It’s amazing how the entire history of the Children of Israel as recorded in the Bible, and especially the Old Testament is directly linked to their obedience or disobedience of God. Obedience always brought blessings. Disobedience always brought punishment, sometimes delayed. As we look at 2 Kings 19:9-19 the King of Assyria would not have been in a position to tease and taunt Hezekiah and his people, had it not been for the protracted period of punishment that Judah had brought on itself. Unfortunately for Sennacherib, King of Assyria, he could only see what played out on the surface. He could not see, or chose not to see the overarching providence and control that Hezekiah’s God played in his life as well as that of the people of Judah.
Against this background, I find most interesting the prophetic words of Isaiah in 2 Kings 18:25 and beyond. God’s message was very simple. He was, is and will be behind it all. For lack of a better word, Sennacherib was just a pawn in the grand design of God. And if he was a pawn, so is Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, Theresa May and all the other leaders of all the countries in the world.
This raises a major issue in the Church in the USA today. President Donald Trump was elected with the help of Evangelical Christians in America despite his less than role-model image which arguably sank to a an all-time low with revelation of the Access Hollywood tapes. Given the binary choice of Trump or Clinton, and neither of them being popularly desirable, American voters were faced with what some called the lesser of two evils. For Christians and Conservatives, Trump came with a single card. He would halt the slide of the Supreme Court into the hands of progressive liberals with agendas that are demonstrably at odds with the most basic principle of the Bible. That said, one would imaging that Evangelical Christians would take responsibility for Donald Trump, and publicly hold him accountable to behave in a way that is consistent with Biblical Christian values. But they are not. In fact the overwhelming majority of Christians in America have bought the historical revisionist lie of Separation of Church and State, and consequently refuse to be a part of the social, economic and political discussion that will affect us all sooner or later.
The question then is whether or not God’s Sovereignty in the affairs of Nations discharges us of our responsibility to be Christian Activists in our capacity as “salt” and “light”. Does the Christian have a role to play outside the four walls of our Church building? Is there a Godly and Biblical perspective on every decision that our leaders make? And if there is, is it the responsibility of the Christian Activist to articulate them?
It appears that, even in the context of God’s sovereignty, Sennacherib overplayed his hand. In 2 Kings 18:27-28, God appears to be providing a harsher than usual punishment on Sennacherib because he raged against God. It is one thing to be instrument of punishment for God’s people at the instigation of God. It is a totally different thing to take God on directly in an adversarial capacity. The inference is that he did not have to be insolent and rage against God.
In fact he worked overtime at insulting God, both directly and by insinuation. When we read the enticements that his lieutenants offered to King Hezekiah and to God’s people, you could easily miss the context and think it was God speaking. Listen. “Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then each of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your own cistern, 32 until I come and take you to a land like your own—a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Choose life and not death!” (2 Kings 18:31-32)
If ever you find yourself in a position where God is using you to punish and discipline anyone, and especially a Child of God, do so with humility, and remember, in a real sense, we all exist and serve at the pleasure of God.
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