Tue, 6/23/20: Sennacherib broken
Updated: Jun 24, 2020
Today's readings can be found: [HERE]
Yesterday, from the Second Book of Kings, we heard of Shalmaneser's conquest of Samaria and the destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. This would result in the annihilation of ten of the Twelve Tribes of Israel forever, leaving only Judah as the remnant of Israel (Benjamin had been absorbed into Judah).
Today, we hear of Sennacherib's terror over the remaining cities of the Covenant, and his threat against Jerusalem. But according to the prophecy of Isaiah, God shattered Assyria's might against Mount Zion in a single night, whereby "the angel of the Lord went forth and struck down one hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. So Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, broke camp, and went back home to Nineveh".
This is told from the perspective of faith, but Sennacherib's withdrawal from Jerusalem is not disputed even by secular sources. Historians are quite uncertain as to why Sennacherib would withdraw from Jerusalem despite having such overwhelming military might.
From our faith perspective, Jerusalem's survival in this particular incident illustrates a certain principle that applies even to this day. God has formed his Covenant with Israel, and therefore they will be preserved forever. There is no worldly reason that any purely human institution can last for so long.
Where are the great kingdoms of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Philistia, Persia, Rome, Greece, etc. today? Like all the ancient nations, they are dust in the wind. But Israel remains. Certainly, historical iterations of Israel have changed over time, as often as their borders, but their core identity as the Covenant people remains, because God is everlasting, and his promises endure forever.
Likewise, there is no earthly reason fathomable for Christ's Church to exist nearly two-thousand years after Christ's death, except that it is God who sustains his Church. Certainly, Christian civilizations may rise and fall throughout history, and the Church might appear to be different according to every age, but the Church's core identity as the Bride of Christ remains, because God's Covenant, sealed in the blood of Christ, is everlasting and endures forever.
In our day and age, there is certainly no shortage of crises that continue to cast their shadow upon the world. But we need not fear, because as in the past, God's Covenant will endure, and so will his Church.
Jerusalem Delivered from Sennacherib, 1860 woodcut by Julius Schnorr von Karolsfeld [from Wikipedia]