Bible Readings for November 5th
2 Kings 18 | Philemon 1 | Hosea 11 | Psalms 132, 133 & 134
The words of the Rabshakeh of Assyria (the great commander of Assyria’s army) in 2 Kings 18 offer a masterclass in Satan’s strategies to lead us to doubt Yahweh’s goodness toward us. To start, he twists Hezekiah’s obedience in removing the high places by suggesting that those might have been Yahweh’s high places, saying, “But if you say to me, ‘We trust in the LORD our God,’ is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed?” (2 Kgs. 18:22). Then, he fabricates the idea that Yahweh himself had commanded Assyria to destroy Judah: “Moreover, is it without the LORD that I have come up against this place to destroy it? The LORD said to me, ‘Go up against this land, and destroy it’” (2 Kgs. 18:25). These are such compelling arguments to the people within the walls of Jerusalem in the moment that the leaders beg the Assyrians to speak in Aramaic rather than in the language of Judah to avoid frightening the common people in the city (2 Kgs. 18:26). The Rabshakeh refuses, however, continuing to stir up fear with his lies.
In the same way, Satan often twists our obedience by arguing that we have not actually pleased God, and Satan tells us that God remains angry with us. Then, when we attempt to fight back by reminding ourselves of God’s word so that we can drown out Satan’s word, our adversary simply takes a different tactic—and he has many—to lead us to question God’s character. How then do we fight against Satan in the middle of doubt?
The best instruction to help us fight Satan’s lies comes in the example of Jesus, who faced a direct confrontation with Satan in the wilderness in Matthew 4:1–11. There, Satan offered exactly what Jesus wanted—food in the midst of forty days of fasting, reassurance that he was indeed God’s Son, and all the kingdoms of the world—in exchange for Jesus’ obedience and worship. Each time, Jesus defeated the devil with Scripture, demonstrating not only what it looks like to know Scripture (since, indeed Satan also quoted Scripture in this encounter) but also what it means to know God through the Scriptures. Jesus wasn’t confused by Satan’s suggestions that God was withholding some good thing because Jesus knew his Father’s character through the Scriptures. Jesus didn’t quote Scripture as though he were saying magic words; rather, he was citing the evidence that God wasn’t who Satan said he was.
Tomorrow, we will see how Hezekiah himself responds by turning to God’s word, but today, ask yourself this question: How well do you know God through the Bible? Do Satan’s words hold influence over your mind and your emotions, or have you saturated yourself with God’s words so that your thorough understanding of God’s character gives you the ability to stand firm against Satan’s lies?
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Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.