Reading through the Bible together
Here we find the story of King Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah. Note: The historical narrative found in this chapter (and in Isaiah 37-38) is almost identical word for word to parts of 2 Kings 18-20. In second Kings, we find a few more details.
To give some background, after King Solomon’s spiritual fall, the once unified nation of Israel slowly deteriorated into two divided kingdoms: The Kingdom of Israel to the north, and the Kingdom of Judah to the south. Israel fell prey to hostile nations due to its corrupt kings and leadership. While there were corrupt kings in Judah as well, there were a few godly kings, which led to God’s sustaining blessing a little longer. Hezekiah was one of these good kings.
When King Hezekiah came to power, in contrast to his wicked father King Ahaz, he immediately began to remove the “high places” and cut down the groves and idols. In fact, he trusted so implicitly in the Lord that the Bible tells us, “After him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. For he clave to the Lord, and departed not from following him…” (2 Kings 18:5,6).
In Hezekiah’s fourth year as King of Judah, Assyria came up and besieged the capital city of Samaria in Israel to the north. However, it wasn’t until later that Assyria came up against Judah. At this point, some of the fenced cities were taken and then Jerusalem, the capital, was surrounded. It appeared to many as though all of Judah was about to fall. But the Bible tells us, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).
Let’s pause a moment to reflect on how Rabshakeh, King Sennacherib’s arrogant spokesmen from Lachish, talks to King Hezekiah’s men in seeking to get them to surrender. It’s pretty astounding. I paraphrase:
- Who are you trusting in? (vs. 4)
- You couldn’t possibly be trusting in the Lord, could you? (vs. 7)
- Don’t let Hezekiah or his God deceive you! (vs. 14-15)
- Rather make an agreement with us—and we will take you to a land flowing with corn and wine, bread and vineyards. (vs. 17)
- BEWARE lest Hezekiah persuade you that the LORD will deliver you! (vs. 18)
- Have any other gods delivered anyone from the King of Assyria? (vs. 18)
- No! Therefore don’t expect the LORD to deliver you either! (vs. 19)
- We are more powerful than any god! (vs. 19-20)
What blasphemy! Have we not often heard the very same words spoken today by those in the world? Sometimes these voices of scoffing even come from professing Christians. What voice are we listening to: The voice of doubt and skepticism or the voice of faith? Inspiration tells us, “Let us take heed to our words. Let us talk faith, and we shall have faith. Never give place to a thought of discouragement in the work of God. Never utter a word of doubt. It is as seed sown in the heart of both speaker and hearers, to produce a harvest of discouragement and unbelief.” Evangelism, p. 633
No matter our circumstance, no matter the armies or mountains before us, let’s put our trust in God and watch to see what He will do!
Melodious Echo Mason
ARME Bible Camp Ministries