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Isaiah 36:4-6: What reason for confidence is this in which you trust?

Isaiah 36:4-6

Amplified Bible, Classic Edition

4 And the Rabshakeh said to them, Say to Hezekiah, Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: What reason for confidence is this in which you trust?

5 Do you suppose that mere words of the lips can pass for warlike counsel and strength? Now in whom do you trust and on whom do you rely, that you rebel against me?

6 Behold, you trust in the staff of this bruised and broken reed, Egypt, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust and rely on him.


The field commander of the Assyrians intentionally removes the title of King from Hezekiah and refers to the King of Assyria as great king. This is equivalent to calling him an emperor. He in essence is stating that the only option is for Judah and its king to surrender. If it tries to stand against Assyria with the help of Egypt it is but foolishness and will fail.

What those who have no relationship with Almighty God fail to understand is His power and His faithfulness. This resembles the same threats that Goliath made during his day. Goliath was focused on his own power and might and looked at the armies of Israel as insignificant and weak. But on that day the arrogance and pride of Goliath was crushed and destroyed by a mere shepherd boy clothed in the power of God.

This is always the case with the Living God. Satan will always bring forth a force that seems overwhelming and unbeatable. He will always taunt those who trust in the Lord. His question will always be “what reason for confidence is this in which you trust”. The enemy always believes he will win because he looks at humanity on the surface and sees them as weak and insignificant. But for those who trust in the Lord and wait upon Him, God will always show Himself faithful and will always intervene at the perfect time.


The king of Assyria was directly challenging the king of Judah through his representative. The question is asked “do you suppose mere words of the lips can pass for warlike counsel and strength”. The King of Assyria is mocking Hezekiah in front of his representatives. The purpose is to intimidate into submission. The king of Assyria believes that Hezekiah is basing his trust in Egypt. But what he fails to understand is Hezekiah will place his trust in the Lord.

Hezekiah had a front row seat for the failures of his father to trust in the Lord. When we have the opportunity to serve under someone we will either learn from their mistakes and it will save us a lot of heartache or we will fail to learn and repeat the same mistakes. The king of Assyria claims that it is simply foolish and will lead to destruction if Hezekiah rebels against Assyria. But when we trust in God and place the battle in His hands, the Lord will always show Himself faithful.


The staff here that the King of Assyria speaks of is a real reed that grows around the Nile river. When it is broken it is able to pierce the hand of a person if they accidentally set their hand on it. In essence what he is communicating is the foolishness of trusting in Egypt. The King of Assyria believes that Hezekiah’s confidence in rebelling and breaking about from the alliance with Assyria is based on their relationship with Egypt.

But God had spoken to Hezekiah about the foolishness and emptiness of trusting in Egypt. This entire time the Lord has been confronting Hezekiah with word after word from His faithful prophet. Isaiah was God’s mouthpiece and he spoke over and over again about the importance of trusting the Lord. It is God who would deliver Judah in this hour. When we trust the Lord at His word and live accordingly, the Lord will always show Himself faithful. The power and might of God will never be rivaled. To see His power and might released we must walk and live by faith. God will always send forth His word and will call us to respond accordingly.

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