Sennacherib and his men have insulted the Lord, saying “‘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!’ These officers talked about the God of Jerusalem as though he were one of the pagan gods, made by human hands” (II Chronicles 32:15b, 19, NLT). And the Lord had heard enough.
Hezekiah, the prophet Isaiah, and certainly all the people had cried to God to rescue them and the Lord had heard and would answer. In Second Chronicles 32, we read a brief summary of how the Lord intervened on His people’s behalf, but in Second Kings 19, we get a much bigger picture, including a long message delivered by Isaiah to Hezekiah:
“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I have heard your prayer about King Sennacherib of Assyria. And the Lord has spoken this word against him: ‘Whom have you been defying and ridiculing? Against whom did you raise your voice? At whom did you look with such haughty eyes? It was the Holy One of Israel!
But have you not heard? I decided this long ago. Long ago I planned it, and now I am making it happen. I planned for you to crush fortified cities into heaps of rubble.
I know the way you have raged against Me. And because of your raging against Me and your arrogance, which I have heard for Myself, I will put My hook in your nose and My bit in your mouth. I will make you return by the same road on which you came.’
Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘And this is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria: ‘His armies will not enter Jerusalem. They will not even shoot an arrow at it. They will not march outside its gates with their shields nor build banks of earth against its walls. The king will return to his own country by the same road on which he came. He will not enter this city, says the Lord. For my own honor and for the sake of my servant David, I will defend this city and protect it.’
That night the angel of the Lord went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere. Then King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there.
One day while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with their swords. They then escaped to the land of Ararat, and another son, Esarhaddon, became the next king of Assyria” (II Kings 19:20b-21a, 22, 25b, 27b-29a, 32-37).
“But have you not heard? I decided this long ago. Long ago I planned it, and now I am making it happen. I planned for you to crush fortified cities into heaps of rubble.” Sennacherib had no power whatsoever except that which the Lord had allowed him.
“I know the way you have raged against Me.” The people of Judah didn’t lay a hand on Sennacherib. The Lord simply allowed Sennacherib’s own evil lifestyle to catch up with him so that his own sons murdered him as he knelt before a useless idol in worship.
Never seek revenge against your enemies; wait on the Lord. “If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for Him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes. The Lord’s people have always been a waiting people.” (Charles Spurgeon)
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates