(24 verses, 3:00 to read)
What I am about to READ
The Lord announced judgement upon the Assyrians and promises blessing and forgiveness upon his people.
MARK and LEARN
Assyria had served the Lord’s purposes in bringing about repentance in his people. In 701 BC the Assyrian army, led by king Sennacherib laid siege to Jerusalem but failed to capture it. The surrounding countryside however was laid waste, a waste described in vss 7-9. In part “the highways lie waste…the land mourns and languishes.” The chastening of Judah and Jerusalem by the Lord was accomplished through this, resulting in the repentance indicated in vs. 2 as Judah prays God “be gracious to us; we wait for you.”
But now it is the Assyrians who will be judged by the Lord. As it were, their folly will catch up to them. God had accomplished his purposes with them and now he will deliver them up to their chosen end. He compels no one in sin, but can use their chosen ways to accomplish his ends to bring about repentance and faith.
God promises a King who would arise and be beautiful in the sight of the people. Certainly this would apply to Hezekiah who would lead his people during the siege of 701 BC, but vss 20-24 also points forward to a Jerusalem that is without end, a place where the Lord himself is judge and lawgiver, the King who will save. This, certainly has overtones of the new creation found in Revelation 22 where the Church is likened to Zion where the Lord dwells. The King is King Jesus, the King of the Jews and of the royal line of David, who does not have beauty that we should desire him, but has a beauty that is otherworldly, in his righteousness and forgiveness to us. This indeed is the purpose of Christ’s kingdom, who from the cross creates his kingdom and rule by the forgiveness of sins, as indicated in vs. 24. “the people who dwell there will be forgiven their iniquity.”
Lord Jesus, you are the King of Glory. Come and rule in our hearts as you establish yourself in us by the preaching of your word and the ministrations of your sacraments. Forgive me and lead me to your everlasting Zion. For your name’s sake, Amen.