Mere Words vs. the Word

In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. And the king of Assyria sent the Rabshakeh to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem, with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Washer’s Field… And the Rabshakeh said.., ‘On what do you rest this trust of yours? Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me?.. If you say, ‘We trust in the Lord our God,’ is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed?

Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah: ‘Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you. Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord by saying, ‘The Lord will surely deliver us. This city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria… Beware lest Hezekiah mislead you. Has any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria.., that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?’ But they were silent and answered him not a word, for the king’s command was, ‘Do not answer him.’” Isaiah 36:1-2,4-5,7,13-15,18,20-21

The taunts of the haughty Assyrian king seem long ago and far away, but they are as common today as they were in ancient Israel 3000 years ago. The ancient kings personify flesh–driven passions, agendas, and persuasions who ridicule and tease to veer God’s people off the path of truth. Their words, by way of accusation and threat, can topple our confidence, or turn us to cling to the true Word that does not change and will always stand.

Painted Cross, Puerto RIco

We fortify our cities with infrastructure, material wealth, civic leaders, government authorities, and industry. Opposition threatens our self-made security in the form of rival powers with differing or destructive agendas, greed for success, competing business, and social or philosophical movements. Spiritually, those who love the Lord and are fortified by His word are publicly accused of false stances, distorted views, self-serving motives, or unworthy allegiances. Since Eden, the enemy has used words to undermine, deceive, attack, and try to shake our devotion and resolve. (Genesis 3:1-5)

These tests present opportunities to cling evermore to the unchanging, living, powerful Word of God. The words of man may hurt and shake us, but they need not upend and break us. The hearers from Judah answered not a word because of their sovereign’s stronger command, and Hezekiah took the stinging attacks to his Lord, affirming what he knew was true about Him. The effects of verbal enemy poison can always be abated by the mightier, lovelier, redemptive Word of God. What are we investing of time and attention to know it well enough to handle it rightly, and spread its healing power? (Isaiah 37:14-17; John 1:1; 2 Timothy 2:15; Hebrews 4:12)

Lord Jesus, may I hold tight to You, the Living Word made flesh, now glorified. It is Your word that counts, stands, delivers, and cannot be shaken. (Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 24:35; John 1:14; James 1:21)

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