Rabshakeh

Isaiah 36

Hezekiah is king of Israel and had turned the people to trust and follow God. The enemy in the form of Assyria, has raised itself against Hezekiah to kill and conquer if he and the people will not surrender to this mighty power.

Sennacherib the kingdom of Assyria, sends Rabshakeh to negotiate, and present to Hezekiah, terms for peace. It is not peace. Ranshakeh wants everything and promises peace and prosperity to every Israelite home. This is the voice and the mark of the tyrant. When the war-mongers talk peace, we must beware.

Rabshakeh begins by undermining the allies of Hezekiah and pointing out their weakness and treachery. He calls pharaoh “a bruised reed..” which will cause injury and pain to whoever makes contact with him. Rabshakeh offers a treaty with Hezekiah, a treaty of horses but with no obligation to the Lord, the God of all.

Hezekiah’s advisors ask Rabshakeh to speak in Aramaic, so that the soldiers on the wall do not understand and become disillusioned and fearful. They are wise to the strategies of the enemy and are conversant with techniques of the ungodly to undermine faith. Rabshakeh ignores this request. He has come to speak to everyone and lay down the terms of the treatise so all can hear. He uses every opportunity to undermine and spread fear and doubt in the Lord, in Hezekiah and in the help of Egypt.

Rabshakeh promises all good things to the people if they will just follow him and believe in him. He boasts that the king of Assyria is so great and powerful, that he can do all these things for them, which their God the Lord cannot.

Rabshakeh reminds them that none of the surrounding nations were saved by their gods because Assyria is greater than all.

The Israelites remained silent. Hezekiah instructed the advisors to not reply to Rabshakeh.

Eliakim, Sheena, and Joah came to Hezekiah with torn clothes and reported the words of Rabshakeh… Hezekiah will not bend. Sennacherib is ultimately destroyed and all his soldiers are killed by the angel of death in a single night. God goes through the Assyrian camp and decimates the power of the tyrant, Sennacherib, and demonstrates that there is no one like the Lord.

God will not allow His people to succumb to godless ways, nor will he allow them to be defeated by godless enemies, when they cry out to Him. Sennacherib lost everything and Hezekiah and the people of God were rescued. Hezekiah was faithful and sought the help of God and lived to see the power of God being displayed against a ferocious foe. We also trust in such a God, so let us not be discouraged. We can be easily downcast by evil propaganda from the cruelty of the enemy, but God will keep us and will bring us through trials and give us the victory, through Christ, our Redeemer and champion.

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