King Hesekiah was backed into a corner. 185,000 Assyrian warriors gathered around his city, Jerusalem. They had a nasty reputation for being merciless, cold-blooded killers. The people were scared. Rather than a quick invasion, the Assyrians would first launch an emotional attack. One that would challenge their values and beliefs. It will become a test of faith.
2 Kings 18:29 (ESV) ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand.
2 Kings 18:30 (ESV) 30 Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord by saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’
2 Kings 18:31 (ESV) 31 Do not listen to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make your peace with me and come out to me. Then each one of you will eat of his own vine, and each one of his own fig tree, and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern,
2 Kings 18:32 (ESV) until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey, that you may live, and not die. And do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, “The Lord will deliver us.”
2 Kings 18:33 (ESV) Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?
2 Kings 18:35 (ESV) Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?’”
This method was as effective then as it is today. If the people turn on their king, they would win handily. Furthermore, if the king’s confidence in God is rattled, they win everything.
It is far easier to believe the seeds of doubt sown by our enemies than the infinite power of God. Especially when our circumstances are grim. This is where our faith and actions collide. How did Hezekiah respond? First with frustration and anguish. He “tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth.” But, more importantly, he “went into the house of the Lord” (2 Kings 19:1).
King Hezekiah did not give in to the lies of the enemy. He would not surrender his belief. Instead, he returned to what he knew to be true. He went to God, his protector and redeemer. With that one act of faith Hezekiah received the precious words that we all need. “Do not be afraid, for I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David” (2 Kings 19:6&34).
These words strengthen me today. There is an enemy that is sowing seeds of doubt in me, challenging what I believe and enticing me to surrender the victory I have been promised. There is only one true response; enter the house of the Lord, and pray. Here is the prayer of Hezekiah:
“O Lord, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth. 16 Bend down, O Lord, and listen! Open your eyes, O Lord, and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God.
17 “It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations. 18 And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands. 19 Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O Lord, are God.” 2 Kings 19:15-19 (NLT)