Taking Root Below and Bearing Fruit Above

from Lynda Lindsey

The Assyrian king’s field commander: “Come now, make a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria… Make peace with me and come out to me. Then every one of you will eat from his own vine and fig tree and drink water from his own cistern until I come and take you to a land like your own—-a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards.” Isaiah 36:8(a); 16-17

But the people remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king had commanded, “Do not answer him.” Isaiah 36:21

God’s word against the king of Assyria and the sign to King Hezekiah: “This year you will eat what grows by itself, and the second year what springs from that. But in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit. Once more a remnant of the house of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” Isaiah 37:30-32

The Assyrians mounted an all out attack to conquer Jerusalem; they not only deployed cruel tactics in physical warfare, they included verbal and written assault, hoping to undermine Israel’s faith and trust in God. Hezekiah wisely commanded his people to say nothing in response to the enemy’s claims. Satan uses the same tactics with us, attempting to get us to bargain with him, to make peace with him, telling us it will be well with us when we do. Our best defense against Satan’s lies? Silence! Our adversary can quote Scripture too; only he twists the words, and meanings, until we end up confused and very much misled.

Hezekiah’s response when he received a letter from the Assyrian king insulting God’s integrity? Prayer! He spread out the letter before God in the temple and prayed, asking God to hear, see and deliver His people. Hezekiah humbly threw himself on the mercy of God. Our best defense in the face of physical or verbal attack? Prayer!  No matter that our enemy desires to topple us, lie against and to us, our response, like Hezekiah’s, should be to pour out our heart to God, our refuge and strength, trust in His deliverance and salvation, and watch for God to show up and act on our behalf! 

God’s promise of deliverance to Hezekiah is a beautiful picture of God’s provision. Soon the battle would cease; sowing and reaping would continue. Harvests would again be plentiful as plants developed a solid root system below ground, yielding abundant fruit above. So it is with us. Want a fruitful relationship with God that can withstand the enemy’s assaults and lies? Take root below and bear fruit above. A foundation rooted in God’s Word and prayer yields fruit of righteousness!