the messenger from Sennacherib, king of Assyria, were terrifying: “You’re doomed to eat your own dung and drink your own urine.” At the heart of the taunts was an effort to undermine the people’s trust in their king and faith in their God.
“Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you.” (36:14)
“Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD by saying, ‘The LORD will surely deliver us.'” (36:15)
“Do not listen to Hezekiah. For thus says the king of Assyria: Make your peace with me and come out to me.” (36:16)
Don’t listen, don’t follow, don’t trust in the LORD. Spoiler alert: by the end of Isaiah 37, the LORD is exalted and Sennacherib’s army is decimated. But thousands of years later, the taunts and pressures haven’t let up, have they? Don’t listen, don’t follow, don’t trust in the LORD.
It’s interesting how the second half of today’s Bible reading provides an ever-relevant answer to the taunts, “so that (our) faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”
Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”–
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. (1 Cor 2:5-10)
And so we too find ourselves at the crossroads. The spirit of those taunts shouted centuries ago outside Jerusalem lives on: don’t listen, don’t follow, don’t trust in God. How foolish to allow the Bible to define and regulate issues of sexuality, marriage, morality, ethics, righteousness, and self-control in the 21st century! It’s past time to make your peace with the wisdom of this age.
But the Spirit who is from God continues to draw our attention and allegiance heavenward. To whom will we listen? What will we believe? In whom will our trust and confidence rest? Will we walk by sight or by faith?
Each of us makes that choice at the crossroads daily. Choose wisely.