Saturday, January 3, 2009
All Gods the Same?
I'm reading through Isaiah. And, as I read about Sennacharib who was determined to take Jerusalem at the time of King Hezekiah, I realized that Sennacherib made the same mistake that many people make today.
"All Gods are essentially the same aren't they?"
"Aren't all people praying to the same God -- no matter what they call him?"
"God doesn't care what you call Him, does He?"
"Buddha, Allah, Jehovah, Jesus, Mother Earth, they're really all the same thing, yes?"
Here is how Sennecherib said it, "Don't let Hezekiah mislead you by saying, 'the Lord will rescue us!' Have the gods of any other nations ever saved their people from the king of Assyria?"
The Assyrian King was making a huge mistake. He assumed that the gods of the other nations WERE EXACTLY THE SAME (in power, in authority, in passion, in interest, etc) as the GOD OF ISRAEL.
I have one word for him.
All Gods are not the same. The Bible gives NO ROOM for this kind of thinking. God's answer to Sennacherib:
"Whom do you think you have been insulting and ridiculing? Against whom did you raise your voice? At whom did you look in such proud condescension? It was the Holy One of Israel!" (Isaiah 37:23)
Don't make the same mistake as this foolish king. He woke one morning after mocking God and found 185 thousand of his troops dead. "When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere. Then King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land."
It was a humiliating defeat. Thousands died because he was foolish enough to think: All Gods are the same. No one else has stopped me. The God of Israel won't stop me either.
If you are a believer already, this story reminds us:
God has the power to rescue even against overwhelming odds.
God does not tolerate being mocked.
God hears everyone, even the foolish statements of our enemies.
God responds when we take our troubles to him.
God cares about us, whether our troubles are small, or large. When we are surrounded, when the water is cut off, the food is cut off and our enemy is camped all around us. He listens. He hears. He responds.
Our God is an awesome God.
Don't be fooled. He is like no other.