Deliverance from Assyria--Part 1
Nov 25, 2009
There are two "Asher's" in the Bible. The first was Jacob's son, who was so named in Gen. 30:13, because his mother said, "Happy [osher] am I, for the daughters will call me blessed [ashar]."
The second Asher, spelled with the same Hebrew letters, is Asshur, translated "Assyria."
Of course, the real point is HOW one obtains the happiness or blessing that they seek. The biblical way to bless someone is to heap coals of fire on their head (Rom. 12:20) by overcoming evil with good (vs. 21). You know, feed your enemy if he is hungry. Give him water if he is thirsty. Definitely not send him to Guantanamo. Don't torture him. Instead, confuse him and mess with his head by treating him as Jesus would.
The word Asher is spelled with three Hebrew letters: aleph, shin, and resh. Aleph and shin spell esh, which is the Hebrew word for FIRE. The resh at the end is the Hebrew letter that means "head." In other words, heap coals of FIRE ON THE HEAD. In Paul's day this would have conjured up the picture of a household whose fire went out, perhaps due to the family going on a journey. The woman would ask her neighbor for some coals, which she would then put in an earthen pot, put it on her head, and carry it home. If the neighbor is stingy, she might give her only one small coal. It was a blessing to be given a "heap" of coals, so that the fire could be restarted quickly and easily.
No, Dr. Snerdly, it had nothing to do with sending someone to hell or calling down fire from heaven to toast them alive.
So when Paul wrote in Rom. 12 to heap coals of fire on his head, it was a Hebrew "play on letters" indicating the path of blessing and happiness in the way God intended.
On the other hand, Assyria had an entirely different path of blessing, mostly because they sought to be blessed, rather than to bless others. Their goal was to conquer other people and to kill anyone who got in the way. The goal was self-blessing, self-happiness, self-interest.
So when Israel lost its godly character and refused to bless others properly; when they stopped fulfilling the testimony that Asher's name carried; when they began to adopt the Assyrian way of obtaining blessing and happiness--then God judged them by the hand of Assyria. It was the Assyrians who conquered Israel from 745-721 B.C. and deported them to the area around the Caspian Sea.
This story is told in Isaiah 10. It is a chapter that reveals the cause of this captivity, as well as the solution. It records both the captivity and the deliverance from Assyria. Because the Israelites refused the fire of God, they were given the fire of Assyria upon their heads.
(1) Who to those who enact evil statutes; and to those who constantly record unjust decisions, (2) so as to deprive the needy of justice, and rob the poor of My people of their rights, in order that widows may be their spoil, and that they may plunder orphans. (3) Now what will you do in the day of punishment, and in the devastation which will come from afar?
The reason for this judgment upon Israel was largely due to its government passing unjust laws that robbed the poor, the widows, and the orphans of their rights. Of course, the underlying cause of such legislation is that the people themselves set aside God's laws in favor of man's laws. Socialism is the main system of man today which pretends to help the poor, but in fact it ends up robbing them and enslaving them.
The law says this in Exodus 22:21-24,
(21) And you shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. (22) You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. (23) If you afflict him at all, and if he does cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry; (24) and My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall become widows, and your children fatherless.
You see, foreigners, widows, and orphans all had one thing in common. They had no "covering." In those days most people had guardians called "the avenger of blood," who were responsible to obtain justice for those who were wronged. Normally, it was a near kinsman or the head of the family. They were to file the charges in court in order to protect those in their care.
No, Dr. Snerdly, it was not meant to promote revenge killings or family feuds. There is a right way and a wrong way to protect your family from injustice.
Some people had no one to protect them. They had no "covering." So the law makes it clear that God becomes their covering. So if they appeal to Him, He will see to it that justice is done.
This is something that David understood as well. When King Saul was chasing him around the countryside, David could not return home, nor could his parents protect him from this injustice without endangering themselves and their land inheritance. So he wrote in Psalm 27:9, 10,
(9) Do not hide Thy face from me, do not turn Thy servant away in anger; Thou hast been my help; Do not abandon me, O God of my salvation! (10) For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up.
David expected God to take up his cause, because his parents had forsaken him. They were probably forced to renounce him and agree with the government that David was a criminal. At any rate, the court was corrupt, and they had no recourse and were unable to give David the justice that was due to him. So David appealed to God as an orphan having no covering, and God took up the case.
The Saul Church today usually insists that no one is a real Christian unless he has man's covering. They do this to force everyone to join their denomination. This works reasonably well, as long as the person is not an overcomer like David. It works fine as long as the church member is in agreement with the doctrinal statements of the denomination, or is willing to suppress his own views.
But if David had remained under Saul, he would have been killed. So David had little choice but to leave Saul's house and become a thorn in his side. The point is, it is no sin to have no covering of man. It simply creates a situation where God Himself becomes one's covering, as the law says.
In the case of Israel, the judicial system and the government oppressed the people by violating their rights as specified in the law of God. They passed new laws that contradicted God's laws, or they reinterpreted God's laws according to their own minds in order to make the law of God of no effect.
God's judgments always fit the crime. Israel wanted laws that allowed the rich and powerful to oppress the little people, so God brought in the Assyrians, who were bigger and badder. God commissioned Assyria to do to them what they had done to others. That way, they would experience oppression and injustice for themselves, and thereby have opportunity to learn righteousness.
You might say that God heaped coals of (Assyrian-style) fire upon their heads.
In Isaiah 10:5 and 6, we read,
(5) Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger and the staff in whose hands is My indignation, (6) I send it against a godless nation and commission it against the people of My fury to capture booty and to seize plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets.
The average person can never believe that God would commission an enemy to bring judgment upon them. This is primarily because the average religious person does not believe that he is part of the problem. When sin becomes ingrained into a culture, the sinners are able to be religious with no twinge of conscience. One must study the divine law in order to come into agreement with Him.
This is the first part of a series titled "Deliverance from Assyria." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones