Reading Through the Bible, August 7. Isaiah 37-40

    Isaiah 36-39 mark the hinge of this book, the spine if you will, that holds the two major halves together.

    Isaiah 36-39 is different from the rest of the book.  Just look at its layout.  Isaiah 1-35 has been almost all poetry.  Isaiah 40-66 is almost all poetry.  Both sections are filled with the pronouncements of God.  But 36-39 is different.  It is nearly all prose and rather than be filled with divine pronouncements, it tells a story.

    As we’ve noted before, a one word summary of Isaiah would be “trust,” or, in New Testament terms, “faith,” for in the Bible both terms mean the same thing.  God wants His people to trust in Him.  The truthfulness of the pronouncements in 1-35 ought to be enough to convince the first readers of Isaiah that God’s word comes true.  But if not, this story should be the icing on the cake.

    The year is 701 B.C., and the king of Assyria, who decimated Israel twenty years before, has now marched against Judah.  Hezekiah, Judah’s king, is scared to death.  He begs God for deliverance.  God not only promises it, but He provides it in one night.  The historian Herodotus notes that Sennacherib’s army was decimated by a plague – but that’s the view of the uninitiated.  God’s people knew that the Lord had done it, in one night, and caused the death of one hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrian soldiers.

    Isaiah’s point is made again: You can, and should, trust the Lord.