The people of Judah were on the mountaintop. They were living right; giving right; and everything was going great. Then along comes the valley.
“After Hezekiah had faithfully carried out this work, King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded Judah. He laid siege to the fortified towns, giving orders for his army to break through their walls. When Hezekiah realized that Sennacherib also intended to attack Jerusalem, he consulted with his officials and military advisers, and they decided to stop the flow of the springs outside the city. They organized a huge work crew to stop the flow of the springs, cutting off the brook that ran through the fields. For they said, ‘Why should the kings of Assyria come here and find plenty of water?’
Then Hezekiah worked hard at repairing all the broken sections of the wall, erecting towers, and constructing a second wall outside the first. He also reinforced the supporting terraces in the City of David and manufactured large numbers of weapons and shields. He appointed military officers over the people and assembled them before him in the square at the city gate. Then Hezekiah encouraged them by saying: ‘Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side! He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!’” (II Chronicles 32:1-8a, NLT).
Hezekiah and the people of Judah had been honoring the Lord in all they did, and yet look at what was happening. Sennacherib had no doubt heard how well things were going in Judah, so he intended to take over the country. Hezekiah had no intention of allowing that to happen.
Hezekiah’s response is two-fold: (1) He does everything possible to prepare their defenses; and (2) He relies on God to fight with them.
Hezekiah’s speech is a great one that bears repeating: “Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side! He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!”
“There is a power far greater on our side! He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!” Note the two prongs of Hezekiah’s statement: “to help us and to fight… for us.” Hezekiah didn’t expect to sit down and wait on the Lord to deliver them. The army of Judah would fight, but they’d do so knowing they had the army of God fighting alongside them.
So “Hezekiah’s words greatly encouraged the people” (II Chronicles 32:8b).
“While King Sennacherib of Assyria was still besieging the town of Lachish, he sent his officers to Jerusalem with this message for Hezekiah and all the people in the city: ‘This is what King Sennacherib of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you think you can survive my siege of Jerusalem?” (II Chronicles 32:10b).
Sennacherib’s carefully crafted message sought to divide the people. He wanted them to doubt the power of the One God they were trusting in and panic at the thought of all the other gods that could have been there for them had Hezekiah not torn down their pagan shrines and altars. Contrary to Sennacherib’s own plan, though, I believe it was the Lord who prompted him to write the question he sent to Jerusalem: “What are you trusting in that makes you think you can survive?”
All of us right now can name friends and family members going through horrific illnesses; marital problems; financial crises; troubles with their children; and more. And the enemy is taunting, asking, “What are you trusting in that makes you think you can survive?” It’s a really good question. Because unless it’s Jesus, you ain’t gonna make it. If it is Jesus, you are gonna make it; whether in this world or in the next, you are guaranteed the victory that Christ has already bought and paid for.
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates