And every work which he began in the service of the house of God in law and in commandment, seeking his God, he did with all his heart and prospered. 2 Chronicles 31:21
King Hezekiah of Judah is one of my favorite kings in the Old Testament. He walked closely with his God, and God walked closely with him.
When king Senaccherib of Assyria came and seized the fortified cities of Judah, Hezekiah at first tried to pay him off with gold to make him and his army go away, but he wouldn’t, so Hezekiah prepared for war. King Senaccherib sent messengers to taunt and demoralize him, and the message they shouted to the inhabitants of Judah told them not to trust in what Hezekiah had to say, and that the Lord would not deliver them. As if that weren’t enough, they insinuated that God was like all the other gods of the nations, and none had yet delivered them from the king of Assyria.
Hezekiah’s next idea was to go to the prophet Isaiah to ask him to speak to God about it. And God spoke through Isaiah saying:
“Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. Behold I will put a spirit in him so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land. And I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.” (2 Kings 19:6-7)
Still, Sennacherib was as puffed up as a peacock, and got a thrill out of threatening Hezekiah, so he sent messengers with another letter to Hezekiah. Even though he’d heard God’s message through Isaiah, Hezekiah was still afraid, so this time he did what he should have done all along…he took the letter, went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it out before Him. He prayed and entreated God for His help, just as he should have done at the first.
God answered him through Isaiah, and made it quite clear that He would defend Jerusalem “to save it for My own sake and for my servant David’s sake.” Not only that, God declared that Sennacherib would never set foot in the city of Jerusalem, and understandably so. Jerusalem is God’s holy city, and He wasn’t about to allow Sennacherib to sully the streets with his presence.
That night, the angel of the Lord went out and killed every one of the Assyrians who had been camped outside of the city’s walls, all 185,000 of them. BAM. Done. In minutes, most likely.
And then, just as God promised, Sennacherib returned home, never having entered Jerusalem. He most likely heard that a terrible disease had run through the area and killed everyone overnight, so he made a beeline for home. He was king Sennacherib, for crying out loud, and absolutely untouchable. Or so he thought.
But God had the last word, as He always does. When Sennacherib went in to the house of Nisroch his god, his own two sons killed him with the sword. God could have orchestrated that he died anywhere, but He ensured that Sennacherib was killed in the house of his god, Nisroch. The irony is wonderful. Oh, and BAM. He was dead. In minutes.
We can take some wonderful messages from this. First, when we are faced with battles, challenges or big decisions in our lives, let’s not try to pay someone off, or even ask someone else to do the communication with God. Yes, absolutely, ask others to pray with you and for you. But do the right thing first. Go to God in a quiet place, spread out your battle, challenge or big decision before Him. Discuss it with Him. Tell Him you want His guidance and His help. And then wait to hear what He has to say.
I recently did this about a real estate decision. I placed the offer someone had made me before Him, and talked with Him about it. After praying about it and offering it to Him, I said, “OK, Lord, here’s the counter offer I’m going to make with them. This seems fair and right, where we both win. If you want this to happen, let them accept it. If not, then I’ll trust that you have other plans.” They did not accept it, and I went about my business, believing that that was God’s answer.
Secondly, the takeaway we can have from the story about Hezekiah is that no battle, challenge or obstacle is too great for God. Hezekiah was wringing his hands, sweating bullets, wondering how God was going to pull it off. But as the scripture clearly states, killing 185,000 people was child’s play for God’s angel, especially when they had blasphemed the living God.
And here’s the third point. Look back at the scripture at the beginning of this post. …seeking his God, he did with all his heart and prospered. When Hezekiah sought God with all his heart, he prospered. That’s the key. That’s the difference between success and failure in this world.
If your obstacle or challenge–or your life in general–seems insurmountable, don’t sweat it. It may be for you, but it isn’t for Him. Just take it to Him, ask Him to help you and trust Him. Then watch Him blow your socks off. BAM. Just like that.