Sennacherib and the army of Assyria marched into Judah and laid siege to town after town. Hezekiah knew Sennacherib was headed for Jerusalem, so he began preparing their defenses. Then “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 32:6-8a, NLT).
Meanwhile Sennacherib had sent this message: “What are you trusting in that makes you think you can survive my siege of Jerusalem? Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you! Don’t let him fool you like this! I say it again – no god of any nation or kingdom has ever yet been able to rescue his people from me or my ancestors. How much less will your God rescue you from my power!’
And Sennacherib’s officers further mocked the Lord God and his servant Hezekiah, heaping insult upon insult. The king also sent letters scorning the Lord, the God of Israel. He wrote, ‘Just as the gods of all the other nations failed to rescue their people from my power, so the God of Hezekiah will also fail.’ The Assyrian officials who brought the letters shouted this in Hebrew to the people gathered on the walls of the city, trying to terrify them so it would be easier to capture the city. These officers talked about the God of Jerusalem as though he were one of the pagan gods, made by human hands’” (II Chronicles 32:10b, 15-19).
“These officers talked about the God of Jerusalem as though he were one of the pagan gods, made by human hands” and thought they could get away with it! But Hezekiah knew exactly what to do.
“After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the Lord’s Temple and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the Lord: ‘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. Bend down, O Lord, and listen! Open your eyes, O Lord, and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God.
It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations. 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. 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’” (II Kings 19:14-19).
Look back at Hezekiah’s speech to the people: “We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!” And that’s precisely what Jehovah did – He fought for Jerusalem.
Child of God, you have the entire army of heaven on your side. When the going gets tough, don’t panic; hit your knees. Call out to the Great and Mighty Lord God Almighty. “He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us again. On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us” (II Corinthians 1:10, NIV).
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates