Here we are retired and in need of rest and relaxation. What gives? What about these Bible verses? Isaiah 36:4 is a strange one. Some context here. Jerusalem and Judah are being threatened by the world power of its day, Assyria. The Assyrian King Sennacherib sends his high officials to pressure God’s people into submission. He seeks to undermine their confidence. The foreign official tells Judah’s King Hezekiah this–‘…Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this trust of yours?'(ESV).
Sennacherib preens himself as the supreme power in the world, upon which no foreign god has ever had any control, authority or success. No god has ever defeated him, he brags. ‘And yours won’t either, Hezekiah’. Then Sennacherib has the nerve to say that Israel’s God, Yahweh, has said this to him– “The LORD said to me, ‘Go up against this land(Israel) and destroy it'”(Isaiah 36: 10). The evil Assyrian powerhouse pulls out all the stops, resorting to any tactic to put abject fear into the hearts of God’s people. I love what Hezekiah does next, up against such a fierce foe and liar.
What does Hezekiah do first? Poll the citizens for possible options? No. Send out advisors to ‘spin’ a positive message in a dire situation? No. Gather his most trusted advisors around him for a consensus? None of the above. Verse 1 says–‘As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the LORD.’ And then he calls for Isaiah the prophet.
Of course it’s wise to seek other’s counsel. We know this. But what comes first? For me, it’s worry and fretting. I go over things until they build up into a huge tangle of nerves.
What have I discovered over the years? Prayer helps because God answers prayer. God wants us to think about Him. First. To focus on His promises found in the Bible. First. To find rest and relaxation, trusting Him. First.
Even though the question of the day comes from one of God’s enemies, it’s still a good one. On what do we rest? On whom do we trust? Trust is a big issue. The Hebrew word is used seven times here in Isaiah 36: 4-9. Where do we place our trust? On big ‘bucks’ and bulging investment portfolios? On looks? Government and elected leaders? On education or positions in life? On church and pastors? Families and friends? All have their place… behind coming to Jesus with everything, placing them at His feet, walking away knowing that in His care we’ll be blessed.
I wish I always trusted the Lord. I haven’t. But the little baby steps I take will result in giant strides for me with Him. You too? Why not?
Prayer: Lord, may my fears give way to faith in you. Through Jesus your Son. Amen.