It is not unusual to hear someone mock God. We see and hear this all the time. Some mock him directly and others mock Christians for their faith. They are one and the same. All the insults are directed at God himself and nothing escapes his notice. How does God respond to vile mockers?
23 Who is it you have mocked and blasphemed? Who have you raised your voice against and lifted your eyes in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel!
24 You have mocked the LORD throughyour servants. You have said, “With my many chariots I have gone up to the heights of the mountains, to the far recesses of Lebanon. I cut down its tallest cedars, its choice cypress trees. I came to its distant heights, its densest forest.
25 I dug wellsand drank water. I dried up all the streams of Egypt with the soles of my feet.”
26 Have you not heard? I designed it long ago; I planned it in days gone by. I have now brought it to pass, and you have crushed fortified cities into piles of rubble.
28 But I know your sitting down, your going out and your coming in, and your raging against Me.
29 Because your raging against Me and your arrogance have reached My ears, I will put My hook in your nose and My bit in your mouth; I will make you go back the way you came.
The arrogant Assyrian king had mocked God to incite fear. And we find here God saying how he knew all about the Assyrians and all their mocking did not go unnoticed. And not only did he know all about them, God had been using the Assyrians for his own purposes. Merrill Unger in his commentary explains, “Sennacherib’s career of conquest and destruction was no surprise to God. . . God has planned and executed it from ancient times, eternity past.” John MacArthur tells us, “God corrected Sennacherib’s vanity; he conquered nothing on his own, but was a mere instrument in the Lord’s hand.”
And as for the king’s raging against God, the end of chapter 37 tells us how God responded. The text explains that the angel of the Lord struck down 185,000 Assyrians, and when those that were left awoke the next morning, they found all the dead bodies. The Assyrian king and his armies departed! God put a bit in Sennacherib’s mouth and sent him back home.
There are two main truths we can understand from this passage. One, God is sovereign. He can and will use any means necessary to accomplish his purposes, and yes that includes using a pagan king. God uses pagan kings and armies many times to accomplish his plans. This is hard to understand but a truth that runs all through the Bible. God orchestrates, plans, and executes events in history. Let us not forget this magnificent truth in the chaos of our world. Second, we learn that God will deal with those who mock him. There are those that mock our Lord Jesus with contempt and arrogance. Yet just as with the Assyrians, God knows all about them and their raging against him. And he will put a bit in their mouth!