WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
NOVEMBER 23, 2021
TOPIC: GOD IS DIFFERENT FROM THE GODS
BY T. O. BANSO
“Truly, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, 19 and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands — wood and stone. Therefore they destroyed them” (Isaiah 37:18-19 New King James Version).
King Sennacherib of Assyria boasted about the exploits of the kings of Assyria over nations in the past and warned the people of Judah not to be deceived that their case would be different. He bragged that the same fate awaited them.
Sennacherib’s military officer, Rabshakeh, whom he sent to the people of Judah, arrogantly spoke blasphemous words. “Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you; nor let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, ‘The LORD will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make peace with me by a present and come out to me; and every one of you eat from his own vine and everyone from his own fig tree, and every one of you drink the waters of his own cistern; until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards” (Isaiah 36:13-17 New King James Version).
Sennacherib’s emissary continued in his arrogance: “Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying, ‘The LORD will deliver us.’ Has any one of the gods of the nations delivered its land from the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Indeed, have they delivered Samaria from my hand? Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?” (Isaiah 36:18-20 New King James Version).
Sennacherib went too far in his utterances by comparing the gods with God. Indeed the kings of Assyria might have defeated other nations prior to this time but it was because they served the gods, not the living God. The God of the Israelites was different from the gods. You could only defeat them when they forsook Him, lived in sin or disobeyed Him.
Deuteronomy 32:30-33 says, “How could one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had surrendered them? For their rock is not like our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges. For their vine is of the vine of Sodom and of the fields of Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter. Their wine is the poison of serpents, and the cruel venom of cobras” (New King James Version).
The nation of Judah was different from the other nations that Sennacherib was talking about. Moses had told the Israelites in Deuteronomy 28:7 that if they obeyed the LORD, He would cause their enemies who rose against them to be defeated before their face. He said their enemies would come out against them in one way and flee before them in seven ways.
Also, Leviticus 26:8 says five Israelites shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of them shall put ten thousand to flight and their enemies shall fall by the sword before them. Joshua, in his farewell speech, also told the Israelites if they held on to the Lord, one Israelite would chase a thousand, for the LORD their God would fight for them as He had promised (Joshua 23:10).
But God also promised them the opposite if they forsook Him. “The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them; and you shall become troublesome to all the kingdoms of the earth” (Deuteronomy 28:25 New King James Version).
God also said in Leviticus 26:36-37, “And as for those of you who are left, I will send faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; the sound of a shaken leaf shall cause them to flee; they shall flee as though fleeing from a sword, and they shall fall when no one pursues. They shall stumble over one another, as it were before a sword, when no one pursues; and you shall have no power to stand before your enemies” (New King James Version).
The God of the people of Judah was not like the gods that the kings of Assyria defeated. It was the rebellion of the Israelites against God in the past that made Him deliver them into the hands of their enemies. “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2 New King James Version).
When King Hezekiah of Judah, a God-fearing king, heard the threat of Sennacherib, he took the matter to God in prayer and sent emissaries to the prophet Isaiah. They told him of the trouble Judah was in and the rebuke and blasphemy of Sennacherib and asked him to pray for the remnants of Judah.
Hear the Save Our Soul message they delivered to Isaiah: “Thus says Hezekiah: ‘This day is a day of trouble and rebuke and blasphemy; for the children have come to birth, but there is no strength to bring them forth. It may be that the LORD your God will hear the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to reproach the living God, and will rebuke the words which the LORD your God has heard. Therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left” (Isaiah 37:3-4 New King James Version).
The prophet Isaiah sent back to Hezekiah a word of assurance of victory from the LORD against Sennacherib for blaspheming Him. “Thus you shall say to your master, ‘Thus says the LORD: Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. Surely I will send a spirit upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land’” (Isaiah 37:6-7 New King James Version).
Sennacherib further sent words of threat to Hezekiah, unrelenting in his blasphemy. “Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying, ‘Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ Look! You have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by utterly destroying them; and shall you be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered those whom my fathers have destroyed, Gozan and Haran and Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah?” (Isaiah 37:10-13 New King James Version).
Again, when Hezekiah received this letter of threat, he went to the house of God, spread it before Him, prayed to Him, and told Him of Sennacherib’s words that he had sent to reproach the living God. He said, “Truly, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands — wood and stone. Therefore they destroyed them” (Isaiah 37:18-19 New King James Version).
From what Hezekiah said, you could see that he believed that the God of Israel was different from the gods or idols of the other nations that the Assyrians had defeated. Earlier in the history of the Israel, David had shown that his God, the God of the Israelites, was not in the same league with the gods of the Philistines that Goliath worshipped. God and the gods are not in the same class.
In 1 Samuel 17:43, Goliath cursed David by his gods. “Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give you into our hands” (verses 45-47 New King James Version). Truly as David had said, His God defeated the gods of Goliath.
God is different from the gods. In response to Hezekiah’s prayer, God sent to him words of reassurance of victory through the prophet Isaiah. He promised to deal with Sennacherib for reproaching and blaspheming Him (Isaiah 37:23-25). God also told Hezekiah through Isaiah that the Assyrians defeated the nations they conquered because He decided it long ago and caused to happen what He had planned (verses 26-27). But unfortunately, Sennacherib thought this happened because of the power of the Assyrian kings and became arrogant, reproaching, and blaspheming God.
God is different from the gods. Because of his rage against God and arrogance, He promised to humiliate Sennacherib the way the Assyrians had humiliated the nations they had conquered (verses 28-29). He said Sennacherib’s armies would not enter Jerusalem to shoot their arrows. They would not march outside its gates with their shields and build banks of earth against its walls. Sennacherib would return to his own country by the road on which he came. God would defend Jerusalem for His own honour and for the sake of His servant David (verses 33-35).
God is different from the gods. He did exactly what He said He would do. “Then the angel of the LORD went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses — all dead. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh” (verses 36-37 New King James Version). When he got home, his sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, struck him down with the sword one day while worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god. God is different from the gods.
The God of Israel proved that He was different from the gods of the other nations that couldn’t deliver them from the Assyrians. Are you serving God or the gods? Psalm 115:1-8 tells us the difference between God and the gods.
Verses 3-8 say, “But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases. Their idols are silver and gold, The work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; eyes they have, but they do not see; they have ears, but they do not hear; noses they have, but they do not smell; they have hands, but they do not handle; feet they have, but they do not walk; nor do they mutter through their throat. Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them” (New King James Version).
God is different from the gods. “The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; eyes they have, but they do not see; they have ears, but they do not hear; nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them” (Psalm 135:15-18 New King James Version).
Are you serving the living God or idols made by human hands or the modern gods of money, fame, pleasure, power, etc. God is different from the gods. Give your life to Jesus today and begin to serve the living God.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I renounce my relationship with the gods and will no more worship other gods except You. Father, silence any god or power that is reproaching or blaspheming You in my life. Humiliate any god or power that is fighting against Your children all over the world and give them victory. Let them sing for joy.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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