Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. 2 Kings 19:14
There are certain Old Testament stories that I look forward to, not just because they are good stories, but because they bolster my faith, remind me of God's promises, and/or refresh my memory about how much the Lord loves me. I'm sure you have stories like that too. Even though I've read through the Bible at least a dozen times, I am blessed by several narratives in His Word every time I read them.
Over the past couple days, I've been reading one of them - the story of King Hezekiah of Judah and Sennacherib, king of Assyria. Sennacherib's strategy - and Hezekiah's reaction - captivate and nudge me every time.
The Assyrian king was highly motivated to take over Judah, just as he had taken over the lands around them - including those of Judah's brethren, the northern kingdom. So he used those facts to his advantage and attempted to demoralize Hezekiah's people. Sennacherib reminded the Hebrews of the many conquests of the Assyrians, their own lack of power, and the Assyrians' ability to destroy them. And he wrote a letter to Israel's king in an attempt to scare Hezekiah himself.
“Say to Hezekiah king of Judah: Do not let the god you depend on deceive you when he says, ‘Jerusalem will not be given into the hands of the king of Assyria.’ Surely you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the countries, destroying them completely. And will you be delivered? Did the gods of the nations that were destroyed by my predecessors deliver them—the gods of Gozan, Harran, Rezeph and the people of Eden who were in Tel Assar? Where is the king of Hamath or the king of Arpad? Where are the kings of Lair, Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah?” 2 Kings 19:10-13Frightening, don't you think? I'm sure Hezekiah did, too. But this good king knew just what to do. He turned to the Lord. He knew he couldn't overpower this mighty Assyrian king, who had conquered country after country, people after people. But he knew Someone who could.
And, long story short, God delivered Hezekiah and his people, putting 185,000 of Sennacherib's soldiers to death and sending the rest of the Assyrians running.
Would God have done the same if Hezekiah had been more evasive with the Lord, or brooded instead of turning to God? I don't know, but somehow I doubt it. He tells us to ask, seek, and knock (Matthew 7:7-8)- and that's exactly what Hezekiah did - and the Lord answered in a mighty way.
Do you pray like Hezekiah? Do you lay it all out before Him, trusting in His promises and asking for His name to be glorified? It could make a huge difference.
We're discussing this here, and at Living by Grace on Facebook. Won't you join us?
Scripture Stories: Timeless Truths