Isaiah 36:1 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, King Sennacherib of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 2 The king of Assyria sent the Rabshakeh from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem… 4 The Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah: Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you base this confidence of yours? 5 Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? On whom do you now rely, that you have rebelled against me? 6 See, you are relying on Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of anyone who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who rely on him. 7 But if you say to me, ‘We rely on the LORD our God,’ is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before this altar’? 8 Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them. 9 How then can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master’s servants, when you rely on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? 10 Moreover, is it without the LORD that I have come up against this land to destroy it? The LORD said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.”
Wow. This guy Rabshakeh from Assyria is bringing a verbal full-court-press against King Hezekiah and the Israelites. We’re told in v.1 that the Assyrians had already captured all of the fortified cities in the region of Judah, of which Jerusalem was the remaining holdout. And the smack-talk begins. He gives Hezekiah a whole list of reasons to give up hope and surrender, including his assertion that God himself has ordained Jerusalem’s destruction. As I read these words my mind goes to today’s New Testament reading from Ephesians 6:
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
The words given in Isaiah may be coming from a flesh and blood human being (Rabshakeh), but do not be fooled. These are are words Satan hoping to exploit any possible weakness in Hezekiah’s faith.
This is spiritual warfare masquerading as a diplomatic engagement.