Read 2 Kings 18
Hezekiah's good reign; Assyria invades Judah; Hezekiah's prayer; God's deliverance; Hezekiah's sickness; his display of wealth; his death.
Hezekiah . . . trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. . . . And the Lord was with him (II Kin. 18:1,5,7).
The Northern Kingdom had already been conquered by the Assyrians, and most of the people had been deported as slaves. Sennacherib, the Assyrian king, was determined to completely eliminate the Israelites by conquering Judah, the Southern Kingdom. Therefore, he surrounded Jerusalem with his seemingly invincible army. The chances for escape looked impossible and hopeless. Then to increase fear, discouragement, and despair in the Israelites, the Assyrians began to mock them. Calling out with a loud voice in Hebrew, Rabshakeh relayed the Assyrian king's message: Now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me? . . . The Lord said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it (18:19-25).
But King Hezekiah knew the battle wasn't lost yet. He bypassed all his advisors and went immediately to the Temple and prayed. He then sent messengers to the prophet, Isaiah. This man trusted God to be his deliverer. He turned to heaven instead of to man to find the answers (Matt. 21:22). True and reliable counsel is found first in the Word of God and also through godly people. In order to find a godly answer we must first consult with God!
After Hezekiah prayed, 185,000 Assyrian soldiers were destroyed by the angel of God (II Kin. 19:35). Furthermore, when Sennacherib returned to his palace in Nineveh, he was assassinated by two of his own sons (19:37; Is. 37:38). Worldly power means nothing in the Kingdom of God. Great armies and machines of war are no match for the True and Living God. If there was ever any doubt of this, the proof is here. Sometimes, when you are outnumbered and not part of the majority, you may be tempted to give up. But greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world (I John 4:4). Remember this and know that as long as you have God, you and He are the majority (I Cor. 15:57-58).
We should never be fearful about our future, but we do need to pray and commit our need to Him. No matter how hopeless your situation may appear, just remember that when Hezekiah honored the Lord, the Lord was with him (II Kin. 18:7), and He will be with you. Just look to Him first.
Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven (Matt. 18:19).
Thought for Today:
There is no substitute for prayer.
By Hezekiah, who was faithful in leading the Kingdom of Judah back to God and His Word (II Kin. 18:1-6) — a foreshadowing of the words of Jesus to the Pharisees in His attempt to awaken them to their need to see themselves as sinners and recognize Him as their Savior (Mark 2:17).
18:6 clave, clung, was devoted to; 18:17 Tartan, the title of Assyria's general, commander in chief; Rabsaris, the chief financial official; Rabshakeh, the chief officer, or possibly chief cupbearer; 18:31 by a present, by paying tribute; 19:3 bring forth, give birth; 19:7 blast, spirit of bad fortune; 20:3 sore, bitterly and loud.
Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Lt. Col. Walter and Penny Swanson • Staff: Beth Carlton • Government Official: Rep. Vernon Buchanan (FL) and Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (NY) • Country: Congo, Republic of the (2 million) in west-central Africa • Major languages: French and Lingala • Limited religious freedom, but government hostility has lessened • 41% Roman Catholic; 20% fetishism and belief in ancestral spirits; 17% Protestant; 9% cults • Prayer Suggestion: If we ask anything agreeing with His will, He both hears and answers (I John 5:14-15).
Optional Reading: Romans 11
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Corinthians 5:21