“And am I now come up without the Lord against this land to destroy it? The Lord said unto me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.” Isaiah 36:10
“Rabshakeh warns Hezekiah, King of Judah, that it is useless to assemble his forces and to make other warlike preparations against the attack of Assyria. For Hezekiah is not contending with a mortal man, but with God Himself, at whose suggestion (not his own) the King of Assyria is attacking Judah. Therefore those who oppose the King of Assyria will fight against God, and all their efforts will be useless.
For this we ought to learn that, however earnestly we may be devoted to godliness, and however faithfully we may labor to advance the kingdom of Christ, we cannot expect to be free from every annoyance. Rather, we ought to be prepared to endure very heavy afflictions.
The Lord does not always recompense our piety with earthly rewards. Indeed, it would be exceedingly unsuitable for us to possess abundant wealth and enjoy outward peace and see that everything proceeds according to our wishes. For the world reckons even wicked men to be happy on the ground that they do not endure bad health or adversity, are free from the pressures of poverty, and have nothing to disturb them. In this respect, our condition would not differ at all from that of the reprobate.
Consider the example of Hezekiah, who labored with all his might to restore religion and the true worship of God, yet endured calamities so heavy and violent that he was not far from despair. We ought to constantly place this example before our eyes so that, even when we think we have discharged our duty, we may nevertheless be prepared to endure conflicts and troubles of every kind. We should then not be disturbed if enemies gain an advantage at the onset, as if all at once they would swallow us up.”
“FOR MEDITATION: The example of Hezekiah is a powerful corrective to the “health and wealth” gospel that is common today. Such a gospel can only bring disillusionment when troubles and trials come, as they almost always do. Our assurance e of God’s favor must rest in something other than external blessings-it must rest in Christ.”
“Rabshekeh, the field commander of the Assyrians, boasts of the greatness and power of his king in order to terrify Hezekiah. Such is the manner in which wicked men act toward us. They attack us with threatening words and try our patience with various terrors. Satan is at work in such labors, for we plainly see him speaking through the mouth of a person like Rabshakeh.
We ought, therefore, to distinguish between God’s words and the words of those who falsely assume His name, for Satan resorts to various artifices to make himself to appear to be like God. Rabshakeh unjustly brings many reproaches against Hezekiah. But the good king does not place his hope in his own strength and does not vaunt himself through reliance on the Egyptians. Godly men, even when they do well, must be exposed to evil reports. By these strategies Satan attacks our faith and unjustly slanders us among men.
The temptation to be terrified by such reports is highly dangerous, for we want our integrity to be well known. When we are well disposed, we take it ill if other men put a different interpretation on our conduct. Satan tries by slander to overturn all that we have done out of a good conscience. Or he accuses us of something that we are not guilty of. Or he loads us with unfounded slanders or contrives what never came into our minds. An upright conscience ought to be like a brazen wall to us so that we might follow the example of Hezekiah to stand unshaken against the accusations and slanders of wicked men.”
“FOR MEDITATION: When have you been unjustly accused of doing wrong? Did you stand unshaken in your integrity before God, or did you cower and fall before slanderous reports? How can we be more like Hezekiah when others question our character, reputation, or actions when we are sincerely following God’s will?”
-From 365 Days With Calvin Selected and Edited by Joel Beeke Published by Day One Publications Grand Rapids, MI 2008 April 12 and 13 Devotions