Introduction: This chapter tells of one of the greatest miracles of the Bible. The mighty Assyrian army had just destroyed the 10 tribes of Northern Israel. It then invaded and took all of Judah’s fortified cities. Only Jerusalem remained. But Hezekiah had a faith unlike any king since David. In response to his prayers, Isaiah prophesied that God would protect Judah and judge the Assyrians. God then kept His promises. He wiped out 185,000 Assyrian soldiers and saved Jerusalem. The details of this amazing story are recorded in 2 Chronicles 32, 2 Kings 18, and Isaiah. From Hezekiah’s faithful example, God reveals seven lessons on true faith. True faith includes: (1) God’s testing, (2) complete trust in Him, (3) His strength / courage, (4) His deliverance, (5) His healing, (6) His provision / honor, and (7) His mercy and grace.
First, after the people of Judah put their trust in God and destroyed their idols, God allowed the Assyrians to conquer all of Judah except for Jerusalem. From this experience, God reveals that true faith is tested until it is perfected. Second, the Assyrians sought to sow doubt in the Jews by questioning how they could protect themselves without their idols. From this testing, God reveals that true faith places complete trust in God. Third, the Assyrians then mocked God’s power to save them. God then strengthened the Jews with His power to stay strong and courageous in the face of a much larger army. From this encounter, God reveals that true faith gives you His strength and courage in the face of evil. Fourth, Hezekiah and Isaiah prayed for God to deliver Judah. God responded to their prayers by sending the angel of the Lord to kill 185,00 Assyrian soldiers. From this miracle, God reveals that true faith brings His blessings of deliverance. Fifth, Hezekiah was at one point near death because of an illness. Hezekiah cried out in faith for healing. God responded by healing Hezekiah and extending his life. From this miracle, God reveals that true faith can also bring the blessing of His healing. Sixth, because of Hezekiah’s faith, God blessed him with provision and honor. True faith also brings the blessings of God’s provision and honor. Finally, because of his faith Hezekiah received God’s mercy and grace when he committed serious sins against God and the nation of Judah. True faith in Jesus also brings His mercy and grace. He promises to both forgive and forget even the worst of sins.
Assyria invaded Judah, and Hezekiah encourages the people to trust God. After the Jews in Judah acted in faith to destroy idols that had existed since Solomon, God allowed the Assyrians to invade Judah. Hezekiah encouraged the Jews that God would deliver them: “1 After these acts of faithfulness Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah and besieged the fortified cities, and thought to break into them for himself. 2 Now when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come and that he intended to make war on Jerusalem, 3 he decided with his officers and his warriors to cut off the supply of water from the springs which were outside the city, and they helped him. 4 So many people assembled and stopped up all the springs and the stream which flowed through the region, saying, ‘Why should the kings of Assyria come and find abundant water?’ 5 And he took courage and rebuilt all the wall that had been broken down and erected towers on it, and built another outside wall and strengthened the Millo in the city of David, and made weapons and shields in great number. 6 He appointed military officers over the people and gathered them to him in the square at the city gate, and spoke encouragingly to them, saying, 7 ‘Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him. 8 With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.’ And the people relied on the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.” (2 Chr. 32:1-8). In 701 B.C., King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded Judah. At the time, Assyria was the most powerful nation in the Middle East. Before this invasion, Judah witnessed the power of Assyria as it destroyed its bigger neighbor of Northern Israel (2 Kgs. 18:9-12). During the seventh year of King Hoshea’s reign, King Shalmaneser of Assyria besieged Northern Israel. By the ninth year of Hoshea’s reign and the sixth year of Hezekiah’s reign, Northern Israel fell, and the Assyrians sent most of its population into exile (2 Kgs. 17:5-6; 2 Kgs. 18:10). Northern Israel was more numerous with 10 tribes. Northern Israel was also more battle tested with multiple prior conflicts with the Assyrians. Hezekiah prepared the city for a siege (2 Chr. 32:3-8). He then sought to encourage the Jews not to be afraid because God was with them. Inspired by his faith, many put their trust in God to save them (2 Chr. 32:6-8).
God used Hezekiah’s faith-led obedience to stop the Assyrian advance at Jerusalem1
A faith that is never tested cannot be trusted. God’s prophets made it clear that Northern Israel was sent into exile because of its repeated disobedience and its refusal to listen to God when He sent prophets or judgments (2 Kgs. 18:12; 1 Kgs. 9:6-7; Dt. 8:19-20; 31:20; Josh. 23:16). But many in Judah would have blamed Hezekiah for their predicament. The Assyrians invaded Judah only after Hezekiah began withholding tribute and attacked Assyria’s vassal state of Gaza: “And the Lord was with him; wherever he went he prospered. And he rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. He defeated the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city.” (2 Kgs. 18:7-8). This invasion also happened after Hezekiah led Judah to destroy its many pagan idols (2 Kgs. 18:3-4). Thus, this was a test of the faith. Would the Jews trust God without their false idols? The Bible is clear God will never “tempt” His people (Jam. 1:13). But He will “test” your faith (Jer. 17:10; 20:12). His tests are designed to build up your faith. After the Jews had escaped from Egypt, Moses explained that God frequently tests His people: “for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.” (Ex. 20:20(b); Dt. 8:2). David also warned that even the righteous are not beyond God’s testing: “The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked . . .” (Ps. 11:5). “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, . . .” (Jer. 17:10). God’s testing and discipline are done out of love (Heb. 12:6). When you are tested, you may find that your heart has hidden anger, lust, or covetousness. When God exposes wickedness, He expects you to repent of it: “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). David invited God’s testing to show him where he needed to change (Ps. 139:23). God used these trials to prepare Hezekiah and turn his heart fully to Him.
When you are tested, never fear that God will abandon you. In their moment of darkness, Hezekiah encouraged the Jews and proclaimed: “7 ‘Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him.” (2 Chr. 32:7). The Jews ultimately relied upon these words of encouragement (2 Chr. 32:8). The Lord is the only thing that you are to fear (Prov. 1:7). You fear Him when you hate evil (Prov. 8:13), something the Jews of Northern Israel failed to do. With God’s power, the size of an enemy army was never a factor in the Jews’ prior victories. Indeed, God always used a smaller Jewish army to defeat their enemies so that He would receive the glory. When God wanted to reduce the size of Gideon’s army, the first thing He did was to dismiss every soldier who felt afraid (Jdgs. 7:3). God did not want any person fighting in His army who feared the enemy. Such a person had no trust in Him: “When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you.” (Dt. 20:1). “He shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, you are approaching the battle against your enemies today. Do not be fainthearted. Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’” (Dt. 20:3-4). If you fear anything other than God, your faith is lacking. Although David was the smallest man in his family, he feared no evil or any enemy because he had faith that God was fighting for him. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?. . . Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war arises against me, in spite of this I shall be confident.” (Ps. 27:1-3). “I fear no evil, for you are with me.” (Ps. 23:4). “How blessed in the man that fears the Lord . . . He will not fear evil tidings” (Ps. 112:7). “Say to the anxious heart, ‘take courage, fear not.” (Is. 34:4). Is there any person, thing, or enemy that you fear? If so, Satan may use that fear to ensnare you and cause your faith in Jesus to falter. Without faith, you are of no use in God’s army. It will also be “impossible” to please Him (Heb. 11:6). Believers will also do foolish things when they let their fears control them. This includes fleeing from an enemy: “The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.” (Prov. 29:25). “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do.” (Lk. 12:4). Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5). “casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Pet. 5:7). When you feel fear, ask Jesus for His strength and courage.
Consider it a joy when God tests you. Your trials should produce perseverance and endurance: “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;” (Ro. 5:3). “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” (Jam. 1:2-3). Paul endured a similar trial when he faced death in Asia. He advised that God put him through trials so that he would rely upon Him and not his own strength: “8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; 9 indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; . . . He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us,” (2 Cor. 1:8-10). If He never tested you, you would go into spiritual warfare never knowing if you were ready. It would be like sending an army into battle without any training. Or, it would be like sending a passenger plane into the sky with passengers, yet without ever having tested either the plane or the pilot first. Your faith would be untrustworthy. By testing you, He seeks to build and perfect your faith. Are you inviting God to test to both show your weaknesses and to build up your faith?
Depend upon Jesus as your only savior. Throughout the Jews’ history, God had repeatedly delivered them. He was their only deliverer: “I, even I, am the LORD, and there is no savior besides Me.” (Is. 43:11). “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me.”’ (Is. 44:6). “Do not tremble and do not be afraid; have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, or is there any other Rock? I know of none.” (Is. 44:8). “Yet I have been the LORD your God since the land of Egypt; and you were not to know any god except Me, for there is no savior besides Me.” (Hos. 13:4). Jesus is also your only savior (1 Jo. 4:14; Lk. 2:11; Jo. 3:16). He also wants you to depend upon Him alone to deliver you.
God molds your faith with similar trials. Just as God molded the Jews through the threats of the Assyrians, God also molds your faith through trials in the world: “But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, from Egypt, to be a people for His own possession, as today.” (Dt. 4:20). “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” (Is. 48:10). Are you letting God mold you?
Sennacherib’s servants mock Hezekiah’s trust in God. The Assyrians demanded the Jews’ complete surrender and claimed that Hezekiah had left them defenseless without their idols: “9 After this Sennacherib king of Assyria sent his servants to Jerusalem while he was besieging Lachish with all his forces with him, against Hezekiah king of Judah and against all Judah who were at Jerusalem, saying, 10 ‘Thus says Sennacherib king of Assyria, ‘On what are you trusting that you are remaining in Jerusalem under siege? 11 Is not Hezekiah misleading you to give yourselves over to die by hunger and by thirst, saying, ‘The Lord our God will deliver us from the hand of the king of Assyria’? 12 Has not the same Hezekiah taken away His high places and His altars, and said to Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before one altar, and on it you shall burn incense’? 13 Do you not know what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of the lands? Were the gods of the nations of the lands able at all to deliver their land from my hand? 14 Who was there among all the gods of those nations which my fathers utterly destroyed who could deliver his people out of my hand, that your God should be able to deliver you from my hand? 15 Now therefore, do not let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you like this, and do not believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people from my hand or from the hand of my fathers. How much less will your God deliver you from my hand?’’” (2 Chr. 32:9-15). King Sennacherib conquered 46 of Judah’s fortified cities (2 Chr. 32:9). This is confirmed in Assyrian records. Only Jerusalem remained. King Sennacherib was so confident in his victory that he went home and sent his servants to give Hezekiah his ultimatum. God, however, previously warned that the Assyrians would enter Judah and reach up to its “neck”, a likely reference to Jerusalem: “Then it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass through, it will reach even to the neck; and the spread of its wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.” (Is. 8:10). Sennacherib’s spokesperson taunted that no power could save them. The Assyrians were using psychological warfare to bring down the Jews’ morale.
King Sennacherib’s servant taunts the Jews at Jerusalem2
The Assyrians’ threats at the conduit of the upper pool. The Assyrians left from their base at the captured city of Lachish to threaten Hezekiah (2 Chr. 32:9). According to the book of Kings, this confrontation took place at the “conduit upper pool” on the road between Jerusalem and Samaria (2 Kgs. 18:17). God orchestrated this meeting spot to send a message. The Assyrians were showing that they could stop Jerusalem’s water source and bring the people to its knees. Yet, at this exact same spot, the prophet Isaiah warned the wayward King of Judah Ahaz not to trust in foreign powers. Ahaz, however, was evil and would not listen to God’s Word (Is. 7:3). Hezekiah sent three men to meet with the Assyrians. These included Eliakim, his palace administrator, Shebna, his scribe and Asaph, a recorder or intermediary between the king and the people (2 Kgs. 18:18; 2 Sam. 8:16). Isaiah later recorded added details of this same encounter, which suggests that he was either present or intimately involved: “Then Rabshakeh said to them, ‘Say now to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria, ‘What is this confidence that you have? I say, ‘Your counsel and strength for the war are only empty words.’ Now on whom do you rely, that you have rebelled against me? Behold, you rely on the staff of this crushed reed, even on Egypt, on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who rely on him.”’’ (Is. 36:4-6) In all the accounts, the Assyrians belittled Hezekiah by refusing to call him a king. This was calculated to scare the Jews into thinking that he would not be king for long. Ironically, Isaiah had given the Jews the same advice. Their former captors in Egypt could not save them (Isa. 19:11-17; 20:1-6; 30:1-7; 31:1-3). Yet, some placed their false hope in Egypt.
The Assyrians taunted Judah for listening to Hezekiah and smashing their pagan altars. The Assyrians sought to create fear by causing the Jews to question Hezekiah’s acts of obedience in smashing their pagan altars. According to the book of Kings, they also tried to manipulate God’s prophecies by claiming that their conquest was part of God’s will: “22 But if you say to me, ‘We trust in the Lord our God,’ is it not He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, and has said to Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem’? 23 Now therefore, come, make a bargain with my master the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them. 24 How then can you repulse one official of the least of my master’s servants, and rely on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? 25 Have I now come up without the Lord’s approval against this place to destroy it? The Lord said to me, ‘Go up against this land and destroy it.’” (2 Kgs. 18:22-25). Acting under Satan’s influence, the Assyrian representative named Rab-shakeh tried to convince the Jews that they had eroded their opportunities to worship Yahweh by destroying the pagan altars and centralizing all worship in the Temple (2 Kgs. 18:3-4, 22; 2 Chr. 31:1). According to the book of Kings, he further taunted the Jews by offering to give them 2,000 horses if the Jews could find enough able bodied men to ride them (2 Kgs. 18:23). Isaiah also records this insult (Is. 36:8-9). From the Assyrians’ taunts, we can infer that the Jews did not have 2,000 fighting men left in Jerusalem. Rab-shakeh then sought to manipulate Isaiah’s prophecies by alleging that Yahweh had sent the Assyrians to destroy the Jews (2 Kgs. 18:24). His taunt is also recorded in Isaiah 36:10. He wanted to demoralize the Jews and have them give up without a fight. That is what Satan wants to do to you as well. He wants you to give into him without a fight.
The Assyrians manipulated God’s prophecies of judgment against Northern Israel. Through their spies, the Assyrians knew of Isaiah’s prophecies that God would use them to judge Northern Israel: “The LORD will bring on you, on your people, and on your father’s house such days as have never come since the day that Ephraim separated from Judah, the king of Assyria . . . In that day the Lord will shave with a razor, hired from regions beyond the Euphrates (that is, with the king of Assyria), the head and the hair of the legs; and it will also remove the beard.” (Is. 7:17, 20). “Now therefore, behold, the Lord is about to bring on them the strong and abundant waters of the Euphrates, even the king of Assyria and all his glory; and it will rise up over all its channels and go over all its banks.” (Is. 8:7). But these prophecies were not directed against Judah. Moreover, Isaiah also warned that Assyria would also regret its actions, even though God would use it as the rod of His judgment against the apostate state of Northern Israel: “Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger and the staff in whose hands is My indignation,” (Is. 10:5).
Satan uses deceit and lies to manipulate God’s Word. Lies and deceit are Satan’s tools to turn people away from God (Dt. 11:16; 30:17). “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. . . Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (Jo. 8:44). Unless you know God’s Word, Satan will try to twist it or manipulate it to cause you to disobey God.
Be patient for God’s timing in times of affliction. From his many trials, David learned to patiently wait on God’s timing: “A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.” (Ps. 40:1). “Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the LORD.” (Ps. 27:14; 25:3, 21). Even in the face of trials, Paul also encourages believers that your faith should include “rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,” (Ro. 12:12). Are you willing to wait patiently for God to act in His timing, even when things feel hopeless?
Trust in God’s timing, even when all appears lost. To many, things would have seemed hopeless. Yet, God wants you to place your trust in His timing, even when it might appear foolish to do so. “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor. 1:18; 2:14). You must trust Him even if the reason for His test or His calling does not seem clear at the time: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” (Prov. 3:5-7; 28:26; Ps. 62:8). “Trust in the LORD forever, for in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.” (Is. 26:4). When you are tested, you also never need to wonder what to do. You have God’s Word and His Holy Spirit to guide your every step and your every decision (Jo. 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7, 13; Ps. 119:105). When you feel uncertain or things seem hopeless, do you read the Word and pray for the Spirit to both encourage and guide you?
Sennacherib’s servants mock God’s power. The Assyrians then blasphemed God by questioning power and compared Him to the pagan idols of their defeated enemies: “16 His servants spoke further against the Lord God and against His servant Hezekiah. 17 He also wrote letters to insult the Lord God of Israel, and to speak against Him, saying, ‘As the gods of the nations of the lands have not delivered their people from my hand, so the God of Hezekiah will not deliver His people from my hand.’ 18 They called this out with a loud voice in the language of Judah to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, to frighten and terrify them, so that they might take the city. 19 They spoke of the God of Jerusalem as of the gods of the peoples of the earth, the work of men’s hands.” (2 Chr. 32:16-19). An Assyrian servant named Rab-shakeh falsely told the Jews that they could not trust God to deliver them (2 Kgs. 18:30-32). Both Isaiah and 2 Chronicles record Rab-shakeh’s blasphemous and arrogant claims against Yahweh (Is. 36:18; 2 Chr. 32:15). Rab-shakeh then pointed out that none of the other pagan gods had been able to stop the Assyrians (2 Kgs. 18:34). If the pagan gods could not stop the Assyrians, Rab-shakeh arrogantly proclaimed that Yahweh could not stop them either: “Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their land from my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?”’ (2 Kgs. 18:35). Sennacherib believed that he was unstoppable because he defeated every other pagan idol and king that he faced in the areas of modern day Iraq and Syria (2 Kgs. 19:11-13). But his pride led to his downfall (Prov. 16:18). God gave the Jews the strength and courage to face their arrogant enemy.
Sennacherib’s servants mocked God and boasted that He could not stop him3
God’s power does not compare to the idols of the world. Moses also once faced a Pharaoh with a similar arrogance and disdain for Yahweh. Moses advised that he would live to see Yahweh’s power: “Then he said, ‘Tomorrow.’ So he said, ‘May it be according to your word, that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God.”’ (Ex. 8:10). Approximately 80 years later, Moses told the Jews that God allowed them to witness His many miracles in the wilderness so that they would know that He is unique and unlike any other: “To you it was shown that you might know that the LORD, He is God; there is no other besides Him.” (Dt. 4:35). David also proclaimed God’s unique power: “For this reason You are great, O Lord GOD; for there is none like You, and there is no God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears.” (2 Sam. 7:22). Isaiah also counseled the people who lived in Hezekiah’s time that God was not like an idol: “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me.”’ (Is. 44:6). “Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You,” (Jer. 32:17). With faith in God, He can empower you with His amazing strength (Matt. 19:26; Mk. 10:27).
God’s true power was known to the Assyrians who blasphemed His name. The Assyrians knew better than to compare Yahweh with the pagan idols of the world. God’s many miracles were known throughout the pagan world. For example, Rahab once confessed: “For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.” (Josh. 2:10). Sennacherib’s pride, however, had blinded him to God’s true power. Because the Jews showed faith, God gave them the strength and courage to ignore the Assyrians’ taunts.
God gave the Assyrians one last chance to repent with a prophecy from Isaiah. To demonstrate His power, to show His faithfulness, and to humble the Assyrians, God had Isaiah prophesied that He would save Jerusalem: “Like flying birds so the LORD of hosts will protect Jerusalem. He will protect and deliver it; He will pass over and rescue it.” (Is. 31:5). “For I will defend this city to save it for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.’” (Is. 37:35). “I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city.” (Is. 38:6). And He would soon fulfill His promises. He would destroy the entire Assyrian army through a miracle. (2 Kgs. 19:34; 2 Chr. 32:22). Hearing God’s Word, the Jews grew in their faith and trust in God (Ro. 10:17).
Non-believers are without excuse when they deny God’s existence and power. Through Isaiah, God responded to the Assyrians’ boast regarding their power by reminding them that He parted the Red Sea to destroy the Pharaoh’s army (2 Kgs. 19:22-24). While they may have alleged that they were unaware of how Yahweh differed from pagan idols, Yahweh’s parting of the Red Sea was again well-known within the pagan world (e.g., Josh. 2:10). God’s fame in how he used a small shepherd boy named David to defeat the mighty Goliath was also well known in the ancient world: “This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel,” (1 Sam. 17:46). Like non-believers today, they were without excuse in denying God’s preeminence over every pagan idol: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (Ro. 1:20). No pagan idol could perform miracles. Thus, they had no excuse in mocking God.
Greater is He who is in you than the ruler of this world. At the time he threatened Hezekiah, King Sennacherib was the most powerful man in the world. He acted under Satan’s influence, the ruler of this world (Jo. 12:31; Eph. 2:2). Like Sennacherib, Satan was prideful and sought to rule over all (Is. 14:12-17). His power can seem scary at first. Yet, like Sennacherib, God has judged him for his pride and rebellion (Rev. 20:10). Thus, you also don’t need to fear Satan. “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 Jo. 4:4). “I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father.’ (1 Jo. 2:13).
When you put your faith in Jesus, you will have His strength and courage to face evil. Hezekiah later celebrated God who “made heaven and earth.” (2 Kgs. 19:15). With that kind of power, Hezekiah celebrated that he could depend upon God. David also placed his trust in the “the Rock of Israel”, who encouraged him: “My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, You save me from violence.” (2 Sam. 22:3; Ps. 18:2). “The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of my salvation,” (Ps. 18:46). “The LORD is their strength, and He is a saving defense to His anointed.” (Ps. 28:8). Paul reveals that “the rock was Christ.” (1 Cor. 10:4). He is our Rock and the power or horn of our salvation: “And has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of David His servant—” (Lk. 1:69). Like Hezekiah and David, Jesus wants you to call upon Him as your Rock of deliverance in times of trouble. When you step out in faith to serve Jesus, He can also give you the strength and courage to face evil: “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” (2 Tim. 1:7). “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13). “And looking at them Jesus said to them, ‘With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”’ (Matt. 19:26; Mk. 10:27; Lk. 18:27). If you are under attack, seek Jesus’ strength to confront it.
When you have faith, you never need to fear evil people. You are not to fear people like the Assyrians. Believers will do foolish things when they let their fear of other people control their actions: “The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.” (Prov. 29:25). “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do.” (Lk. 12:4). The only person that you are to fear is God (Prov. 1:7). And the fear of the Lord is hating evil (Prov. 8:12). “The fear of man brings a snare. But he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.” (Prov. 29:25). “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5). “casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Pet. 5:7). The last time you felt fear, had you taken your eyes off Jesus?
God answers Hezekiah and Isaiah’s prayer. Faced with the destruction of all of Judah, Hezekiah and Isaiah showed their faith by seeking God’s guidance and protection through their prayers. God answered their prayers and delivered the Jews: “20 But King Hezekiah and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, prayed about this and cried out to heaven. 21 And the Lord sent an angel who destroyed every mighty warrior, commander and officer in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned in shame to his own land. And when he had entered the temple of his god, some of his own children killed him there with the sword. 22 So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria and from the hand of all others, and guided them on every side. 23 And many were bringing gifts to the Lord at Jerusalem and choice presents to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations thereafter.” (2 Chr. 32:20-23). A man without faith might have either surrendered or sent his people to their death against the Assyrian army. But Hezekiah was unlike any king since David. According to the book of Kings, he tore his clothes as a sign of morning. He covered himself in sackcloth as a sign of repentance and humility. He then went to the Temple courtyard to pray for God’s deliverance (2 Kgs. 19:1; 2 Chr. 32:20; Is. 37:1-2). He then sent his servant Eliakim to go to God’s prophet Isaiah for guidance (2 Kgs. 19:2-4; Is. 37:2-4). Although Isaiah had at this point served as God’s prophet for 40 years (including during the reigns of King Uzzah and King Azariah), Hezekiah was sadly the first king to either seek out or listen to God’s Word and His prophets.
Isaiah spoke God’s Word of encouragement to Hezekiah. In response to Hezekiah’s faith, God used Isaiah to give him His Word of encouragement. This included God’s promise that He would judge the King of Assyria: “5 So the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah. 6 Isaiah said to them, ‘Thus you shall say to your master, ‘Thus says the Lord, ‘Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. 7 Behold, I will put a spirit in him so that he will hear a rumor and return to his own land. And I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.’’’” (2 Kgs. 19:5-7). Through Isaiah, God promised that the Jews did not need to fear the blasphemous King Sennacherib of Assyria (2 Kgs. 19:6). God promised to cause King Sennacherib to hear rumors and return to Nineveh where his own people would betray him and kill him (2 Kgs. 19:7). God later showed His faithfulness by fulfilling His promises when King Sennacherib’s sons killed him (2 Kgs. 19:35-37).
Isaiah’s prophecy of judgment against the Assyrians. In response to Hezekiah’s faith and Sennacherib’s apostasy, Isaiah also prophesied God’s judgment upon the Assyrian army: “20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Because you have prayed to Me about Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard you.’ 21 This is the word that the Lord has spoken against him: ‘She has despised you and mocked you, the virgin daughter of Zion; she has shaken her head behind you, the daughter of Jerusalem! 22 ‘Whom have you reproached and blasphemed? And against whom have you raised your voice, and haughtily lifted up your eyes? Against the Holy One of Israel! 23 ‘Through your messengers you have reproached the Lord, and you have said, ‘With my many chariots I came up to the heights of the mountains, to the remotest parts of Lebanon; and I cut down its tall cedars and its choice cypresses. And I entered its farthest lodging place, its thickest forest. 24 I dug wells and drank foreign waters, and with the sole of my feet I dried up all the rivers of Egypt. 25 Have you not heard? Long ago I did it; from ancient times I planned it. Now I have brought it to pass, that you should turn fortified cities into ruinous heaps. 26 Therefore their inhabitants were short of strength, they were dismayed and put to shame; they were as the vegetation of the field and as the green herb, as grass on the housetops is scorched before it is grown up. 27 But I know your sitting down, and your going out and your coming in, and your raging against Me. 28 Because of your raging against Me, and because your arrogance has come up to My ears, therefore I will put My hook in your nose, and My bridle in your lips, and I will turn you back by the way which you came.”’ (2 Kgs. 19:20-28; Is. 37:22-29). Isaiah prophesied about the “daughter of Zion” (2 Kgs. 19:21). This term is frequently used in reference to Jerusalem (Jer. 4:31; Zeph. 3:14; Zech. 2:10). God would judge them the way that they had judged the Jews of Northern Israel (2 Kgs. 19:28).
God’s judgment on the Assyrians and King Sennacherib. Although God allowed Assyria to be the rod of His judgment against the Jews of Northern Israel, He judged them for their blaspheme: “Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger and the staff in whose hands is My indignation,” (Is. 10:5). God then fulfilled His promises of judgment by killing 185,000 Assyrian soldiers before they could even begin a siege. He also fulfilled His promise to judge King Sennacherib (2 Chr. 32:21-22; 2 Kgs. 19:35-37; Is. 37:36-38). On various occasions, God sent the “angel of the Lord” as the instrument of His judgment (Gen. 19:15; Ex. 3:2; 2 Sam. 24:16). In order to allow King Sennacherib to know that God judged him, He allowed King Sennacherib to survive the initial judgment upon his mighty army. He then returned to Nineveh (2 Kgs. 19:36). Approximately 20 years later, God fulfilled His prophecy when his own family betrayed. His sons Adrammelech and Sharezer murdered him. His third son, Esar-haddon, (681-668 B.C.) then succeeded him (2 Kgs. 19:37). This account shows that God’s power should never be mocked.
God also acted so that His people would have faith in His promises. God promised ‘“For I will defend this city to save it for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.’” (2 Kgs. 19:34). Even though approximately 300 years had passed since God made a covenant with David, He promised that He would keep His word to David that his descendants would forever rule over his throne (2 Sam. 7:16; Ezek. 36:22-23; Isa. 9:6-7; 11:1; 55:3). Through David, God also promised that He would bless and restore any king who ruled righteously: “The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me, ‘He who rules over men righteously, who rules in the fear of God, is as the light of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds, when the tender grass springs out of the earth, through sunshine after rain.’ Truly is not my house so with God? For He has made an everlasting covenant with me, ordered in all things, and secured; for all my salvation and all my desire, will He not indeed make it grow?” (2 Sam. 23:3-5). Because Hezekiah reigned in righteousness, he could trust in God’s promises to bless him.
The effective fervent prayer of the righteous can accomplish great things. Through Isaiah, God made clear that He would move against the Assyrians in part because Hezekiah prayed for His intervention: “20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Because you have prayed to Me about Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard you.”’ (2 Kgs. 19:20). God acted upon Hezekiah’s prayers because he first repented. He then prayed fervently and in faith: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (Ja. 5:16). In a similar way, God heard Elijah’s prayers to both stop and later restart the rain in Israel: “17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.” (Ja. 5:17-18). God also wants you to pray fervently to Him to intervene when you or others need deliverance.
The angel of the Lord comes to deliver God’s judgment4
The angel of the Lord kills 185,000 Assyrian soldiers5
Cry out to God when you need deliverance. When you are in need of deliverance, cry out to God. “O LORD, how my adversaries have increased! Many are rising up against me. Many are saying of my soul, ‘There is no deliverance for him in God.’ Selah. But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head. I was crying to the LORD with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah. I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustains me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me round about.” (Ps. 3:1-6; 25:2).
Plea as an intercessor for God to help others. God honored Hezekiah’s prayers as an intercessor. His faith and trust in God made him unlike any king since David: “He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel; so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among those who were before him.” (2 Kgs. 18:5). Another man of great faith, Abraham, also used his faith to plead with God as an intercessor to spare the innocent in Sodom and Gomorra (Gen. 18:23). God spared the Jewish nation in response to Moses’ faithful prayers after they made the golden calf (Ex. 32:11-14). He again spared the Jews in response to Moses’ prayers after they rebelled at the edge of the Promised Land (Nu. 14:18-22). God again spared the Jews in response to the prayers of Moses and Aaron after Korah, 250 men of renown, and then the 14,700 rebelled (Nu. 16:21-24). As an intercessor, Samuel promised to continue to pray for the people’s sins (1 Sam. 12:23). David also prayed as an intercessor for God to spare the Jews after 70,000 men across all of Israel died in a plague that came about because of David’s sins (2 Sam. 24:17). Elijah also cried out to God in faith for God to raise a widow’s son from the dead (1 Kgs. 17:21-22.) Jonah also made a plea as an intercessor when his disobedience caused the men in his boat to suffer (Jo. 1:12). The apostles also continually prayed for others (2 Tim. 1:3; Col. 1:9; Eph. 1:16; 1 Thess. 3:10). You are part of Jesus’ holy priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6). As His appointed priest, you too have the power of intercessory prayer. Yet, it doesn’t work if you lack faith (Jam. 1:6). Are you praying as an intercessor for those whose faith has failed them?
When you let the Spirit guide you, your enemy will also flee from you. When you walk in Spirit-led obedience, God promises to instill fear into your enemy and cause them to flee from you: “One of your men puts to flight a thousand, for the LORD your God is He who fights for you, just as He promised you.” (Josh. 23:10). “The LORD shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways.” (Dt. 28:7). ‘“But you will chase your enemies and they will fall before you by the sword; five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall before you by the sword.’” (Lev. 26:7-8). When you take refuge in God, He also promises to be a shield to the evil attacks of the enemy: “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” (Prov. 30:5; 2 Sam. 22:31). With His help, Jonathon killed 20 Philistines (1 Sam. 14:12). His power also allowed David to kill Goliath (1 Sam. 17:50-58). He does not want you to fear any enemy (Ro. 8:15). Are you walking in faith and obedience so that He can act on your behalf to cause your enemies to flee?
Hezekiah cried out to God when faced with a mortal illness. In one of his many tests of faith, Isaiah revealed to Hezekiah that he would soon die from an illness. Hezekiah showed both his faith and his knowledge of God’s Word by praying in faith for one of the blessings that God promised for those who act with faith-led obedience. “24 In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill; and he prayed to the Lord, and the Lord spoke to him and gave him a sign. 25 But Hezekiah gave no return for the benefit he received, because his heart was proud; therefore wrath came on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. 26 However, Hezekiah humbled the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come on them in the days of Hezekiah.” (2 Chr. 32:24-26). The book of Kings adds detail to this account: “1 In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.’’ 2 Then he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, saying, 3 ‘Remember now, O Lord, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart and have done what is good in Your sight.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly.” (2 Kgs. 20:1-3; Is. 38:1). These events are told out of chronological order for thematic reasons around the middle of Hezekiah’s reign. We know this because God promised to defend Jerusalem later on in this chapter: “I will defend this city. . .” (2 Kgs. 20:6). Based upon the length of his reign, Isaiah confronted Hezekiah with God’s testing approximately 12 years before King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded and approximately 15 years before Hezekiah died (Isa. 38:1-22). Based on the ages given in two separate verses, he was only 39 years old when Isaiah told him to prepare for his death (2 Kgs. 18:2; 20:6). This was a test of faith that God knew in advance that Hezekiah would pass. Hezekiah cried out to God and placed his trust in God to be healed. Hezekiah did not want to die. Because Manasseh was only 12 when he became king (2 Kgs. 21:1), this means that Judah would have died without an heir if God had not extended Hezekiah’s life by 15 years. God’s answer to Hezekiah’s prayers reaffirmed His conditional promise to Solomon that a faithful king would never lack an heir to the throne (1 Kgs. 9:5-9).
Hezekiah called out for God to heal him of his terminal illness6
God can restore the health of a faithful believer. Hezekiah called out in faith by reciting God’s promises. He had lived in a faith-led obedience that was unlike any king since David: “Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah; and he did what was good, right and true before the LORD his God.” (2 Chr. 31:20). Through Moses, God promised to pour out His blessings on those who live in faith-led obedience (Dt. 28:1-2). This can include His promise to withhold diseases and poor health: “And He said, ‘If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer.’” (Ex. 15:26; Dt. 7:15). ‘“See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; it is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, and there is no one who can deliver from My hand.”’ (Dt. 32:39). “ . . . the LORD binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted.” (Is. 30:26). “For He inflicts pain, and gives relief; He wounds, and His hands also heal.” (Job 5:8). “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Ps. 147:3). “He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” (Ps. 107:20). You cannot earn God’s blessings. Yet, God is faithful to bless those who live with faith-led obedience.
God also blessed Hezekiah by extending his life. In addition to healing Hezekiah, God added 15 years to his life: “Go and say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of your father David, ‘I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will add fifteen years to your life.”’’ (Is. 38:5). If you need to be rejuvenated, turn to Jesus: “Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” (Is. 40:31).
All things are possible with God when you have faith. Hezekiah also had faith because he knew that God can do all things: “Is anything too difficult for the LORD?” (Gen. 18:14(a)). “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?” (Jer. 32:27). “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2). “‘With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”’ (Matt. 19:26(b); Mk. 10:27(b); Lk. 1:37). “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Ro. 8:31). God also wants you to turn to Him in faith when your health issues seem impossible. His miracles happen every day.
You cannot earn God’s healing through your works. By Jesus’ stripes you can also be healed from any infirmity: “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” (Is. 53:5; 1 Pet. 2:24). He is so powerful that He healed a leper merely with His touch or His command: “Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” (Matt. 8:3). Although your faith-led obedience can bring His blessing of healing, you cannot earn His healings through your works. This would undermine Jesus’ sacrifice. God illustrated this principle in the Old Testament through His healing of the Syrian leper Naaman. Naaman wanted to earn his healing through a dramatic test of his strength in the raging mountainous rivers in Syria. He did not want to dunk himself seven times in the calm Jordan River (2 Kgs. 5:9-12). God never wants you to serve Him with the wrong motives. But He also wants you to know that His offer to bless and restore your health is real. Serve Him in obedience and let Him bless you.
Cry out to God when you need deliverance from an illness or disease. Some think that a true person of faith should stoically accept bad news. Yet, Hezekiah showed that he was a man of faith because he cried out to God. David also cried out for God when he needed healing: “O LORD my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me.” (Ps. 30:2). “Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am pining away; Heal me, O LORD, for my bones are dismayed.” (Ps. 6:2). “As for me, I said, ‘O LORD, be gracious to me; heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.”’ (Ps. 41:4). Moses also cried out for God to heal his sister Miriam from her leprosy: “Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, ‘O God, heal her, I pray!”’ (Nu. 12:13). Have you cried out to God if you need healing?
God blesses Hezekiah with riches and honor. Because he was faithful and obedient, God honored Hezekiah with both riches and honor: “27 Now Hezekiah had immense riches and honor; and he made for himself treasuries for silver, gold, precious stones, spices, shields and all kinds of valuable articles, 28 storehouses also for the produce of grain, wine and oil, pens for all kinds of cattle and sheepfolds for the flocks. 29 He made cities for himself and acquired flocks and herds in abundance, for God had given him very great wealth. 30 It was Hezekiah who stopped the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all that he did.” (2 Chr. 32:24-30). In the beginning of his reign, God celebrated his faith-led obedience (2 Kgs. 18:3-5). At the end of his reign, God again celebrated his obedience in building a water conduit system that protected the Jews during Assyria’s assault (2 Kgs. 20:20). In 1880, archeologists confirmed that Hezekiah built a 1,708-foot-long tunnel between the spring of Gihon and the pool of Siloam (2 Chr. 32:30).
God blessed Hezekiah financially for his obedience. Whenever Hezekiah acted in Spirit-led obedience, God was faithful to keep His promises to bless Hezekiah and all of Judah: “7 And the Lord was with him; wherever he went he prospered. . .” (2 Kgs. 18:7). Because he did not seek money for his own glory, these included financial blessings.
God blessed Hezekiah with honor because he walked in humility before God. God also blessed Hezekiah with honor and respect. Like Hezekiah, God wants to exalt and honor you. Yet, you must also walk in humble service to God and not the needs of your own flesh: “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matt. 23:12; Lk. 14:11; 18:14). “A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.” (Prov. 29:23). “‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”’ (Jam. 4:6(b)). Do you walk with humility by serving God and His people? If so, He will exalt you either on Earth or in heaven.
Where God guides, He provides. When the Jews had the faith to let God guide them, He always provided for their physical needs (Dt. 29:5-6; 8:3-4; Ex. 16:31; Lk. 4:4; 1 Cor. 10:3). If you seek to do Jesus’ will, He will also provide for your needs: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33). If you are lacking in anything, are you seeking after His kingdom?
God can also exalt someone who acts in faith-led obedience and humility. God can also exalt an obedient person above others within his or her country and nation. “3 Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.” (Dt. 28:3). This requires faith and humility: “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (Jam. 4:10). Joseph’s faith even as a slave caused him to be obedient. As a result, God’s blessed Joseph and the entire Egyptian household that he managed (Gen. 39:5). Joseph showed that he was faithful and obedient in the face of the temptations of Potiphar’s wife. He was again faithful and obedient to God, even when he was thrown in jail on false charges and then forgotten. Because he showed that he was obedient and faithful in small things, God blessed him by elevating him to have power second only to Pharaoh (Gen. 41:40-41). Show that God can trust you with small things so that He can trust you with larger things. Are you humble and obedient in following God’s will?
God spared Hezekiah for his pride in showing the Temple gold to the Babylonians. Finally, because of his faith, God blessed Hezekiah with mercy by withholding judgment on him when he sinned and grace by giving him honors that he did not deserve: “31 Even in the matter of the envoys of the rulers of Babylon, who sent to him to inquire of the wonder that had happened in the land, God left him alone only to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart. 32 Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah and his deeds of devotion, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 33 So Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the upper section of the tombs of the sons of David; and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem honored him at his death. And his son Manasseh became king in his place.” (2 Chr. 32:31-33). God spared Hezekiah for his pride in showing gold to representatives from Babylon. He later received an honorary burial in the sepulchers where David was buried (2 Chr. 32:33). Thus, God blessed him with mercy and grace.
Hezekiah’s sins in seeking the Babylonian’s help against Assyria. Hezekiah’s full sins are expunged in the book of Chronicles. The book of Kings reveals the extent of the mercy and grace that Hezekiah received. At one point, Hezekiah’s faith faltered. Instead of fully trusting in God, Hezekiah sought out the King of Babylon to build a worldly alliance against Assyria. At that time, Berodach-baladan (a.k.a., Merodach-baladan (Is. 39:1-2)) was the ruler of Babylon. Before the Jews defeated Assyria, Babylonian envoys came to Judah to discuss an alliance against King Sargon of Assyria. Hezekiah showed with pride all of God’s treasures without giving any credit to God: “12 At that time Berodach-baladan a son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that Hezekiah had been sick. 13 Hezekiah listened to them, and showed them all his treasure house, the silver and the gold and the spices and the precious oil and the house of his armor and all that was found in his treasuries. There was nothing in his house nor in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them.” (2 Kgs. 20:12-13). Not long after boasting of these treasures, Hezekiah gave these treasures to the Assyrians in an effort to appease them: “15 Hezekiah gave him all the silver which was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasuries of the king’s house. 16 At that time Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the doorposts which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.” (2 Kgs. 18:15). His efforts to appease the Assyrians only made
Judah poorer. His prideful efforts to entice the Babylonians made Judah their future target for conquest. In short, Hezekiah’s sins had terrible consequences for all of Judah.
Hezekiah showed Judah’s treasures to emissaries of King Berodach-baladan of Babylon7
Isaiah prophesied that the Babylonians would steal all that Hezekiah showed them. Because of Hezekiah’s sins and because he failed to repent, Isaiah warned that the Babylonians would one day return and seize the remaining gold inside of Judah: “16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Hear the word of the Lord. 17 ‘Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and all that your fathers have laid up in store to this day will be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,’ says the Lord. 18 ‘Some of your sons who shall issue from you, whom you will beget, will be taken away; and they will become officials in the palace of the king of Babylon.’’’ 19 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good.’ For he thought, ‘Is it not so, if there will be peace and truth in my days?’” (2 Kgs. 20:16-19). Isaiah prophesied that the Babylonians would both take the Jews into captivity, and they would seize the remaining hidden treasures of Judah. Hezekiah again failed to repent. Instead, he appeared self-centered and gave thanks that the judgment would not happen immediately or to him. Thus, God showed tremendous mercy and grace in sparring Hezekiah.
With faith in Jesus, He will also forgive and forget your sins. The book of Chronicles gives only passing reference to these sins because God had forgiven Hezekiah and expunged these sins. When you have faith in Jesus, He will also bless you with His mercy and grace. The prophet Isaiah, who recorded Judah’s deliverance, revealed that God can also forgive and forget your sins: “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.” (Is. 43:25). This promise is repeated in the New Testament (Heb. 8:12). Have you given thanks for Jesus’ mercy and grace in forgiving and forgetting your sins?
God judges those who reject His mercy and grace. God’s judgment upon the Jews of Northern Israel and then the Assyrians also show that He must ultimately judge those who reject His mercy and grace. Judgment will begin with His people. It will then reach all nonbelievers as well. “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Pet. 4:17). “For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” (2 Thess. 1:6-8). The prospect of judgment should cause all believers to warn non-believers to repent and put their faith in Jesus to deliver them. How are you fulfilling Jesus’ Great Commission? (Matt. 28:16-20).
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