Written by Julie Tsoukalas
During this time in Chronicles, Hezekiah is king. He is doing a lot of good and has turned things around spiritually for Israel:
“And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the LORD his God. (21) And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.” 2 Chronicles 31:20-21
Chapter 32 opens with Sennacherib, king of Assyria threatening Israel. He comes to Jerusalem planning to take it over for himself. This was not to be a sudden siege- Sennacherib got comfortable camping outside the city. Hezekiah and his mighty men stop the free-flowing water that ran throughout the city and also have time to fix up a broken wall, another wall outside of it, the protective structure called Millo, make darts and shields in abundance, and set up captains over the people. (vs. 5-6)
More importantly, Hezekiah encouraged the people, reminding them to be strong and courageous, not to fear or be dismayed by the king of Assyria but to trust that the arm of the Lord would fight their battles. And the people believed him and rested in his words.
Sennacherib then tries to discourage the people of Israel (but couldn’t be bothered to do so in person because he was besieging another people at the moment, thankyouverymuch). He sent his servants to remind Israel of all the bad things he’d done to other peoples and tried to make them doubt the words of their king by saying Hezekiah was deceiving them and God couldn’t really help them.
When the people don’t respond in fear, he wrote letters (letters!!) railing against God, and sent servants who could speak the Jews’ language to trouble them and wear them down.
We don’t see the people responding in fear to these threats, either. They are quite confident in their king and their Lord!
Hezekiah and Isaiah decide that instead of fighting a verbal war with Sennacherib, they are going to pray. And they use their words to petition the God of heaven and cry out on behalf of themselves and the people.
And the Lord saves them! Sennacherib returns to his country in shame, and when he goes to worship in the house of his god, he is killed.
If Hezekiah had merely prepared his people physically for battle, but hadn’t taken the time to remind them of the Lord’s mighty works and power, perhaps they would’ve had victory- they did outnumber the Assyrians. But they may not have withstood the discouraging words of Sennacherib, and could have lost the battle mentally before it ever started.
When preparing for battle, we need to remind ourselves of the Lord’s power and mighty words, and then pray. We must spend time with the Father during times of peace helps to have confidence when trouble comes. If we wait until it is upon us, it could be too late.
He will fight for us! In that we can surely rest.