What does it say?
We have already noted that these four historical chapters in Isaiah 36-39 are very similar to 2Kings 18-20 and that 2Chronicles 30-32 also covers the same historical period, each with different perspective and purpose. Isaiah probably wrote the original story later copied in 2Kings and later still is a reference for 2Chronicles.
Psalm 46 inspired Martin Luther to write his famous hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is our God.” We have it here in our reading because some believe that Assyrian king Sennacherib’s attack on Jerusalem occasioned its writing.
Many believe that Asaph’s Psalm 80 is also from this same time period. The Psalm yearns for the reconciliation and restoration of Israel and Judah, a plea for revival.
Psalm 135, one of the “Hallelujah Psalms,” gives no record of author or occasion of writing. We do know that it implores us to praise God. The psalm also draws the contrast between idols made by human hands and the one true God. This makes it a fitting, worshipful conclusion to our readings from Isaiah and 2Kings that also emphasize God over handmade idols.
What does it mean?
The repetition of material in 2Kings and Isaiah is neither a mistake nor the Bible plagiarizing itself. Rather it is a point of emphasis, just as four Gospels give us a more complete image of Jesus Christ. This period of history of the life of king Hezekiah, the Assyrian threat and God’s miraculous intervention is central to Isaiah’s life and ministry and is just as central to the history of Israel as a whole. This should give us cause for reflection as to its importance and relevance to our lives today.
To this we add three psalms to our reading today, two of which could have been written at this time and a third that certainly fits the spirit of these times in compelling us to praise and worship God. This has important meaning for us. Often our approach to Bible reading is to get something practical for living and then get out. Rarely do we take that time to go back and worship God for what we have learned and experienced.
How will I respond?
Reflecting back on what I have learned today and previously looking at Hezekiah’s life, how will I worship and praise God today for how I have benefitted?