Hezekiah And Sennacherib: Trusting God With Forthcoming Challenges

From 2 Kings 18-19

Ever had a looming situation that was coming closer and you could do nothing about it? It may have been some kind of deadline, an inevitable challenge or a negative event that was bound to happen. What do you do when it is out of your hands yet it is on its way? Well, Hezekiah experienced one such situation and it is not an exaggeration to say it was a matter of life and death. Just to emphasize that this was a real-life event. These were real people (MET Museum) like you and me.

The Assyrians had recently attacked Israel, destroyed their homes and taken them captive. These people were known to be extremely cruel. It was not uncommon for them to torture their captives in ways that are unspeakable. So after taking Israel, they came for Judah in which Hezekiah was king. They took many fortified cities and plotted to take Jerusalem—where the king lived.

Before they attacked, they offered conditions of “peace” and a representative of the king arrived:

The king of Assyria sent his supreme commander, his chief officer and his field commander with a large army, from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They came up to Jerusalem and stopped at the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman’s Field. They called for the king; and Eliakim son of Hilkiah the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph the recorder went out to them.

The field commander said to them, “Tell Hezekiah:

“‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: On what are you basing this confidence of yours? You say you have the counsel and the might for war—but you speak only empty words. On whom are you depending, that you rebel against me? Look, I know you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces the hand of anyone who leans on it! Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who depend on him. But if you say to me, “We are depending on the Lord our God”—isn’t he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah removed, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, “You must worship before this altar in Jerusalem”?

Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, and Shebna and Joah said to the field commander, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it. Don’t speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people on the wall.”

But the commander replied, “Was it only to your master and you that my master sent me to say these things, and not to the people sitting on the wall—who, like you, will have to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine?”

I told you they were cruel.

The commander then went on to list the kingdoms whose gods had been unable to deliver them—whom Assyria had utterly destroyed. So now the news reaches Hezekiah and he is distraught, he rips his clothes.

Afterwards though, he commanded the people to pray and he prayed as well. That is important, see how he disregarded the threat of the Assyrians in spite of them destroying Israel and many cities near him. He considered God more than the great Assyrian army.

Later on, Isaiah the prophet sent a message to Hezekiah saying, Tell your master, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard—those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Listen! When he hears a certain report, I will make him want to return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down.”

Shortly after, “The angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there. His sons Adrammelek and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat.”

This took great faith from Hezekiah, but God delivered him because he trusted the Lord in spite of what he saw. Let us take a leaf from him and not think whatever it is that we are facing is too difficult for God to deal with. Remember with Him ALL things are possible.

Illustration By Damien F. Mackey

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