Tuesdays are for the Old Testament
Luther, Martin, edited by Jaroslav Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, translated by Herbert J.A. Bowman) Luther’s Works, Vol. 16, Lectures on Isaiah Chapters 1-39. St. Louis: Concordia, 1969. Logos Electronic Edition.
“Isaiah Chapter 36” pp. 307-313.
Luther considers Isaiah 36-39 to be very straightforward. He does identify the importance of faith in God throughout. In Isaiah 36 when Hezekiah is under pressure from the Assyrians he first wants to resist. Luther compares the Assyrians here to Satan, who tempts us to action rather than trust in God (LW 16, 307). The cities around Jerusalem have been taken by the Assyrians. They approach Jerusalem with their threats. These threats, like Satan’s, indicate that they are the people chosen by God to overcome God’s people. Luther sees this as a very forceful argument (LW 16, 308). By verse six it is clear that reliance on human powers is destined to fail. Yet Satan, in the guise of the Assyrians, calls people to trust his power. He throws accusations against the human rulers and their trust in God (LW 16, 309). He even claims that God is the one who has sent him. Luther applies all these statements to the New Testament temptations lodged against Jesus, in the wilderness and as he approached the cross (LW 16, 310). In verse 11 Eliakim asks the Assyrians to speak in Aramaic, not in Hebrew. He doesn’t want the people to hear the accusations in a language they understand. Luther observes that Satan’s attacks are persistent. By his constant haranguing we eventually can end up believing the lies he tells (LW 16, 311). By the end of the chapter there is another demand from Assyria to capitulate. Assyria is the great and powerful kingdom to which everyone should eventually bow (LW 16, 312). Hezekiah and Eliakim respond that they will look for the true and living God to deliver them. In the end of the chapter they will not answer Assyria any more. Luther observes that many of the attacks the Church endures are best left unanswered (LW 16, 313).