Satan’s strategy (6)

 

 

“Then Rabshakeh said to them, "Say now to Hezekiah, 'Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria, "What is this confidence that you have?”(Isaiah 36:4).

 

 

Satan attacks us Christians who believe in Jesus.  Satan attacks our faith intensively.  Even now, Satan is diligently trying to shake our faith in Jesus, so that we ultimately distrust Him.  In doing so, Satan is still strategically attacking us.  I have already meditated on Satan's strategy five times while reading the Bible. Briefly reviewing Satan's five strategies again:

 

            Satan’s strategy (1): Exodus 14:3

 

1.      Satan makes us to wander aimlessly

2.      Satan puts us in a corner

 

Satan’s strategy (2): Ezra 4:4

 

1.      Satan weakens our hands

2.      Satan interferes with our plans

3.      Satan sues us

 

Satan’s strategy (3): Job 1:11; 2:5, 9

 

1.      Satan strikes our possessions

2.      Satan strikes our bodies

           

Satan’s strategy (4): Acts 21:27-36

1.      Satan stirs up the people around us

2.      Satan provokes

3.      Satan spreads false rumor about us

4.      Satan is violent

 

Satan’s strategy (5): Nehemiah 4:1-3

 

1.      Satan ridicules us

a.       worker,

b.      work,

c.       faith,

d.      ability,

e.       resource,

f.       finished product

 

            I would like to meditate on how Satan attacks us in three ways under the title of “Satan’s strategy (6)”, focusing on Isaiah 36:4.

 

            First, Satan shakes our trust in God and His servant.

 

            Look at Isaiah 36:7, 15 – “But if you say to me, 'We trust in the LORD our God,' is it not He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away and has said to Judah and to Jerusalem, 'You shall worship before this altar'?    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.’”  In the 14th year of Hezekiah king of Judah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all all the fortified cities of Judah and seized them (v. 1).  Sennacherib, king of Assyria, sent Rabshakeh, the commander of his army, to Jerusalem with a large army from Lachish (v. 2).  Rabshakeh speaks to Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the recorder (v. 3).  One of the things that Rabshakeh said is verse 4: “…  “Say now to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria, ‘What is this confidence that you have?’”  Rabshakeh asked Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah about the object of faith of the people of Judah.  He said that whether the object of the faith of the people of Judah was “counsel and strength” (vv. 5, 8), “Egypt” (vv. 6, 9), or “the Lord our God” (vv. 7, 15) or their leader, King Hezekiah (vv. 14-18), it was of no use (vv. 18-20).  According to this word of this Rabshakeh, he was unaware of what King Hezekiah of Judah, his servants, and the people of Judah believed and became so confident (v. 4).  More specifically, Rabshakeh was unaware that King Hezekiah, his servants, and all the people of Judah were emboldened by their trust in God.  They wouldn't have known.  How could the Rabshakeh, who did not believe in God, know how trusting in God could make him bold and confident?  However, what he was trying to do was to shake the people of Judah's trust in God and in Hezekiah, God's servant.  That was why he started with the question of Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah, “What is this confidence that yo have?” (v. 4), said to the people of Judah not to let Hezekiah make them trust in the Lord, “Do not let Hezekiah deceive you” (v. 14), “Beware that Hezekiah does not mislead you” (v. 18), “he will not be able to deliver you” (v. 14).  In the end, he even said, “Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their land from my hand, that the LORD would deliver Jerusalem from my hand?” (v. 20).  He said that neither King Hezekiah nor the God whom Hezekiah and the people of Judah trusted could deliver the people of Judah from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria (v. 20).

 

            Satan also tells us that God cannot deliver us from our great troubles and adversities.  Satan is whispering to us that God does not hear and answer our prayers.  Satan keeps telling us that God cannot save us.  Satan is still trying to make us doubt the God of salvation, and ultimately, to make us distrust God.  At the same time, Satan is trying to distrust God's servants who proclaim His word to trust in God.  Satan is telling us not to believe in His servant, not to be deceived by his words.  The ultimate purpose of Satan is to make us Christians give up our faith and turn away from God.  We must keep this satanic purpose and strategy in mind so that we do not waver in our trust in God and His servant.  Rather, we need to trust God more and more and trust His servant whom God has anointed.

 

            Second, Satan mocks our abilities.

 

Look at Isaiah 36:8 – “Now therefore, come make a bargain with my master the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them.”  Rabshakeh, the military commander of Sennacherib, king of Assyria, proposed a bet in the name of the king of Assyria to Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the recorder (v. 8).  The proposal was, “I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them” (v. 8).  Rabshakeh said this because he knew that among the people of Judah there were not enough 2,000 horsemen to fight in the war with Sennacherib, king of Assyria, and his great army.  Not only that, Rabshakeh ridiculed the Jewish soldiers that not one of the lowest rank officers could stand against them (v. 9).

 

            This mockery is Satan's strategy.  As we see in Nehemiah 4, Satan mocks us, not only of our faith in God, but also of our abilities.  When Nehemiah and the people of Judah were trying to rebuild the city of Jerusalem, their adversary, Sanballat, attacked the incapacity of the people of Judah and tried to force them to give up on rebuilding the city of Jerusalem in a tired and exhausted state (Neh. 4:2, 10).  This was to make the Jewish people, who were tired and exhausted, no longer endure, acknowledge the limit of their patience, and stop the great work of rebuilding the city of Jerusalem.  This is Satan's strategy.  Satan keeps mocking our abilities.  Satan continues to make us think that we are lacking, that we are weak, and that we are incompetent.  In doing so, Satan keeps us focused on our shortcomings, weaknesses, and incompetence, thus blinding us to the Almighty God in faith.  Then we must keep looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2).  We must focus on the Almighty God, not on our shortcomings, weaknesses, and incompetence.  And we must win the spiritual warfare with Satan who is against us by believing that Almighty God is with us.

 

            Third and last, Satan lies to us.

 

Look at Isaiah 36:10 – “Have I now come up without the LORD'S approval against this land to destroy it? The LORD said to me, ‘Go up against this land and destroy it.’”  Rabshakeh, the commander of the army of Sennacherib king of Assyria, told Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah, that it was God's will to strike and destroy the land of Judah, and that God had spoken to him directly (v. 10).  Was it really the will of God to strike down and destroy Judah through the Assyrian kingdom?  It never was.  Of course, God used Assyria as a rod of God's wrath to discipline the northern Israelites (10:5-6).  But God never intended to destroy the people of Judah through Assyria.  Although Rabshakeh also said that God spoke to him directly (36:10), God never spoke to him directly.  This is a lie.  Rabshakeh lied.  It makes no sense to say the will of the Lord to Rabshakeh, who does not believe in God.  He tried to deceive the people of Judah by telling them, ‘Do not be deceived by Hezekiah’ (v. 14).  He also tried to persuade them to surrender (vv. 15, 16) by telling them, ‘Do not fall for Hezekiah’s persuasion to trust in the Lord’ (vv. 15-16).  But the people of Judah were neither deceived nor persuaded by Rabshakeh's lies.  Rather, they listened to King Hezekiah and trusted God according to his word (vv. 15, 16).  The people of Judah believed that God would deliver them from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria, just as King Hezekiah had said (vv. 18, 20).  So, as King Hezekiah had commanded, they were quiet and did not answer a word to Rabshakeh (v. 21).  It was because they quietly trusted God.

 

            We must be quiet and trust in God in obedience to God's commands to gain strength and be saved (30:15).  Also, we need to be persuaded that God can do what He has promised us to do (Rom. 4:21).  We must not be deceived by Satan.  Satan is a liar and the father of lies (Jn. 8:44).  There is no truth in him; he speaks lies (v. 44).  His lies to us by adding or subtracting lies to the truth.  So Satan makes it difficult for us to distinguish between the truth and a lie.  In particular, he makes it difficult for us to discern the will of God.  Satan confuses us by making us to ask ourselves, ‘Is this God’s will or mine? '  In order not to fall for Satan's tricks, we must stand firm in the word of truth.  And we must obey the will of God, which the indwelling Holy Spirit makes us to understand through the word of truth.  To do that, we must give up ‘my will’.  And we must pray to God, ‘Not my will, but your will be done.’  We must ask God with a willingness to humbly submit to His will. And we must obey God's will.  We must obey the word of truth.  The truth will set us free (Jn. 8:32).

 

            Satan shakes our trust in God and His servant.  Satan mocks our abilities.  Satan lies to us.  We must not fall for this satanic strategy.  We must trust in God and trust in His servant whom God has anointed.  We must also believe that the Almighty God, who makes us strong, is with us.  And we must stand firm in the word of God's truth.  I hope and pray that God will fully accomplish God's will through us in God's time and in God's way.