One of my favorite chapters of the Bible is 2 Kings 18. Even though I get mad every time I read it, it remains a favorite. Want to know why?
Hezekiah displayed a strong walk of faith- despite the toughness and loneliness that marked his path. As the king of Judah, Hezekiah faced many hardships, wars, and challenges throughout his life. That’s not so unusual. What makes him stand out is that he chose a different path than most of the kings- he trusted Yahweh.
But Hezekiah’s trust was put under pressure one day when the king of Assyria, Sennacherib, sent the Rabshakeh to the gates of Jerusalem carrying a message.
And the Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this trust of yours? Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me? -2 Kings 18:19-20
The Rabshakeh mocked Hezekiah for his choice to follow God. He threatened to wipe his people out. Blow after blow he made with his words, pushing Hezekiah’s faith to the floor, threatening to defeat his faith.
He equated trust in God to fables, stories, something you could not believe.
He claimed they were relying on Egypt to save them; that Egypt would surely fail them.
He accused Hezekiah of destroying altars that belonged to God, when in truth, they did not.
Rab then proceeded to try to turn the people against their king.
He tells the people that since the “gods” of the surrounding nations could not stop Assyria, they should not expect their God to save them.
He tells the people they are doomed, and not to listen to their king, that he could not save them.
How would you feel? Scared? Intimidated? Ashamed?
What would you do? Run and hide? Beg for mercy? Surrender?
Hezekiah likely felt and wanted to do all those things, but he didn’t. No, instead, he prayed.
And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said: “O LORD, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. -2 Kings 19:15-16
That seemingly simple act changed the tables. God heard what the Rabshakeh said and He answered. Rab clearly did not understand God, not for who He really was.
God shows Himself totally trustworthy and all-powerful, not a fairy tale.
God reveals that He is the only one worthy of worship, not the so-called “gods” whose altars Hezekiah destroyed.
God proves that He is able to save the Israelites from Assyria, unlike the fraud “gods” of the surrounding nations.
For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD will do this. “Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, declares the LORD. -2 Kings 19:31-33
In the night, the Assyrian camp was attacked by the angel of the Lord. 185,000 people were killed. That was enough of a clue for them to leave. Not long after, Sennacherib, king of Assyria was murdered in the temple of Nisroch, his “god”.
Hezekiah was under severe pressure. He faced an enormous challenge to his faith. But he chose to trust God, and God helped him.
Even though I get mad at the insolence of the Rabshakeh and Sennacherib, I relish in the truth that God is God, and that He is willing and able to save us when we call to Him.
Many times, the enemy seeks to shake our faith, because he knows that if he can convince us that running to God is foolish, or a sign of weakness, then we won’t. And if we don’t, then we are cut off from the very source of our strength. That is exactly where he wants us- weak and vulnerable.
God gave us the Bible filled with examples of people, like Hezekiah, who were pressured to reject their faith in God. He gave us their stories to remind us that just like they ran to Him, we are to do the same.
When the pressure is on and we feel like giving up, let us not lose our faith. We are saved by grace, and that grace is reached by faith in Him.
Courtney Peetz is a 15-year-old girl who is trying to follow Jesus with all her heart. When she is not doing school, you can find her reading, writing, thinking, cooking, or taking pictures with her camera. She writes for ACBPAK, Cliff’s Brink, and The Rebelution along with working on far too many books at one time.