New International Version
4 This is what the Lord says to me:
“As a lion growls,
a great lion over its prey—
and though a whole band of shepherds
is called together against it,
it is not frightened by their shouts
or disturbed by their clamor—
so the Lord Almighty will come down
to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights.
Like birds hovering overhead,
the Lord Almighty will shield Jerusalem;
he will shield it and deliver it,
he will ‘pass over’ it and will rescue it.”
6 Return, you Israelites, to the One you have so greatly revolted against. 7 For in that day every one of you will reject the idols of silver and gold your sinful hands have made.
“Assyria will fall by no human sword;
a sword, not of mortals, will devour them.
They will flee before the sword
and their young men will be put to forced labor.
Their stronghold will fall because of terror;
at the sight of the battle standard their commanders will panic,”
declares the Lord,
whose fire is in Zion,
whose furnace is in Jerusalem.
Jesus is known as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. When God needs to defend Israel from its foes He moves with terrifying intensity and power. God desires to be merciful, but we must remember that Israel is the apple of His eye. He promised Abraham that whoever cursed Abraham would be cursed and whoever blessed Abraham would be blessed. Here it states that like a great and mighty lion that growls over its prey and is surrounded by shepherds, it is not terrified in the least. Though the army of Assyria would be many, it is nothing compared to the Living God. This is why time and time again the Lord showed why it was so foolish to trust in foreign nations and foreign gods. True protection and safety is found in the Lord alone.
It says the Lord will come down to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights. There will come a day when Jesus shall descend from the heavens with the armies of Heaven behind Him. He shall deal with the enemies of Israel. But in this instance the Lord speaks of sending His destroying angel that in one night would slay 185,000 of the Assyrians. No one is a match for the Living God. When we are faced with trials and tribulations we must remember that God is fully in control and no one is greater.
Psalm 91 speaks of the shelter of the most high. Those who abide in the shadow of the Almighty will find peace and safety. Like birds hovering overhead the Lord would protect Jerusalem. The Lord speaks these words through the prophet time and time again for the benefit of the people. So they would decide to let go of trusting in their own wisdom and understanding and simply trust God fully at His word.
The Lord’s message to Israel when they went astray was always one of returning. It is a message of repentance. The Lord is calling them to leave the direction they are moving in, trusting in foreign nations and foreign gods and instead to return fully to the Lord with their whole hearts. Even though God had ever right to destroy Israel because of her continued rebellion, the grace and mercy of God is far greater than we understand.
In that day when they return to trusting the Lord they will throw and cast their idols to the side. They will see that trusting in foreign nations and their gods was useless. It is only God who could fully deliver Israel. When we continue in sin and pursuing things we should not, the Lord will often allow us to experience the consequences of our actions. Through the pain and suffering Israel would experience, they would see that trusting the Lord was their only course of action that would lead to deliverance.
The sword by which the Assyrians would be destroyed would not be wielded by any human. In Isaiah 37:36-37 we are given the account of when God’s destroying angel killed 185,000 soldiers in one night. The Assyrians would speak boastful words against Israel and its God. But they would be destroyed by their arrogance and their pride. In the end Israel would find deliverance and Assyria would be destroyed.
The stronghold of the Assyrians would be destroyed and the battle standard of Israel would terrify them. Not because Israel was mighty, powerful, or strong in themselves, but because it was God Almighty who fought on their side. What always leads to the destruction of a person or nation is pride and arrogance, especially when they reject the Living God or they try to resist Him.
All those who tried to overtake Israel failed to understand that they were not simply dealing with Israel, they were dealing with God Almighty. When Jesus returns to the earth He shall rule and reign from Jerusalem. Here it says “whose fire is in Zion, whose furnace is in Jerusalem”. When the Lord judges the nations, His judgement is always the result of the nation's treatment of Israel. If a nation blesses Israel, they will be blessed. But if a nation rises against and curses Israel, the Lord Himself will come against them.
All of us face challenges in this life, but we must remember that God is greater. Today we who have a personal relationship with Jesus are in a covenant relationship with the Living God. He is our defender, our fortress, our stronghold, and our deliverer. We have nothing to fear. When we face overwhelming odds and circumstances we simply need to turn to the Lord in prayer. He is always faithful.