This week’s lesson will continue our look at people having courage in the face of great threats.  Last week we took a look at Abijah, king of Judah and the courage he had when his army was outnumbered by two times the men.  In our lesson this week, we are going to be taking a look at another king of Judah, Hezekiah, and the courage he had in the face of the Assyrians.  Our lesson this week is being taught from 2 Chronicles 32:1-8, 22-23.

Hezekiah, King of Judah

Over the past couple of weeks, we have been taking a look at the kings during the divided kingdom years for Israel.  The kings we have taken a look at thus far were kings that were considered to have done wickedly in the eyes of God.  We would certainly not put Hezekiah into the same category as we would put Jeroboam, Rehoboam, Abijah, and Ahab.

Hezekiah was 25 years old when he became king of Judah and he reigned for 29 years in Jerusalem (2 Kgs. 18:1-2).  Scripture tells us that Hezekiah did what was right in the sight of God (2 Kgs. 18:3).  Where kings before him had built up high places for pagan worship in the southern kingdom, Hezekiah tore those places down.  Not only did he tear down those places for pagan worship, he also tore down the images that had been built for idolatrous worship.

We are then told in scripture that Hezekiah reinstated worship of the Lord.  Hezekiah started off by bringing back celebrating the Passover after it had not been celebrated for a long time.  He invited not only those in Judah to celebrate Passover but he also sent an invitation to all of those in the northern kingdom (2 Chr. 30:1-5).  Hezekiah did not stop there, he appointed priests and the Levites to carry out their duties of service.  He also commanded the people to bring forth offerings and  to support the priests and Levites.

I share all of this info about Hezekiah with you because I want to establish with you that he was a totally different kind of king than we have studied about in the past.  I want you to understand that he truly was a man of faith.  Now, he was not perfect.  In fact, scripture tells us that his heart was lifted up later in his life – he had become prideful in his accomplishments.  Unlike other kings, for example Uzziah, when message came from God about Him being displeased with Hezekiah’s prideful heart and lack of thanksgiving, Hezekiah did not continue being prideful.  He humbled himself and repented of his prideful heart (2 Kgs. 20:1-6; 2 Chr. 32:24-26).

Facing Sennacherib

In our lesson this week we take a look at this faithful man when he is facing a very great enemy.  We are told that  Sennacherib, king of Assyria, had made his way to the land of Judah after all of the spiritual reforms of Hezekiah (v.1).  I would tell you that was probably not the best time for Sennacherib to come knocking on the doors of the southern kingdom because they were in such a good and strong position spiritually.  When we are strong in our spirit and full in our faith in God, there is absolutely no enemy that can defeat us!

Sennacherib couldn’t care less about where Judah was spiritually.  Scripture tells us that 6 years into Hezekiah’s reign over Judah, the northern kingdom of Israel had been conquered by the Assyrians and the people had been carried away (2 Kgs. 18:9-11).  By the time the people returned back to the land of the northern kingdom, they couldn’t even trace their lineage back to Israel.  

After 8 years, Sennacherib and the Assyrians came into the land of Judah and took the fortified cities.  Hezekiah attempted to make peace with Sennacherib and gave him silver and gold (2 Kgs. 18:14-16).  The offer of peace did not work with the Assyrians because, again, they were very confident people.  At that time, the Assyrians were the dominant power in the land, so they absolutely feared nobody.  In 2 Kings 18:17-37, you can read about how Sennacherib mocked God by mocking the faith that Hezekiah and Judah had in the Lord.

No reckless actions 

They had conquered the northern kingdom of Israel and what had become apparent to Hezekiah was that the Assyrians were now ready to conquer the south (v. 2).  So, what did Hezekiah do in response to the Assyrians?  As a man of faith, he did not immediately rush off into battle against the Assyrians.  In fact, we see that Hezekiah consulted with his leaders and commanders (v. 3).  Solomon wrote that those who listen to counsel is wise but a fool believes his way is always right (Prov. 12:15).

Foolish faith won’t listen to wise counsel but wise faith will seek out counsel (Prov. 19:20).  So, we see the wisdom of Hezekiah here in that he initially attempted a route of peace with the Assyrians and now he moves tactically against them.  We are told that they shut off the water supply to the Assyrians and then Hezekiah built up the walls, made weapons and shields in abundance, and he then appointed military captains over the people (vss. 4-6).  Again, these were very wise actions by Hezekiah.

Encouraging the people

After all these things, we see Hezekiah deliver a familiar message of encouragement to the people.  Hezekiah says, “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him (v. 7).”  

This probably sounds familiar to you because Moses said something along the same lines to the children of Israel just before his death.  Moses said, “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you (Deut. 31:6).”  The Lord also said to Joshua, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Josh. 1:9).”

This familiar message of encouragement is one that should encourage us as well because as God went before Joshua and Hezekiah, he will go before us as well.  Though the Assyrians were mighty and powerful, Hezekiah could say for a fact that Judah was more mightier and powerful than them.  What was it that gave Hezekiah this kind of confidence?

Hezekiah answers this question for us.  He says, “With him (Sennacherib) is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles (v. 8).”  This word of encouragement strengthened the people of Judah and, again, I tell you that this word is one that should strengthen us as well.  Again, I want you to understand that it is God who goes before us to take on our enemies!  God is always with you and will never forsake you no matter how great your enemy appears to be.

Sennacherib defeated

Our lesson skips down to tell us that God saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from Sennacherib and that the Lord guided them on every side (v. 22).  Both scripture in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles tell us how it was that God saved Hezekiah and all the people in Jerusalem.

We are told that on one certain night that the Lord sent an angel to cut down every mighty man in the camp of the Assyrians.  In all, we are told that there were 185,000 men found dead in the Assyrian camp the following morning.  After this great slaughter, Sennacherib left the land of Judah and returned back home to Nineveh where he would eventually be killed by his own sons (2 Kgs. 19:35-37; 2 Chr. 32:21).

Again, I tell you, God goes before all of those who are of genuine faith in Him!  Notice that Hezekiah nor his army had to lift a hand in physical confrontation against the Assyrians!  This is why I encourage you today to stand steadfast in your faith in God and trust in Him no matter what you are going through!

After this great victory, we are told that people brought gifts to the Lord at Jerusalem and also brought presents to Hezekiah as well.  We are told that Hezekiah was exalted in the sight of all nations thereafter (v. 23).  Now, we certainly don’t need the exaltation of men, but I tell you, when you stand firm in your faith, it will be both noted and respected by others.  

As I have said in recent weeks, your faith will not only be noted and respected by others, but it will also encourage others to have faith as well.  I believe the greatest thing we can do in our faith is influence the faith of God in others.  We can encourage and influence the faith of others through encouraging words and through our actions as well.


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