God has already assigned Assyria’s fate even before she conquered Israel. Her pride and pleasure in destroying God’s people is part of this. The other is, He is God.
This promise from God comes with NO “if” attached to it. “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand” (verse 24). No room for bargaining or repentance. Hard, fast and final is this promise.
I wonder how much comfort this promise was to the people. Assyria wasn’t the ones who would conquer Judah. But when they conquered Israel, Judah became their ‘puppet’ people. King Ahaz made a bargain with Assyria to be his vassal, his subject kingdom. Assyria may have wanted to go back on that treaty but God stopped them at Nob. Judah was under Assyrian rule as surely as Israel was. The people of Judah may not have been taken as slaves but their lives were now ordered to enhance Assyria, not Judah. I can imagine this didn’t go down easily with everyone.
Those who still loved and followed God could not have been happy with the way things were. Ahaz was one of the most ungodly kings Judah ever had. He even boarded up the Temple doors. He wanted the people as far from God as possible.
During this time though, God didn’t abandon His people. He KEPT calling out to them for repentance. He knew the majority of their hearts were far from Him but He didn’t give up. He KNEW what was coming next. He KNEW what the rest of their dynasty’s story would be because He is God. But it still hurt to watch it happen.
And, because He is God, He was able to tell them that this would not last forever. He gave them hope even before it was essential. Jesus did this with His disciples too. Because He is God, He KNEW what was coming and what would follow. He told His disciples that there was a serious time about to happen; He would be killed. But He didn’t leave them there. He told them of the hope that would follow. The hope of His resurrection.
When the time of great crisis came for Jesus’ disciples, they forgot about the hope that they were told about. Their grief was so deep, they couldn’t see beyond it. The pharisees didn’t forget. Their response was joy or at least satisfaction, with a BIG helping of doubt sprinkled in. They didn’t really believe Jesus would rise from the dead but they though His disciples might make it look like He did. If they had been in the room with the disciples, they could have put this fear to rest.
In the days of Assyria’s conquest and subjugation, were the people lost in their grief or were they holding tight to the words of Isaiah? Did they hold onto hope or despair? Did they wonder if they would be part of the “remnant” Isaiah spoke of? Were they more focused on the prophecies of defeat or the ones filled with hope?
Which promises are we hanging onto? Are we focusing on the ones that tell of the destruction, devastation, and demise of the nations or are we focusing on the ones that have Jesus stepping down out of Heaven. BOTH will come to pass, just and BOTH parts of Isaiah’s prophecies came to pass. But we can choose which one to focus on. In the dark of night when your mind won’t let you rest because it’s running through all the horrible things ahead, turn it to the next chapter in the story. Remind yourself that there IS victory up ahead. Don’t let the path to that victory terrify you. For NOTHING can pry you from God’s hands. And no matter how much you will personally walk through on the way to victory, HE walks beside you ALL THE WAY. Hold fast to His promises. We’ve read the end of the book and He WINS! And because He wins, we win with Him!
Father God, help me to hold fast to the final promises. Satan loses!!! You win!!! Between now and then, I place my life in Your hands. I want to follow You wherever You would lead me during this time. I’m not even certain how much time there is or exactly what lies ahead for me, but YOU do. And I trust You with ALL my heart to care for me at ALL times. However that looks, I will still trust You. You are faithful Father.