2 Kings 19:29-37 NLTse Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Here is the proof that what I say is true: “This year you will eat only what grows up by itself, and next year you will eat what springs up from that. But in the third year you will plant crops and harvest them; you will tend vineyards and eat their fruit. (30) And you who are left in Judah, who have escaped the ravages of the siege, will put roots down in your own soil and will grow up and flourish. (31) For a remnant of my people will spread out from Jerusalem, a group of survivors from Mount Zion. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen! (32) “And this is what the LORD says about the king of Asscyria: “His armies will not enter Jerusalem. They will not even shoot an arrow at it. They will not march outside its gates with their shields nor build banks of earth against its walls. (33) The king will return to his own country by the same road on which he came. He will not enter this city, says the LORD. (34) For my own honor and for the sake of my servant David, I will defend this city and protect it.” (35) That night the angel of the LORD went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere. (36) Then King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there. (37) One day while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with their swords. They then escaped to the land of Ararat, and another son, Esarhaddon, became the next king of Assyria.
God’s signs do far more than prove He is God, and with Jerusalem. God’s signs fill us in on a few facts about war. When a city hears about an approaching army, they go out, gather food to store inside the city walls, then burn the remaining crops. They leave nothing for the invading army to eat. All the cattle left outside the city are slaughtered. At times, wells are poisoned if they cannot be hidden. When siege weapons became popular, forests miles around the city were set on fire. Cities made life as rough as they could on invading armies. Self destruction was a part of defense. It was a way of life.
Stocking food inside city walls was a sign of self dependence. People shut themselves behind tall, think walls like people build personal walls around their hearts today. Pray, and God will open up an array of spiritual lessons on this scene Jerusalem physically suffered through. God would not be God if He didn’t have a plan to turn every trial into a series of lessons, both physical, and spiritual. Each reaches into the emotional level only God can see and touch. This is known as living proof of God’s existence, love, and care for His people.
God has to find ways to tell people how He works outside those walls, both physical and emotional. Once again I have to repeat the fact, sometimes these messages are hidden, and sometimes they are clear as day. When we look at the full story, we can see a king vacillate between trusting God, and the world, which is often confused with making personal decisions. But where do those decisions come from? People like to take credit for making their own decisions. The mistake they make is, they don’t think about where the knowledge to make those decisions came from. Hezekiah obviously made a decision to use the gold and silver on the outside of the temple to buy security. That payment was used by Assyria to buy and build a larger army that wound up camped outside Jerusalem’s gates and walls. We have a lot of somewhat hidden spiritual symbols here. Each is plainly explained by the story as soon as we compare the physical aspects of the story to the personal aspects recorded about the main characters. Putting those details together reveal the spiritual nature of the story in such a way, we can’t help but see how God is trying to reach us with a lesson.
It may not seem so obvious, but learning to read scripture the way it was composed is one of those spiritual walls. If you don’t have enough time, go to sources outside scripture, or want to appear like you know the answer, you build spiritual walls. That is why God gave proof, He knew what He was talking about in scripture.
Every prophecy in scripture has a recorded fulfillment. That is one of the things this story teaches. When God inspires a writer to record a prophecy, God also inspired a writer to record how it fulfilled. That is what separates God from anything in this world. That is pure, concrete evidence, God is God. If we know how to set prophecies and their recorded fulfillment in a side by side chart, we would have no problem proving God’s existence in a court of law anywhere in this world. God provided so much evidence, it would amaze this world, solidify every Christian’s belief in Him, and most likely, cause a change in this world we could not imagine. So why don’t Christian leaders use this age old fact as a tool?
The people who left Egypt saw more miracles then we can ever hope to see in our lives. How far did that get them? The priests who killed Jesus were pointed back to dozens of prophecies they saw fulfilled before their very eyes. That didn’t help them a bit. There were some who looked up a few of those prophecies, established a connection with God’s Spirit, but waited until they had enough evidence, and enough guts to place their reputations on the line. This world has too many distractions to just fall down and worship at God’s feet. We could make a list of those distractions, but there aren’t enough trees in this world to make enough paper to make a list to cover every distraction. But that seems to be what this world chooses to focus on, those distractions.
Look at how Hezekiah was distracted. Someone told Hezekiah what his father, and other kings did to solve a problem. So Hezekiah paid off Assyria, who used the money to buy a larger army, and all Hezekiah did was created a bigger threat, and new distractions. This world is stuck in a rut, and can’t see out of the holes they dig for themselves. All they can do is try to come up with new ways to dig themselves out, when all they accomplish is digging deeper holes.
God showed, His solutions are as natural as anything He created in this world. God did that by pointing back to creation. Anyone should be able to figure that one out. “Here is the proof that what I say is true: This year you will eat only what grows up by itself, and next year you will eat what springs up from that. But in the third year you will plant crops and harvest them; you will tend vineyards and eat their fruit.” Where do you think God was pointing? When we try to figure that simple symbol out on our own, we dig a deeper hole away from God, When we allow the story to explain the symbols, we see the light. God is telling us, we have to remember, He created all of this and is still in total control
We have to immerse ourselves in the scene to get into the story. The facts reveal themselves as naturally as the food that God mentioned grows. Who was God trying to reach? Was God only trying to reach Hezekiah, then tell him, “well now that you have the answer, your on your own to convert the rest of the nation.” No! That’s not how God works. To some people that may make sense. To people fighting a problem with pride, that may sound like a plan. But that is not how God works.
Who was on those walls when Assyria threatened Jerusalem? Maybe a few thousand people, with about a million thoughts going through their heads, and hundreds of plans to solve the problem, or give up. There were a million fears on those walls at that moment, caused by thousands of Satan’s most reliable demons. Satan launched a concentrated attack to smash and hope Jerusalem had in themselves, and in God. Somehow God had to come up with a plan designed to reach every single one of those people. What better plan than to feed them, and turn their thoughts back to the Creator? Sometimes God’s plans are so simple, they seem to fly right past people.
Since we already looked at transition words, we will look at one here. This is a little advanced for some people, so don’t feel bad if you don’t catch on with the first example you see. Look for other examples in scripture until you see one that opens this door of understanding for you.
The little word, “and,” found in verse 30 is a transition word. When we see that word, and similar words, we have to look for a transition in time. Does the prophecy move from present time when it was delivered, or expand into the future, past that generation in Jerusalem? We can look at other key words associated with this portion of the prophecy.
The scene expanded from Jerusalem to Judah, then onto Mount Zion, which is often a symbol pointing to all of God’s people, and often a place of learning directly from God.
Isaiah 14:23-28 NLTse “I will make Babylon a desolate place of owls, filled with swamps and marshes. I will sweep the land with the broom of destruction. I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!” (24) The LORD of Heaven’s Armies has sworn this oath: “It will all happen as I have planned. It will be as I have decided. (25) I will break the Assyrians when they are in Israel; I will trample them on my mountains. My people will no longer be their slaves nor bow down under their heavy loads. (26) I have a plan for the whole earth, a hand of judgment upon all the nations. (27) The LORD of Heaven’s Armies has spoken– who can change his plans? When his hand is raised, who can stop him?” (28) This message came to me the year King Ahaz died:
As we can see, this prophecy given to Isaiah was delivered in the same time frame, and is another piece of evidence, God knew how He was going to handle the Assyrian threat long before they showed up outside Jerusalem’s walls. If you searched, “my mountain,” in scripture, or followed a chain reference, you would find dozens of examples, other prophecies linking this event to the future. Many of those pointed to Jesus’s ministry, the early ministry of the apostles, and some of them point to our time, and the last days. The most amazing thing is how God used that little word, “and.” as a starting point. Or a type of road sign for us to follow.
When God is talking about a remnant, we have to be careful how it is interpreted. The physical remnant is clearly explained in scripture for a reason. Many false, or mislead leaders misuse and abuse the word remnant without understanding what it means, and not knowing the stories remnants are found in. They place a private interpretation on the word remnant to draw attention to themselves and their personal beliefs. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out what they are doing. When people choose to abuse God’s Word, that begins a chain reaction of events. Next they have to establish a whole new religion with members placing all their faith on the leaders to read and interpret scripture. Which is rather easy, since people look for cheap, easy ways into Heaven.
The word remnant is only one example. I don’t care to count all of them. I doubt if anyone would ever be able to count all those deceptions. That would be another, major waste of time. But that example also explains why people will not use the simple process of matching prophecies to their recorded fulfillments as undeniable evidence God does exist. Scripture is filled with hundreds of examples. To find them all requires a great deal of study. To find those links, people would need to know a few basic study procedures. That would mean, church members would have to know how to study scripture. Which would mean, those hundreds, and thousands of misinterpreted, and misapplied symbols would be exposed. That would leave leaders no alternative than to turn total control of their members over to Jesus. That is what the priests who killed Jesus feared the most. That fear has never changed. Some things in this world never change.
No wonder God uses the symbol of a remnant, a small piece. Only a few people will actually trust salvation in their own hands, minds, hearts, and time. In other words, take responsibility. Most people will be satisfied with simple answers, and rules to follow than check them out in scripture on their own. God says they, “will put roots down in your own soil and will grow up and flourish.” How often do we see that? How often do we see God’s Word flourish in people, producing twenty, fifty, or a hundred times what they’ve been told? Most Christians forget 80% of what they’ve been told between the door of their church and the door of their car. Is that flourishing in anyone’s book? That sounds more like that withered grass God used to describe Assyria.
To flourish, people have to escape the siege. They have to get off those walls, and out from behind their leaders. That’s when a view of Heaven, and all of God’s promises open up and flourish. Money seems to be the main distraction placing forces outside, forcing people into and onto those walls. Like Jerusalem, no one seems to have answers when trials arise. The threat is evident. The solutions seem impossible. People look to leaders, but are leaders going to be like Hezekiah seeking God at times when all appears lost?
Relying on money placed Jerusalem upon those walls. Money wasn’t the answer. It wasn’t even a temporary fix. Money strengthened the enemy. Why did Solomon decide to place treasures along side his temple? Didn’t he see the temptations they created?
God needs people to get out from behind those walls and get out into the world to accomplish what He took them out of Egypt to accomplish. Not invent a new variation of Egypt to enslave people. What did people specialize in physical Egypt? Building walls for the elite and powerful classes in Egypt. God used the walls of Jerusalem to bring out that point. What good did those walls do when kings consistently took out treasures, showering them on pagan kings, who invested those funds in new, larger, and more elaborate pagan temples, and their war machines to force their man made religions on the world? Those walls were nothing more than a hiding place. An attempt at hiding from the mistakes they made. A false sense of security. In the business world, we call it pointing fingers. “It’s not our fault, Look at that army outside our walls. We needed these walls.” People don’t see, their misuse of money, and lack of communication with God is the real cause of their problems. God never told them to build walls. God never wanted those walls erected. God never told Jerusalem to copy factions from the cultures they were sent into the promised land to eradicate. Kings, real men made those decisions, backed up by hand chosen committees used to verify man made plans to turn away from God and His plans.
God promised to protect Jerusalem. An invitation He expected Jerusalem to accept. But they turned it down, replacing God’s promise with a plan of their own. A long list of plans that failed. Until there was no place to turn, but to God.
The king of Assyria was to return to his land along the same road he came. That was to give him time to think. To reconsider his plans. He claimed to talk to God. But would the Assyrian king listen to God? The Assyrian king would not be allowed to enter the walls of his city. A sign from God showing how futile the kings plans were. The kings plans would never protect him.
A single angel showed how small the Assyrian army was in God’s eyes. God only needed one angel to wipe out 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. The angel killed every man in his sleep. Not a sound was heard. A mighty angel, standing taller than we could imagine, dressed in shimmering white, killed 185,000 heavily armed men without being seen or heard. No warning cry was heard. No call to battle was sounded. God’s final judgment happened in a flash. Bodies laid around the camp as a testimony, those lives were ended, and the fate of their souls was sealed forever. That was a message to people inside, and outside Jerusalem’s walls.
King Sennacherib of Assyria was so shocked by the instant defeat, he refused to show his face in his capital city. Instead he camped at Nineveh. Instead of asking God what happened, and why it happened, he asked his stone god, with no ears, mouth, or sense to answer. Inside that temple, king Sennacherib of Assyria was killed by his own sons. The king didn’t find honor and glory on the battlefield, but died in front of a stone idol, incapable of protecting anyone.