October 23, 2022
One of my all-time favorite accounts in the Bible tells the story of King Hezekiah—one of the few truly good kings in Judea. 2 Kings 18 describes him this way:
“Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses.” (2 Kings 18:5-6, NIV)
Hezekiah was ride or die for God. God rewarded him for it. “And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him.” (Verse 7)
That last line in verse 7 is really important because it introduces a new player: the king of Assyria. During Hezekiah’s day, the king of Assyria was the world power conquering all the other countries. In the fourteenth year of Hezekiah’s reign, the king of Assyria was coming to conquer Judea.
At first, King Hezekiah did what the Assyrian king wanted and tried to buy him off with a HUGE amount of gold and silver. But that didn’t satisfy the foreign king.
Like a true bully, the king of Assyria sent his supreme commander, his chief officer, and his field commander with a large army to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They stood at a pivotal point in the city and called for the king; the palace administrator, secretary, and the recorder went out to them.
Then they started taunting them:
“Who are you relying on to save you? None of the other nation’s gods could save them. Why would you think yours can?”
“Look what happened to the other nations…it’s gonna happen to you.”
“Surrender to me, and I’ll give you 2,000 horses…if you can find men to ride them.”
Then the ultimate taunt: “God told me to attack you. What can you do about that?”
That’s when Hezekiah’s men spoke up and said, “Could you speak Aramaic, we understand it, and you’re upsetting the people?”
But the Assyrians replied, “We aren’t just talking to you…we want to fill them with fear too.” (My paraphrase—read the whole chapter in 2 Kings 18.)
Then the Assyrians cried out in Hebrew (so everyone could hear it), “Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you…God is not going to save you. We are more powerful, and we are going to win.”
The people of Jerusalem stayed quiet, and Hezekiah tore his clothes and went into the Temple to seek God.
While Hezekiah was praying, the prophet Isaiah came in and told him to continue trusting God, and God would take care of Hezekiah and His people.
Hezekiah relied on God, and that night God slaughtered 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. The Assyrian army withdrew, and shortly after, the Assyrian king was killed by his own sons.
It’s an awesome story—totally worth the time to read.
Each time I read it, I am reminded that God can be trusted. Even when the Assyrian king stood outside and hooted and howled like the big bad wolf, even when he used every fear tactic in the book to get King Hezekiah to surrender, Hezekiah choose to trust God and ride or die.
He stands as an example to us that no matter what, we can trust God. Even when the enemy seems to be screaming in your ear, “If you trust God, if you rely on Him, He is going to let you down. God won’t help you. God is against you.”
These are the times when we have to stand firm and say, “I trust God’s Word. Ride or die, I believe Him, I will obey Him, and trust Him."
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.
And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.
Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.
It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God.” (2 Kings 19:14-19, NIV)
By Jamie Holden
Founder, Mantour Ministries
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.