The Rest of the Story
2 Kings 19:25
There are two sides to every story. First, there is the side that is obvious to anyone with eyes and ears; the side that gets reported in the papers, broadcast on the evening news, and debated on the talk shows. Then there’s the other side, the real side—God’s side. It is not always evident because it happens in God’s domain, the realm of the unseen. His side of the story can be discerned at times by those who have “eyes to see and ears to hear” (see Ezekiel 40:4; Matthew 13:15-16), but often not (see the story in Daniel 10).
Had the presses been rolling in the eighth century BC they would undoubtedly have printed a story about an Assyrian king who seemed to be wielding a significant amount of power in his day. His side of the story appears pretty impressive (much as many stories printed in our day). Within the space of three sentences he uses the personal pronouns “I” and “my” eleven times (Isaiah 10:13-14). By his account, he removed boundaries of nations, subdued their kings, and plundered their wealth like taking eggs from a nest—and not one kingly bird chirped or flapped its wings in protest. His side of the story makes a good read, and history appears to verify that he was in charge (2 Kings 19:11-13). Until, that is, you hear the rest of the story.
Sennacherib, king of Assyria, had added Jerusalem to his shopping list of cities to acquire. To intimidate Hezekiah, king of Judah, into giving up, he rehearses the press releases about his past victories. Then Isaiah delivers to Hezekiah God’s side of the story: “Don’t worry Hezekiah. I planned all of Sennacherib’s past victories eons ago for reasons that don’t concern you; he was just obeying my word. But my purposes don’t include him destroying Jerusalem. In fact, I’m going to destroy his army in one night” (2 Kings 19:25, 35-36).
We may not always know, when we would like to know, the purpose of God’s words. But this we do know: Regardless of how our side of the story appears, it is God’s side that matters in the end.
God’s Promise to You: “My purposes, through my words, always have the final say.”
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