The King of Assyria was about to learn who he answers to.
God announced that He had indeed sent Assyria to punish Samaria, i.e. northern Israel for their disobedience; however, He would not let Assyria enter Jerusalem. God would call another puppet to punish His beloved city.
God pronounces His complete sovereignty over Assyria to chastise His people; however, Assyria believes that their exploits are entirely of their own imagination and power. Assyria had grand intentions to conquer many nations. Such arrogance would be their downfall.
“Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Lord has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, that He will say ‘I will punish the…arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks.’ For he says: ‘By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I am prudent…’” Isaiah 10:11-12
After God had completed His purpose for Israel He would punish Assyria for their pride and actions taken against His chosen nation. Assyria had boasted that they were acting independently.
After overtaking Samaria in 722 BC, Sennacherib, king of Assyria set his sights of Judah and Jerusalem.
“Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah (701 BC) that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them.” Isaiah 36:1
King Sennacherib sent his representative to advise the Israelites and Hezekiah that they should succumb to Assyria’s dominance and pay a tribute to them.
“Has any one of the gods of the nations delivered its land from the hand of the king of Assyria? Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?” Isaiah 36:18, 20
Hezekiah was duly concerned and sent a representative to seek counsel from the prophet Isaiah.
Without hesitation Isaiah responded to Hezekiah’s fears.
“And Isaiah said to them…‘Thus says the LORD: “Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. Surely I will send a spirit upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.”’” Isaiah 37:6-7
Then Hezekiah prayed directly to God. God heard Hezekiah’s prayer and told him via Isaiah what His message would be to King Sennacherib.
“The virgin, the daughter of Zion, has despised you, laughed you to scorn, the daughter of Jerusalem has shaken her head behind your back: Whom have you reproached and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice, and lifted up your eyes on high? Against the Holy one of Israel.”’” Isaiah 37:21-23
God then reveals exactly what will, and will not, happen to Sennacherib.
Sennacherib would not be able to enter Jerusalem by any means. He will be humiliated and return to his home in Nineveh.
“Then the angel of the LORD went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses… So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh. Now it came to pass, as he was worshiping…his god, that his sons…struck him down with the sword…” Isaiah 37:36-38
Thus the Assyrian Empire ended in 612 BC.
The Assyrian Empire was just an example for current times.
“This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations. For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart Him?” Isaiah 14:26
“For I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel (plan) shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.’” Isaiah 46:9-10
“Known to God from eternity are all His works.” Acts 15:18
Next we’ll see which nation God would call to replace the Assyrian Empire to punish Jerusalem for their disobedience.
To be continued.