Hezekiah had prayed, and Isaiah had been sent with a message in which Sennacherib’s overthrow was promised: the king had not long to wait to see what he desired. God’s actions are prompt, for his preparations for war are always made; his arsenal is well stored. It was a word and a blow, and Assyria was smitten never to trouble Hezekiah again.
The few who survived looked upon the myriads of dead, lying “like the leaves of the forest when autumn has blown.”
Now that this terrible robber was no longer able to roam abroad with his marauding host, there was some rest to the surrounding nations, who thus profited by Hezekiah’s prayer.
Thus at the feet of his own idol he poured out his heart’s blood, and his blasphemies were heard no more.
That jubilant Psalm, the seventy-sixth, was probably written at the time of the destruction of Sennacherib’s army; at any rate it is singularly descriptive of it. Let us sympathise in the holy joy of the writer as he triumphs in the triumph of his God.
If unknown in all the world beside he is famous among his people. Because the world knows him not, it blasphemes as Rabshakeh did, but the Lord’s people delight to sound forth his praises to the world’s end.
Without leaving his peaceful abode in the temple, he sent forth his word and snapped the arrows of his enemies before they could fit them upon the string, he ended the fight ere they could begin it. They did not cast up a bank nor shoot an arrow there. And shall not the Lord defend his church? Assuredly! She is safe, come what may.
Heaps upon heaps, Assyria had stowed away her plunder, and the fame thereof went abroad, but Israel’s God eclipsed the mighty deeds of the destroying invader. Glory be to his name!
They came to spoil, and were spoiled themselves,
they have slept their sleep their last sleep, the sleep of death
Their arms were palsied, the rigour of death stiffened their fingers.
Never to neigh or rattle again; still were the trampings of the horses and the crash of the cars.
So complete a destruction was evidently a judgment from heaven, and those who heard of it cried out, “This is the finger of God!” Such a blow will yet be struck at the Papacy, for fall it must, to the astonishment of all mankind.
Enemies are held in by God’s will, and when allowed to rage, God’s glory will be enhanced by their overthrow. Let us never yield to fear.
The Lord of hosts is mightier than the mightiest foes of his church.
As men slip off a tender shoot from a plant, so can the Lord remove the proudest monarchs; be it ours to worship, love, and serve the King of kings. To his name be endless praises.
His place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks.”
How gloriously did Isaiah speak at this time; let us read his eloquent words—Isa_33:1-2; Isaiah 7-24.
Assyria had gained power by treachery, and by treachery she should fall.
The Assyrian king refused all terms of peace, and made valiant men weep for fear, at the remembrance of his power and cruelty.
Devastation and desolation followed the invaders track.
At God’s rebuke the mighty adversary would be consumed, consumed by his own fury, gone like thorns in the fire.
Their terror at Sennacherib led them to enquire how they could endure the yet greater wrath of God, whose wrath is like a fire which devours, and yet burns on. Everlasting burnings are more to be feared than death itself; be it our great business to escape from them. The righteous were at ease while the hypocrites were alarmed, and so we read—
Hezekiah came forth in his robes again, and the people, being free from the invader, could travel as far abroad as they chose.
The proud Assyrian engineers and accountants were disappointed, and his harsh-speaking soldiery came not near the city.
They had all the advantages of broad rivers without being exposed to attacks by vessels of war, for the Lord was with them. Not so Assyria, for its state was like a vessel in a storm.
Jerusalem healed, restored, forgiven, was blessed indeed. Such blessings have all the saints.