Assyria will advance through the territory of Israel, delivering God’s wrath. But they will stop at Nob. God says “This far and NO more” as His anger is spent and His people repent.
Our passage today deals with two things; the return of a remnant of God’s people to Him, and God’s hand on Assyria. These are both knit together with the understanding that God has it ALL in control.
Israel will fall because of her decision to turn away from God and follow after other gods. God is NOT willing to share His people’s affections. “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (Matthew 6:24). Jesus goes on to say that you cannot serve God and money but you also cannot serve God and ANY other god. ANYTHING that takes your heart away from God is a false god. Israel was chasing after a multitude of false gods and they were reaping the ‘reward’ of THEIR actions. And, YES, God had tried getting their attention in less drastic ways. They refused to listen. NOW, under this punishment, some would listen. Not all of Israel, but a remnant. Those whose hearts had returned to Him would be brought back, in time. Those whose hearts remained far from Him would remain in captivity, far from Him.
While God was pouring out His judgment on Israel, He was still very much in control. His anger was not an unbridled fury but a focused scalpel. And HE had the power to hold Assyria to the lines HE drew. Assyria wanted ALL they saw. They had the intention of taking out ALL of the Children of God; Israel and Judah. They planned to march on until all they surveyed was under their control. They thought they were in control of this military advancement and none could stop them. But they were WRONG.
They were NOT in control, GOD was. He decreed EXACTLY where they would stop. This far and NO more! This was for two reasons. First, He proved to anyone watching that He still had His hand on the city that bore His name. Jerusalem would remain a protected city until He lifted His hand from it. As long as His presence filled the Temple, Jerusalem stood. It wasn’t free of struggle but it was safe from conquest.
Second, God proved to His people who remained in Jerusalem that HE was in control of the Assyrian army. He had Isaiah tell the people EXACTLY where Assyria would be stopped. He even gave the route they would take through Israel. He knew their plans and path before they did. And this also told His people that He had a reason for bringing Assyria to their doorstep. God was ‘counting to three’ and He had reached ‘two’ at this point. There was only one number left to go before His hand fell on Judah too.
I was thinking about the ‘remnant’ of Isaiah’s prophecy. That term not only applies to those who returned from captivity from Persia but also those from Israel who will turn to Him fully in the last days. He states that there will be 144,000 who will come from the tribes of Israel and be sealed with Him. I believe this is another example of a remnant of His chosen people who will return to Him. There is NO WAY this number will encompass ALL the physical descendants of Israel. It is a faithful portion; a remnant. This final remnant will share the truth with MULTITUDES of people all over the earth during the time of the tribulation.
God’s hand again, in the last days, saying “This far and NO more!” Satan will NOT be able to destroy ALL who trust in God. God will use the Beast and his prophet to discipline the world but they will no more be able to prevail than Assyria was. There will be limits that he cannot cross. Those who are “sealed” will be safe from Satan and his emissaries. Not every physical life will be spared but Satan CANNOT touch the spirit of those who are sealed in Christ. Those who come to faith after the rapture will be safe in His arms.
Father God, thank You for sharing these prophecies AND their fulfillment with me. They give me even more strength to my faith in the promises to come. They show me a shadow of what will be and remind me that, I too, can trust in You!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOVE! It is because of that Love that You even care what I do. Your love surrounds me and keeps me safe. Not without physical challenges but my spirit is SAFE in Your hands. That is where I ALWAYS want to be! THANK YOU for saying, “This far and NO more” for my life too!!! I can’t imagine where I would be if You didn’t put Your protection around me; even from my own stupidity/sin.