In the first 13 verses of 2 Kings, we discover that Hezekiah was a righteous king. He did right in the eyes of the LORD. He tore down false idols and long held traditions that were not in keeping with the LORD’s instructions. He walked in the ways of his father David. He trusted in the LORD. The LORD gave him success as a result. Wherever he went the LORD gave him victory. Imagine his surprise when he encountered very real and significant setbacks and defeat at the hands of Assyria when he rebelled against them.
Of course, we can note that there is no reference that the LORD told Hezekiah to revolt against Assyria. Nor is there any reference as we read through 2 kings 18 that Hezekiah called upon the LORD for help against the Assyrians. We could speculate that he likely did because he was a righteous man in all he did, but we must also recognize that he may not have.
In either case, he faces defeat by Assyria. He plunders his own treasury to try to appease them and ultimately they still come to lay siege on Jerusalem. It is ultimately in 2 Kings 19, at a point of absolute desperation, that Hezekiah is noted as seeking the LORD and the LORD responds by granting victory.
As we continue in 2 Kings below, Hezekiah
Invasion of Judah
13Now in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria marched against all the fortified cities of Judah and seized them. 14Then Hezekiah king of Judah sent messengers to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong. Withdraw from me; whatever you impose on me I will endure.” So the king of Assyria imposed on Hezekiah king of Judah the payment of three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15Hezekiah then gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasuries of the king’s house. 16At that time Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the temple of the LORD, and from the doorposts, which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and he gave it to the king of Assyria.
17Then the king of Assyria sent Tartan, Rab-saris, and Rabshakeh from Lachish to King Hezekiah with a large army to Jerusalem. So they went up and came to Jerusalem. And when they went up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the road of the fuller’s field. 18Then they called to the king, and Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the household, Shebnah the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the secretary, went out to them.
19And Rabshakeh said to them, “Say now to Hezekiah, ‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria says: “What is this confidence that you have? 20You say—but they are only empty words—‘I have a plan and strength for the war.’ Now on whom have you relied, that you have revolted against me? 21Now behold, you have relied on the support of this broken reed, on Egypt; on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it. That is how Pharaoh king of Egypt is to all who rely on him. 22However, if you say to me, ‘We have trusted in the LORD our God,’ is it not He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has removed, and has said to Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem’? 23Now then, come make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to put riders on them! 24How then can you drive back even one official of the least of my master’s servants, and rely on Egypt for chariots and horsemen? 25Have I now come up without the LORD’S approval against this place to destroy it? The LORD said to me, ‘Go up against this land and destroy it.’”’”
26Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, Shebnah, and Joah, said to Rabshakeh, “Speak now to your servants in Aramaic, because we understand it; and do not speak with us in Judean so that the people who are on the wall hear you.” 27But Rabshakeh said to them, “Has my master sent me only to your master and to you to speak these words? Has he not also sent me to the men who sit on the wall, doomed to eat their own dung and drink their own urine with you?”
28Then Rabshakeh stood up and shouted with a loud voice in Judean, saying, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29This is what the king says: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to save you from my hand. 30And do not let Hezekiah lead you to trust in the LORD by saying, “The LORD will certainly save us, and this city will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.” 31Do not listen to Hezekiah, for this is what the king of Assyria says: “Make your peace with me and come out to me, and eat, each one, from his vine and each from his fig tree, and drink, each one, the waters of his own cistern, 32until I come and take you to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees producing oil, and of honey, so that you will live and not die.” But do not listen to Hezekiah, because he misleads you by saying, “The LORD will save us.” 33Has any of the gods of the nations actually saved his land from the hand of the king of Assyria? 34Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Have they saved Samaria from my hand? 35Who among all the gods of the lands are there who have saved their land from my hand, that the LORD would save Jerusalem from my hand?’”
36But the people were silent and did not answer him with even a word, because it was the king’s command: “Do not answer him.” 37Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the household, and Shebna the scribe and Joah the son of Asaph, the secretary, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and they reported to him the words of Rabshakeh.
As I reflect on 2 Kings 18 and 19, I see a message for all of us. It is good for us to walk in the ways of the LORD and reject all others. It is good for us in building relationship with our God and also in inviting His blessing upon us according to His covenant with His people. Even so, we will encounter major challenges and setbacks at times. Yeshua Himself says in Matthew 7:25 that storms will come against us. It is imperative for us to build our foundation on solid relationship and submission to our Father.
24“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine, and [t]acts on them, will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25And the rain fell and the [u]floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not [v]act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27And the rain fell and the [w]floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and its collapse was great.”
When the storms came for Hezekiah, it appears he got focused on how to solve the problem in his own power, likely hoping the LORD would deliver victory. When we see he had success is when he came desperately before the LORD, recognizing his own inability to address the situation and asking the LORD to fight for him.
I suppose it is also fair to note that the king of Assyria did himself no favors by blaspheming Yahweh. We should make personal note of that also.
In both cases, remember that no matter how powerful or weak we may be in our own strength, it is ultimately the LORD who brings victory.
I invite you to pray with me:
Father, please help me (and all your people) to be humble and submitted to you in all our ways. Show us error and lead us in courage and wisdom to turn from it. Help us build our foundation on the solid rock of your word. Help us to seek and rely on you when we face trials and challenges and defeat. Let us not rely on our own power. Thank you LORD for your hand of blessing for those who submit and obey and walk in your ways. You are King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You alone are God. There are none like you!
Devotion by John in service to Christ
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