Got to Have Hope
2 Kings 18:1â€“20:21; 2 Chron. 29:1â€“32:33 Feb. 20 2011
2 Kings 18:28-32; 19:5-7,15-19
Hezekiahâ€™s dates. The best way to sort the confusing dates is to assume that he became co-regent in 729/728 B.C., was primary ruler from 720/719 B.C. and ruled independently after Ahazâ€™s death in 716 B.C. The 14 years lie between 715 and 701 B.C., when Sennacherib invaded.
Why is Hezekiahâ€™s character mentioned first? Hezekiah is commended for trust , for faithfully following the Lord , and for keeping the Mosaic Law . His close relationship with the Lord was a key to his success . Character comes first, for it is the key to the events that follow. To withstand the storms of life, we need to build a relationship with God like Hezekiahâ€™s.
Sennacheribâ€™s invasion. Assyrian annals trace his brilliant campaign. He subdued the Phoenician cities, then attacked south along the coast. He then turned east, taking Lachish, and isolating the remaining Judean and Philistine cities from any possible Egyptian aid.
1. Rabshakehâ€™s blasphemies. (2 Kings 18:28-32)
2 Kings 18:28 And the chief of the butlers standeth and calleth with a great voice in Jewish, and speaketh and saith, â€˜Hear ye a word of the great king, the king of Asshur: 29 thus said the king, Let not Hezekiah lift you up, for he is not able to deliver you out of his hand; 30 and let not Hezekiah make you trust unto Jehovah, saying, Jehovah doth certainly deliver us, and this city is not given into the hand of the king of Asshur. 31 â€˜Do not hearken unto Hezekiah, for thus said the king of Asshur, Make with me a blessing, and come out unto me, and eat ye each of his vine, and each of his fig-tree, and drink ye each the waters of his own well, 32 till my coming in, and I have taken you unto a land like your own land, a land of corn and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of oil olive, and honey, and live, and die not; and do not hearken unto Hezekiah, when he persuadeth you, saying, Jehovah doth deliver us.
Rabshakeh tries to convince the Jews, that it was to no purpose for them to stand it out. What confidence is this wherein thou trustest? It were well if sinners would submit to the force of this argument, in seeking peace with God. It is, therefore, our wisdom to yield to him, because it is in vain to contend with him: what confidence is that which those trust in who stand out against him? A great deal of art there is in this speech of Rabshakeh; but a great deal of pride, malice, falsehood, and blasphemy. Hezekiahâ€™s nobles held their peace. There is a time to keep silence, as well as a time to speak; and there are those to whom to offer any thing religious or rational, is to cast pearls before swine. Their silence made Rabshakeh yet more proud and secure. It is often best to leave such persons to rail and blaspheme; a decided expression of abhorrence is the best testimony against them. The matter must be left to the Lord, who has all hearts in his hands, committing ourselves unto him in humble submission, believing hope, and fervent prayer.
2. Hezekiah receives an answer of peace. (2 Kings 19:5-7)
2 Kings 19:5 And the servants of king Hezekiah come in unto Isaiah, 6 and Isaiah saith to them, â€˜Thus do ye say unto your lord: Thus said Jehovah, Be not afraid because of the words that thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Asshur have reviled Me. 7 Lo, I am giving in him a spirit, and he hath heard a report, and hath turned back to his land, and I have caused him to fall by the sword in his land.â€™
Hezekiah discovered deep concern at the dishonour done to God by Rabshakehâ€™s blasphemy. Those who speak from God to us, we should in a particular manner desire to speak to God for us. The great Prophet is the great Intercessor. Those are likely to prevail with God, who lift up their hearts in prayer. Manâ€™s extremity is Godâ€™s opportunity. While his servants can speak nothing but terror to the profane, the proud, and the hypocritical, they have comfortable words for the discouraged believer
3. Sennacheribâ€™s letter. (2 Kings 19:15-19)
2 Kings 19:15 And Hezekiah prayeth before Jehovah, and saith, â€˜O Jehovah, God of Israel, inhabiting the cherubs, Thou art God Himselfâ€”Thyself aloneâ€”to all the kingdoms of the earth: Thou hast made the heavens and the earth. 16 Incline, O Jehovah, Thine ear, and hear; open, O Jehovah, Thine eyes, and see; and hear Thou the words of Sennacherib with which he hath sent him to reproach the living God. 17 â€˜Truly, O Jehovah, kings of Asshur have laid waste the nations, and their land, 18 and have put their gods into fire, for they are no gods, but work of the hands of man, wood and stone, and destroy them. 19 And now, O Jehovah our God, save us, we pray Thee, out of his hand, and know do all kingdoms of the earth that Thou art Jehovah Godâ€”Thyself alone.â€™
Prayer is the never-failing resource of the tempted Christian, whether struggling with outward difficulties or inward foes. At the mercy-seat of his almighty Friend he opens his heart, spreads his case, like Hezekiah, and makes his appeal. When he can discern that the glory of God is engaged on his side, faith gains the victory, and he rejoices that he shall never be moved. The best pleas in prayer are taken from Godâ€™s honour.
With the Northern Kingdom crushed, Judah too was vulnerable. But Judah was blessed with a godly king, Hezekiah When the ring of defensive cities Judah had erected fell to Sennacherib, Hezekiah paid the tribute the Assyrian demanded . But Assyria was intent on its policy of population exchange. So Sennacherib sent a delegation to demand Judahâ€™s unconditional surrender . The delegation openly ridiculed Judahâ€™s continuing resistance, including any hope in her God . Hezekiah hurried to the temple, to lay the Assyrian demands before the Lord . Isaiah the prophet responded. God would send Sennacherib home, with Jerusalem untouched . Hezekiah is threatened again, and again prays and Isaiahâ€™s prophecy against Sennacherib is expanded . God strikes the bulk of the Assyrian forces dead. Sennacherib does return home, where he is assassinated by two of his sons .