“Do not answer him…” (Isaiah 36:21) Bullying has been the hot-topic of schools, social media, and even addressed in the workplace. It is a despicable practice aimed at destroying the self-worth of an individual and beyond. However this practice of intimidation is not new.
Judah was in a vulnerable place. The Assyrians had already taken all of its major cities. Now they had Jerusalem and King Hezekiah in their sights. A representative was sent to bully the king and his people into submission. It is a textbook case of psychological warfare. Question everything; the strength of their ally, Egypt. — their military capability — even the support of God.
“Moreover, is it without the LORD that I have come up against this land to destroy it? The LORD said to me, ‘“Go up against this land and destroy it.”’” (Isaiah 36:10) Verbal assaults are not just aimed at our character. They seek to destroy hope, to paint a bleak picture of the future. Lies, half-truths, and boisterous words were part of the Assyrian scare tactic.
Hezekiah’s response is simple: Do not answer him. Why? Nothing that Hezekiah or his representative could say would stop this bully.
Proverbs 24:6 tells us: Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are. In other words, don’t be drawn in by inflammatory words. Instead imitate the wisdom of King Hezekiah: He humbled himself and sought to hear from God through the prophet. Isaiah heard a response from God about the situation:
Ch 37:6-7 the prophet replied, “Say to your master, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not be disturbed by this blasphemous speech against me from the Assyrian king’s messengers. 7 Listen! I myself will move against him,and the king will receive a message that he is needed at home. So he will return to his land, where I will have him killed with a sword.’”
The Assyrian representative would not accept that response and continued his bullying tactics. (Bullies don’t listen) However God’s word proved to be true.
Instead of trying to defend yourself, don’t answer. Let God speak to you. Let God be your defense. Take a few moments and enjoy the youtube video of one of my favs: Marty Goetz