If you were flipping through a deck of blue cards and came upon a red one in the middle, it would get your attention. It was like that today when I hit chapter 36 in my reading of Isaiah. Everything until then was a series of judgments on nations and woes on unbelieving Israel. Then suddenly we have a narrative, the only one in this 66-chapter book.
I'm no editor, but I said to myself, "Well, it must be an important story if the storyteller (God) selects it for showcasing from among an infinite number of contenders." So I read on, and it was a little incident in which Assyria, having gobbled the northern kingdom, dispatched an emissary to the southern kingdom with this mocking message:
"Are you still trusting God, you fools? Look around you: Is there any nation whose gods have been able to save them from our Sennecherib's military machine? What makes you think you're any different? Don't believe your king Hezekiah when he tells you to trust the Lord" (my paraphrase of chapter 36).
As if to make the point perfectly clear, in case there be obtuse readers among us, the taunt of the heathen ambassador, and his allusion to the issue of trust, is repeated multiple times in a single chapter:
"On what do you rest this trust of yours?" (verse 4). "But if you say to me, 'We trust in the Lord . . .'" (verse 7). "Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord by saying, 'The Lord will surely deliver us'" (verse 15). "Beware lest Hezekiah mislead you by saying, 'The Lord will deliver us . . .'" (verse 18). "Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?" (verse 20).
Them's fightin' words with God. If you want to see action, just publicly question His ability to save and deliver.
Hezekiah did the right thing and went to the house of God, to pray and to seek counsel. He and Isaiah reasoned rightly that God would be zealous for his name and glory: The Lord marshaled events so that the plans of Sennacherib were diverted (37:7), and soon his own sons murdered him in his own god's temple (37:38).
As for me, I was left with the distinct impression that God was telling me that I need to be very careful to trust in His ability to deliver me from any threatening situation. If there is one thing God insists on, it is that we fear and trust nothing but Him alone.