My 5-year-old granddaughter whistled and whistled for pleasure as she waited for someone to join her to swing on the jungle gym. As a 12-year-old boy, I whistled and whistled to calm my fear, walking alone one dark night through a cemetery.
Unlike my granddaughter’s pleasurable whistle or my fearful whistle, God whistled in judgment on his people Judah. His whistle summoned “flies from the distant streams of Egypt and bees from the land of Assyria” (Isaiah 7:18), symbols of the invading armies, to conquer and take the tribe of Judah into exile. Judah ran after other gods. He wanted them to run after him. So God whistled to warn them, but their idolatry had made them deaf!
Sometimes we reason that maybe God is too harsh with his people. But Judah was rebellious and ignoring Him, being indifferent to Him as if He were no one special, no one important. King Ahaz promoted wickedness, he cast idols for worship, he took the holy things from the temple of the Lord and gave them to the king of Assyria, and he even sacrificed his sons in the fire. God was punishing Judah for the sins of King Ahaz. This judgment whistle was not an act of cruelty or rejection. But an act of love. If he had left those sins unchecked, those sins would have utterly destroyed Judah.
God is hard on evil because it separates Him from us and us from Him. He must destroy evil in hearts so that His holiness can occupy pure hearts. Judah’s knees should have bowed immediately in thanksgiving to Him because God’s whistle was clear evidence of His stubborn love. But they did not bow to the God of Israel; instead, they continued to bow to pagan deities.
Our prayer must be that whenever we hear God’s whistle, we’ll immediately repent to avoid the “invading armies” of the judgment on us. It divides our hearts and breaks His holy heart when we serve other gods, and so–He whistles.