Monday, September 28, 2015

"Hit the Wall... Again!"

Isaiah 37.32 NIV

“For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”

For several years, Judah and its capital city Jerusalem were under attack by Sennacherib king of Assyria. The siege occurred about 20 years after Judah’s northern neighbor, Israel, was wiped out by Assyrian forces. Hezekiah, the king of Judah, sought prophetic help from God’s spokesman, Isaiah. Many Judeans were already killed or deported to Assyria. Sennacherib’s general, Rabshakeh, taunted the soldiers defending Jerusalem at the city wall. He claimed they were “doomed to eat their own dung and drink their own urine” (Isaiah 36.12). Rabshakeh was a military bully with the armed might to back up his threats. Morale was way down and Judah’s end seemed very near. Isaiah’s words offered promise and hope to the frightened Judeans:

“For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion
a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”

Not every Jew would survive the siege. But a “remnant” would. A “band of survivors” would eventually break free from Sennacherib’s strangle hold. They would bust through the wall and liberate themselves. Survivors would go forth from Jerusalem, regain their land, and again establish control of the middle east.

The great Protestant Reformer of the sixteenth century, John Calvin, described the prophetic promise in his commentary on the book of Isaiah…
“He [the prophet Isaiah] alludes to the siege by which a small number of people, who had been left in the city, were shut up as in a prison and reduced to very great straits; he says that they shall now go out, and that the whole country shall be open to them, and that they shall be at liberty to move wherever they please without fear. The going forth is thus contrasted with the narrow limits within which the trembling Jews had been forced by the dread of enemies to confine themselves.”[1]
Are you “shut up in a prison and reduced to very great straits”, “forced by the dread of enemies to confine” yourself to very “narrow limits”? Break through your prison walls! Isaiah’s prophetic word is alive and still carries depth and meaning 2,700 after they were first uttered to Hezekiah. Have you ‘hit the wall’ more than once? Hit it again and break through to achieve Jesus’ plan for your life. Trust His word... “The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this”. 
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[1] Isaiah 37.32, Calvin’s Commentaries, 22 Volume set originally printed by the Calvin Translational Society, Edinburgh, Scotland, May 1753.

The sculpture above is mounted on a wall in Montmarte district in the north of Paris, France. It represents Monsieur Dutilleul, the main character from the short story Le Passe-Muraille (The Passer through Walls) Marcel Aymé.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dave. I appreciate your insights and observations regarding this passage. always helps to get some historical context.

Interesting, this concept of a remnant. We know that God desires all to come to him. We also know that many will not. But because he is merciful, God does not give up on all of us. Just as Noah was spared, so was the remnant of Israel after Jerusalem was conquered.

The disciples began as just a small group, a remnant. Yet God has been faithful, and the seeds planted by the first apostles have been producing fruit ever since.

Revelation tells us that after the rapture, there is still hope and opportunity for those who have not believed. Even from them, a remnant will be saved.

Hope you don't mind. Here's my new testament journal for today. Ironically, I wrote the journal entry before I read your blog. Some similarity on this concept of a remanant.

"May the Lord show mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains."

-----2 Timothy, Chapter 1, vs 16.

We have all heard the saying before: "If at the end of his life, a man has five good friends, he is a lucky man, indeed."

The older I get, the more I've found this saying to be true. As young man, I desired many friends. And I had them, or at least I thought I did. Lots of guys at the fraternity house to drink beer with.

Yet as the years have passed, I realize I don't desire fraternity brothers, I desire foxhole warriors; men who are willing to fight along side me when the battle rages. And If I'm given a few; even one, I am blessed. I don't need one hundred cars, but two relaible cars will supply every need for myself and my family.

Just like Paul, I too have been given warriors; brothers and friends when I feel I am in chains. And surely, they have refreshed me. When I breath my last, I will be thankful, not so much for the frat brothers, but for those, who when the battle was raging, fought alongside me in the foxhole.

-----ANONYMOUS

Dave's Bible Blog said...

I love your insights about friendship and battle buddies. I too need a foxhole buddy or two to carry me when I'm wounded. Thanks for the good word from 2nd Timothy, brother.

Dave

JT said...

All of us need someone. A man who has no friends to help him in time of trouble is in bad shape. Great post. God bless you.

Dave Scriven said...

I agree, JT.