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Isaiah 37:14-20, 33-38 (NIV)
14 Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: 16 “Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 17 Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God. 18 “It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands. 19 They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. 20 Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Lord, are the only God.”
33 “Therefore this is what the Lord says concerning the king of Assyria: “He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow here. He will not come before it with shield or build a siege ramp against it. 34 By the way that he came he will return;
he will not enter this city,” declares the Lord. 35 “I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David my servant!” 36 Then the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! 37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there. 38 One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisrok, his sons Adrammelek and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king.
In Isaiah 37, King Hezekiah, one of the best Israel ever had, is faced with the invading Syrian army and turns to God for deliverance, which God does. But years after Hezekiah died the Israelites turned away from God and the Babylonians came in to destroy them and take them into exile. Sin has real consequences and hurts us and others. God seeks to cleanse sin from us, but sometimes it hurts. The Gospel is God’s promise that through it all He is with us and the fire that we endure is not a consuming and destroying fire, but a refining and cleansing fire that leads to resurrection and new life. Because of what Jesus has done for us we can trust that we do not have to do anything to earn God’s deliverance, but simply accept it.