Introduction: This chapter tells of one of the many great miracles of the Bible. The mighty Assyrian army had destroyed the 10 tribes of Northern Israel. It then invaded and took all of Judah’s fortified cities. Only Jerusalem remained. But King 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. The angel of the Lord wiped out 185,000 Assyrian soldiers and saved Jerusalem. From Hezekiah’s faithful example, God reveals seven things that He offers to all faithful believers. These include: (1) guidance, (2) encouragement, (3) protection, (4) deliverance, (5) answered prayers, (6) restoration, and (7) forgiveness.
First, Hezekiah faced what looked like certain defeat. Yet, he showed his faith by seeking God’s guidance through his prayers. God later blessed all of Judah because of his faithful example. From Hezekiah’s example, God reveals that He wants to also guide you when you seek Him faithfully in prayer. Second, through Isaiah, God gave Hezekiah His Word of encouragement. God also offers to encourage you when you seek Him. Third, King Sennacherib of Assyria boasted that God could not stop him. Satan also tries to scare you with his empty threats to destroy you. When you walk with God, He offers to protect you from the evil one’s attacks. Fourth, in response to Sennacherib’s blasphemous pride, Hezekiah prayed for God’s deliverance. God honored his prayers by defeating Sennacherib’s entire army. When you have faith, God also offers to deliver you in times of struggle. Fifth, in response to Hezekiah’s faith, Isaiah prophesied God’s judgment upon the Assyrian army. When you pray faithfully and fervently, God also offers to answer your prayers. Sixth, God also promised to restore Judah through a remnant that He would save. When you repent and seek Him, God also offers to restore you from sin’s destructive consequences. Finally, God forgive Judah for its sins. God also gave the King of Assyria 20 extra years after He defeated the Assyrian army to repent. From these examples, God reveals that He is long-suffering and can forgive even the worst of sinners.
Hezekiah seeks God’s guidance through prayer. Faced with the destruction of Judah, Hezekiah showed his faith by seeking God’s guidance and protection through his prayers: “1 And when King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth and entered the house of the Lord. 2 Then he sent Eliakim who was over the household with Shebna the scribe and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz. 3 They said to him, ‘Thus says Hezekiah, ‘This day is a day of distress, rebuke, and rejection; for children have come to birth and there is no strength to deliver. 4 Perhaps the Lord your God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to reproach the living God, and will rebuke the words which the Lord your God has heard. Therefore, offer a prayer for the remnant that is left.’’” (2 Kgs. 19:1-4). By the fourth year of his reign, Hezekiah witnessed the Assyrian army completely destroy the larger nation of Northern Israel with its 10 tribes (2 Kgs. 18:9). By the 14th year of his reign, he also witnessed the Assyrians capture all of Judah’s fortified cities (2 Kgs. 18:13; 2 Chron. 32:1; Is. 36:1). The Assyrians then taunted the Jews that no one, including Yahweh, could deliver them (2 Kgs. 18:19-37). 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. 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 the first king to either seek out or listen to God’s Word. From the book of Chronicles, we learn that Isaiah then also cried out in prayer (2 Chr. 32:20).
King Hezekiah humbled himself and cried out for God’s deliverance1
God puts you through trials so that you may turn to Him. 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). 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). God used these trials to prepare Hezekiah and turn his heart fully to Him. Are you turning to Jesus to build up your faith and deliver you during your trials?
Cry out to God when you need guidance. God’s Word is a lamp unto your path when you cry out in prayer for guidance “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Ps. 119:105). The Holy Spirit then applies God’s Word to guide you when you need help (Jo. 16:13). Like Hezekiah, David also cried out for God’s guidance when he risked losing his kingdom: “Perhaps the LORD will look on my affliction and return good to me instead of his cursing this day.” (2 Sam. 16:12). Like David and Hezekiah, God wants you to cry out to Him in faith when you are in need of deliverance: “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). If you feel that you are facing a hopeless situation, have you cried out to God for guidance?
Isaiah speaks 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).
Never fear your enemy when you do God’s will. Through Isaiah, God also encouraged Hezekiah not to fear his enemy: “‘Do not be afraid. . .” (2 Kgs. 19:6). Moses also encouraged the Jews not to fear their enemies: “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). “The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Dt. 31:8). If your faith is lacking, God calls upon you to build it up through reading the Word: “[F]aith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Ro. 10:17). The next time you fear, recite His promises: “Do not fear for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand . . . Do not fear, I will help you.” (Is. 41:10, 13). “For I know the plans I have for you . . . plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11). “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” (2 Tim. 1:7). Faith is like a muscle. It can atrophy if you don’t read the Word. Are you reading the Word and praying to build up your faith? Do you trust God in faith to fight your battles?
Persevere for God when you face a setback or defeat. Hezekiah sought out God’s Word when he felt defeated. He had lost all of the fortified cities of Judah. Only Jerusalem remained. Samuel also at one point felt defeated. He felt this way when his pupil Saul rebelled against God. God then encouraged Samuel (1 Sam. 16:1). Joshua also felt defeated after Moses died. Yet, God then encouraged Joshua to carry on and trust in Him to lead His people into the Promised Land (Josh. 1:2). Your faith in Jesus should also cause you to run the race and persevere in all your challenges: “Therefore, . . . let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith . . .” (Heb. 12:1-2). “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:14). “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;” (2 Tim. 4:7). The kind of perseverance is spiritual and not physical: “for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come (1 Tim. 4:8). Are you searching the Word and praying when you are feeling defeated? Has a failure or a setback caused you to give up?
Have faith that God will also protect you when you do His will. God promised to protect the Jews when they acted in faith-led obedience (Dt. 28:1-14). As led by the Holy Spirit, David also promised Solomon that obedience would ensure that their descendants continued to rule on the throne: “4 so that the Lord may carry out His promise which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons are careful of their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’” (1 Kgs. 2:4). When the Jews walked with Him, God also promised to cause their enemies to fear them: “I will send My terror ahead of you, and throw into confusion all the people among whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you.” (Ex. 23:27). ‘“This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you upon the peoples everywhere under the heavens, who, when they hear the report of you, will tremble and be in anguish because of you.’” (Dt. 2:25). You also never need to fear your enemies when you act in Spirit-led obedience and do God’s will. If you are serving God, do you trust Him to protect you?
Encourage one another in spiritual warfare. Isaiah used God’s Word to encourage Hezekiah and the Jews. As a believer, you are commanded to use God’s Word to encourage others each day. “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Heb. 3:13). “But I urge you, brethren, bear with this word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly.” (Heb. 13:22). “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Cor. 16:13). “Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the LORD.” (Ps. 31:24). Are you using God’s Word to encourage those who are in need?
The Assyrians mock and blaspheme God. In his moment of pride, King Sennacherib boasted to Rabshakeh that Yahweh was no match against his mighty Assyrian army: “8 Then Rabshakeh returned and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah, for he had heard that the king had left Lachish. 9 When he heard them say concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, ‘Behold, he has come out to fight against you,’ he sent messengers again to Hezekiah saying, 10 ‘Thus you shall say to Hezekiah king of Judah, ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you saying, ‘Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ 11 Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the lands, destroying them completely. So will you be spared? 12 Did the gods of those nations which my fathers destroyed deliver them, even Gozan and Haran and Rezeph and the sons of Eden who were in Telassar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, and of Hena and Ivvah?’’” (2 Kgs. 19:8-13). This was King Sennacherib’s second boast against God. ‘“Has any one of the gods of the nations delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria? . . . 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. 18:33-35). He 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 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 had blinded him to God’s true power. But God would soon humble him and then judge him.
Rabshakeh mocked God and boasted that He could not stop King Sennacherib2
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. Yet, like Sennacherib, God has judged him for his pride and rebellion (Rev. 20:10). 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). Thus, when you walk with God, you don’t need to fear Satan. His days are numbered.
Hezekiah’s prayer for deliverance. In the face of Sennacherib’s blasphemous pride, Hezekiah prayed for God’s deliverance: “14 Then Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it, and he went up to the house of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. 15 Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said, ‘O Lord, the God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and listen to the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. 17 Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have devastated the nations and their lands 18 and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. 19 Now, O Lord our God, I pray, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, O Lord, are God.” (2 Kgs. 19:14-19; Is. 37:16-20). After learning from his mistake in trying to trust in his own wealth to appease Sennacherib (2 Kgs. 18:14-16), Hezekiah turned to God. After David, he was sadly alone amongst the Kings of Judah and Northern Israel in how he placed his trust in God.
God’s power does not compare to the idols of the world. Hezekiah appealed to God’s omnipotent power to save them (2 Kgs. 19:15). 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, even the impossible is possible: “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).
Depend upon Jesus, the Rock of your salvation. Hezekiah 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.
Isaiah’s prophecy of judgment against the Assyrians. In response to Hezekiah’s faith and Sennacherib’s apostasy, Isaiah 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).
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 need deliverance.
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. “. . . I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day,” (2 Tim. 1:3). “. . . we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,” (Col. 1:9). “do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;” (Eph. 1:16). “as we night and day keep praying most earnestly that we may see your face, . . .” (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. “But he must ask in faith without any doubting, . . .” (Jam. 1:6). Are you praying as an intercessor for those whose faith has failed them?
Non-believers are without excuse when they deny God’s existence and power. Through Isaiah, God also 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 well-known amongst 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.
God is sovereign over all creation and every government. Although God allowed Assyria to be the rod of His judgment against the Jews of Northern Israel, He then 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). Daniel later explained that God is sovereign and has control over kings, nations, and all time: “It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding.” (Da. 2:21). “He makes the nations great, then destroys them; He enlarges the nations, then leads them away.” (Job 12:23). “Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust.” (Is. 40:15). “All the nations are as nothing before Him, they are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless.” (Is. 40:17). “But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure His indignation.” (Jer. 10:10). “The LORD is King forever and ever; nations have perished from His land.” (Ps. 10:16). “You shall multiply the nation, You shall increase their gladness; . . .” (Is. 9:3(a)). “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’” (Dan. 4:35). Have you placed you trust in powerful people or in God alone?
Isaiah’s prophecy of restoration and protection for Jerusalem. After promising to judge the Assyrians, God promised to restore the surviving remnant of Jews in Judah: “29 Then this shall be the sign for you: you will eat this year what grows of itself, in the second year what springs from the same, and in the third year sow, reap, plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. 30 The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward. 31 For out of Jerusalem will go forth a remnant, and out of Mount Zion survivors. The zeal of the Lord will perform this. 32 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, ‘He will not come to this city or shoot an arrow there; and he will not come before it with a shield or throw up a siege ramp against it. 33 By the way that he came, by the same he will return, and he shall not come to this city,”’ declares the Lord. 34 ‘For I will defend this city to save it for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.’” (2 Kgs. 19:29-34). God promised that He would prevent the Assyrians from even beginning a siege. He would also supernaturally restore the Jews’ devastated crops (2 Kgs. 19:29). Although the Assyrians had seized the Jews’ fortified cities throughout Judah, God also promised that the surviving remnant of Jews would once again populate the lands (2 Kgs. 19:30-31). Whenever God allowed calamity to fall upon His people to correct or discipline them, He always promised to preserve a “remnant” that He would use to restore His people (Micah 2:12-13; Zeph. 3:8-20). He then promised to judge the Assyrian army (2 Kgs. 19:32-33; Isa. 37:30-34).
God was faithful to keep His promises to save Jerusalem. To demonstrate His power, to show His faithfulness, and to humble the Assyrians, God had Isaiah give additional prophesies about how 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). “But I will have compassion on the house of Judah and deliver them by the LORD their God, and will not deliver them by bow, sword, battle, horses or horsemen.” (Hos. 1:7). And He would soon fulfill His promises. He would destroy the entire Assyrian army through a miracle (2 Kgs. 19:34.)
God is always faithful to preserve a remnant. Through Isaiah, God further promised to keep a “surviving remnant” of His people in Jerusalem (2 Kgs. 19:30). “For out of Jerusalem will go forth a remnant and out of Mount Zion survivors. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”’ (Is. 37:32). Through Paul, God repeated this promise: “In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice.” (Ro. 11:5). Thus, even when evil abounds, you should never give up hope in Jesus. He will preserve a remnant to keep His promises.
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.
Jesus fulfilled God’s everlasting covenant to show that you can depend upon Him. Jesus is the eternal King of Kings who came through David’s line to fulfill God’s “everlasting covenant” (2 Sam. 23:5) “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” (Lk. 1:32-33). “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.” (Is. 9:7). “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.” (Rev. 17:14). Thus, God is faithful to keep His promises.
You also can trust in His promises to you. The accuracy of God’s promises to Hezekiah show how you can also trust His promises for you as well. “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass” (1 Thess. 5:24). “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;” (Dt. 7:9). “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:9). He is faithful even when you are not: “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Tim. 2:13). Have you given thanks that you can trust in His faithfulness in your life?
God will heal the lands when His people repent and turn from sin. Hezekiah’s name means “Jehovah’s strength.” Because of his faith, God would strengthen and rebuild from a faithful remnant (2 Kgs. 19:29). But Isaiah warned this remnant to be holy and not to squander God’s mercy and grace: “It will come about that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy-- everyone who is recorded for life in Jerusalem.” (Is. 4:3). “Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, You who have been borne by Me from birth and have been carried from the womb;” (Is. 46:3) Today, God promises to restore His people if they repent and turn back from sin: “and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chr. 7:14). Are you praying for repentance?
God’s judgment on the Assyrians and King Sennacherib. God then fulfilled His promises by killing 185,000 Assyrian soldiers before they could even begin a siege. He also fulfilled His promise to judge King Sennacherib: “35 Then it happened that night that the angel of the Lord went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, behold, all of them were dead. 36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home, and lived at Nineveh. 37 It came about as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son became king in his place.” (2 Kgs. 19:35-37; 2 Chr. 32:21-22; 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). The angel silently and instantly caused 185,000 Assyrian soldiers to die. In order to allow King Sennacherib to know that God judged him, God allowed King Sennacherib to survive the initial judgment. He then returned to Nineveh (2 Kgs. 19:36). Approximately 20 years later, God fulfilled His prophecy when his own family betrayed and murdered him. His sons Adrammelech and Sharezer murdered him. His third son, Esar-haddon, (681-668 B.C.) then succeeded him (2 Kgs. 19:37).
The angel of the Lord comes to deliver God’s judgment3
The angel of the Lord kills 185,000 Assyrian soldiers4
God gave King Sennacherib time to repent. King Sennacherib deserved to die instantly with his soldiers. He was the one who mocked God. But, out of mercy and grace, God gave him approximately 20 extra years to repent before He fulfilled His prophecy of judgment. Outside of the Bible, his own journals confirm his failure to capture Jerusalem. His records also confirm the existence of King Hezekiah. Instead of repenting, his journal records his pride in the amount of damage that he was able to inflict upon the Jews: “After this retreat from Judah, Sennacherib commissioned a record, which is preserved in the spectacular Annals of Sennacherib (the Taylor Prism), which can be seen in the British Museum. It shows how full of pride Sennacherib’s heart still was, even if he could not even claim he conquered Jerusalem. ‘I attacked Hezekiah of Judah who had not subjected himself to me, and took forty-six fortresses, forts and small cities. I carried away captive 200,150 people, big and small, both male and female, a multitude of horses, young bulls, asses, camels, and oxen. Hezekiah himself I locked up in Jerusalem like a bird in its cage. I put up banks against the city. I separated his cities whose inhabitants I had taken prisoners from his realm and gave them to Mitiniti, king of Ashdod, Padi, king of Ekron, and Zilbel, king of Gaza and thus diminished his country. And I added another tax to the one imposed on him earlier.”’ (David Guzik on 2 Kgs. 19; citing Bultema, commentary on Isaiah).5
God offers every person a chance to repent and receive forgiveness. Like Sennacherib, all have sinned and fallen short (Ecc. 7:20; Ro. 3:23). Like Sennacherib, the wages of our sins are death (Ro. 6:23). God judged Northern Israel for its many sins. He was also ready to judge Judah for its many sins. Yet, just as God gave Northern Israel and Sennacherib many years to repent, He is long-suffering and does not want to judge sin: “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9). Because Hezekiah led Judah to repent and turn from its idolatry, God spared Judah from the death that it also deserved. Jesus also offers a “free gift” of salvation for all who repent and make Him their Lord and Savior: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9). If you repent of your sins, He is faithful to forgive you (1 Jo. 1:9). Is there any sin that you still need to repent of to receive His forgiveness?
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. This includes both prayer and evangelism. You can pray for non-believers. You can share God’s Word. You can also pay to support and encourage God’s missionaries. You can also live as an example of God’s light. How are you fulfilling Jesus’ Great Commission? (Matt. 28:16-20).