How To Respond to A Direct Insult to the Lord

Sennacherib, king of Assyria, is threatening the king of Judah if he will not bow to to him and become his servant, along with all the people of Judah.  The king of Judah, Hezekiah, is a good king – in fact the Bible tells us that, “There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.” (2 Kings 18:5b).  Sennacherib sends a messenger to the people of Judah, and has them proclaim these words, in the language that every man of Judah could understand (to make sure that the message spread to all men):

Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew: “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria!  This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you from my hand.  Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the LORD when he says, ‘The LORD will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’  — 2 Kings 18:28-30

The people do not listen, and so Sennacherib sends out what he thinks is an even stronger message,

Now Sennacherib received a report that Tirhakah, the Cushite king of Egypt, was marching out to fight against him. So he again sent messengers to Hezekiah with this word: “Say to Hezekiah king of Judah: Do not let the god you depend on deceive you when he says, ‘Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.’  Surely you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the countries, destroying them completely. And will you be delivered?  Did the gods of the nations that were destroyed by my forefathers deliver them: the gods of Gozan, Haran, Rezeph and the people of Eden who were in Tel Assar?  Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, or of Hena or Ivvah?”  — 2 Kings 19:9-13

Note how the king of Assyria goes from casting doubt on King Hezekiah, to casting doubt on the Lord God!  How would you react if someone came to you and told you that God was deceiving you?  Would you lash out?  Or would you do as Hezekiah did, and kneel to pray?

Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD.  And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD: “O LORD, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.  Give ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God.  — 2 Kings 19:14-16

And Hezekiah’s prayer was effective, because we soon see the defeat of the king of Assyria at the end of chapter 19.


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