The Father Says Today: September 11th, 2015
Hezekiah’s Demonstration of Spiritual Warfare
Today: [2 Kings Chapter Nineteen] Hezekiah’s Demonstration of Spiritual Warfare. After Hezekiah learns that the besieging Assyrians will not withdraw he does several key things. He prays. He humbles himself. He goes into the house of God. He turns to the prophet Isaiah for counsel. In the end the city is saved. We can learn in this chapter by the things that Hezekiah did and did not do how to proceed when we are likewise assaulted by the enemy.
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[2Ki 19:1-37 KJV] 1 And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard [it], that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD. 2 And he sent Eliakim, which [was] over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz. 3 And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day [is] a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and [there is] not strength to bring forth. 4 It may be the LORD thy God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God; and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up [thy] prayer for the remnant that are left. 5 So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah.
Hezekiah receives the report from his diplomats that the Assyrians besieging the city will not withdraw under any circumstances. He has stripped the temple and his palace of all the gold and silver found there and sent it as tribute but the Assyrians will not relent. Rabsheka the Assyrian representative shouts from the gates of the city in the Hebrew language and taunts Hezekiah and the people. He declares that God has rejected the city because Hezekiah tore down the idols and the groves in the high places. The diplomats sent from Hezekiah implore Rabsheka to speak in Aramaic so the people of the city will not understand his words but he just laughs and continues in Hebrew promising a brutal siege. Hezekiah gets the report of all of this without saying a word he does several things:
- He rends his clothes
He goes into the house of the Lord.
He sends word to Isaiah the Prophet.
The tearing of his clothes and putting on sackcloth or rough burlap is an ancient custom to show deep mourning and contrition. In so doing we see how seriously Hezekiah is taking the Assyrian threat to the city. This is not a mere act of despair but a form of spiritual warfare as the Psalmist indicates:
Psa. 38:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
We tend to believe that God saves us because we are right or have done the right things. In fact God moves in our lives because we choose to humble ourselves. Remember that Isaiah is the prophet in Jerusalem at this time. He writes about this in Isaiah 57:15:
[Isa 57:15 KJV] 15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name [is] Holy; I dwell in the high and holy [place], with him also [that is] of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
When you are under assault – take the place of humility. It is futile to assert your correctness or insist on having your say with those who oppose you. Hezekiah could have went out to Rabsheka himself to take over the negotiations but he didn’t – he turns and goes into the house of the Lord. Now for him this was a building even Solomon’s temple. For us the temple is within us. Jesus instructs us to:
[Mat 6:6 KJV] 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
So Hezekiah’s first action is to publically humble himself. Secondly he turns to God on his own without seeking any counsel or the opinions of others. Then he turns to the prophet Isaiah seeking counsel. You will notice that he doesn’t play games with Isaiah. He tells Isaiah fully what is going on and what the enemy is saying. Many times we go to the prophets and we want them to first accurately divine what is going on in our life before we will believe what they say. Hezekiah already believes the prophets – he doesn’t need to be convinced as though he is going to a psychic. He sends word to Isaiah to hear what the Lord might say.
6 And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say to your master, Thus saith the LORD, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. 7 Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. 8 So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish. 9 And when he heard say of Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, Behold, he is come out to fight against thee: he sent messengers again unto Hezekiah, saying, 10 Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God in whom thou trustest deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria. 11 Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly: and shalt thou be delivered? 12 Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed; [as] Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which [were] in Thelasar? 13 Where [is] the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivah? 14 And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.
Hezekiah sends word to Isaiah and Isaiah replies with the word of the Lord. He claims that God has revealed to him that the Assyrians will be called back to Assyria to deal with other problems – that a “blast” and a rumor will draw them away from Jerusalem. In fact that is what happens. Rabsheka returns to the army and finds that the king is involved in another battle. However instead of leaving he sends another threatening letter to Hezekiah. Hezekiah receives the letter and turns again into the temple. He spreads the letter before the Lord and begins to pray. This should help us understand that entering into prayer and believing God is not about living in denial. Hezekiah is not ignoring what is going on. Never forget that he is painfully aware if his father Ahaz had not hired the Assyrians as mercenaries none of this would have happened. This whole situation is an example of the sins of the fathers being visited upon the children.
15 And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest [between] the cherubims, thou art the God, [even] thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth. 16 LORD, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God. 17 Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands, 18 And have cast their gods into the fire: for they [were] no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them. 19 Now therefore, O LORD our God, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou [art] the LORD God, [even] thou only. 20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, [That] which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard.
Hezekiah prays with the letter from Rabsheka spread out before him in the house of the Lord. Sometimes we need to lay the proof of our battle before us in prayer. Take that court document or that stack of bills and lay it out before the Lord. This is a letter from hell itself. When you are under assault many times the phone will ring or an e-mail will come or a letter in the mail. What are you going to do with it? Spread it before the Lord and talk to God about it. Not in one instance did Hezekiah say “what are we doing to do?”. He didn’t run back and forth to anyone who would listen seeking for an answer. Many times we talk to everyone but God. We post our problems on Facebook. We tweet out our problems. We tell the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker and in so doing we only make our problems worse. Sometimes when you broadcast your problems you only compound your own unbelief but the unbelief of others. Learn to be a gatherer of information rather than a dispenser of information. Go to God first. Tell it to Jesus first. Look to God first. Then as he directs as Hezekiah did go to those who have a reputation for hearing from God. Who was the prophet in Hezekiah’s life? Obviously it was Isaiah and Isaiah is Hezekiah’s ally in this situation.
21 This [is] the word that the LORD hath spoken concerning him; The virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee, [and] laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee. 22 Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted [thy] voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? [even] against the Holy [One] of Israel. 23 By thy messengers thou hast reproached the Lord, and hast said, With the multitude of my chariots I am come up to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon, and will cut down the tall cedar trees thereof, [and] the choice fir trees thereof: and I will enter into the lodgings of his borders, [and into] the forest of his Carmel. 24 I have digged and drunk strange waters, and with the sole of my feet have I dried up all the rivers of besieged places. 25 Hast thou not heard long ago [how] I have done it, [and] of ancient times that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste fenced cities [into] ruinous heaps. 26 Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded; they were [as] the grass of the field, and [as] the green herb, [as] the grass on the housetops, and [as corn] blasted before it be grown up. 27 But I know thy abode, and thy going out, and thy coming in, and thy rage against me. 28 Because thy rage against me and thy tumult is come up into mine ears, therefore I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest.
Isaiah reiterates the word of the Lord directing his statement not just to Hezekiah but to Sennecherib himself. He declares that God will put a hook in Sennecherib’s nose and turn him back the way he came. Notice that there isn’t focus on the details of how God will do this. Often we pray for deliverance and want to know HOW God will deliver and answer our prayer. It doesn’t matter. Focus on the outcome. Simply pray that God will occupy your enemies elsewhere – this is very powerful and effective prayer and in this case it is exactly what has happened with the Assyrians.
29 And this [shall be] a sign unto thee, Ye shall eat this year such things as grow of themselves, and in the second year that which springeth of the same; and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruits thereof. 30 And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. 31 For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the LORD [of hosts] shall do this. 32 Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it. 33 By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD. 34 For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake. 35 And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they [were] all dead corpses. 36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. 37 And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.
After giving the word to Rabsheka Isaiah predicts to Hezekiah and the city of Jerusalem that they will not starve in a siege but will in fact have three years of undisturbed rest while they eat of the fruit of the land. Then immediately thereafter a plague breaks out in the camp of Sennecherib and 180,000 men die in one night. Sennecherib withdraws and very soon after is assassinated by his own sons.
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