Sennacherib Invades Judah
32 After these things and these acts of faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah and encamped against the fortified cities, thinking to win them for himself. And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come and intended to fight against Jerusalem, he planned with his officers and his mighty men to stop the water of the springs that were outside the city; and they helped him. A great many people were gathered, and they stopped all the springs and the brook that flowed through the land, saying, “Why should the kings of Assyria come and find much water?” He set to work resolutely and built up all the wall that was broken down and raised towers upon it, and outside it he built another wall, and he strengthened the Millo in the city of David. He also made weapons and shields in abundance. And he set combat commanders over the people and gathered them together to him in the square at the gate of the city and spoke encouragingly to them, saying, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people took confidence from the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.
After this, Sennacherib king of Assyria, who was besieging Lachish with all his forces, sent his servants to Jerusalem to Hezekiah king of Judah and to all the people of Judah who were in Jerusalem, saying, “Thus says Sennacherib king of Assyria, ‘On what are you trusting, that you endure the siege in Jerusalem? Is not Hezekiah misleading you, that he may give you over to die by famine and by thirst, when he tells you, “The LORD our God will deliver us from the hand of the king of Assyria”? Has not this same Hezekiah taken away his high places and his altars and commanded Judah and Jerusalem, “Before one altar you shall worship, and on it you shall burn your sacrifices”? Do you not know what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of other lands? Were the gods of the nations of those lands at all able to deliver their lands out of my hand? Who among all the gods of those nations that my fathers devoted to destruction was able to deliver his people from my hand, that your God should be able to deliver you from my hand? Now, therefore, do not let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you in this fashion, and do not believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to deliver his people from my hand or from the hand of my fathers. How much less will your God deliver you out of my hand!’”
And his servants said still more against the LORD God and against his servant Hezekiah. And he wrote letters to cast contempt on the LORD, the God of Israel, and to speak against him, saying, “Like the gods of the nations of the lands who have not delivered their people from my hands, so the God of Hezekiah will not deliver his people from my hand.” And they shouted it with a loud voice in the language of Judah to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, to frighten and terrify them, in order that they might take the city. And they spoke of the God of Jerusalem as they spoke of the gods of the peoples of the earth, which are the work of men’s hands.
The Lord Delivers Jerusalem
Then Hezekiah the king and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, prayed because of this and cried to heaven. And the LORD sent an angel, who cut off all the mighty warriors and commanders and officers in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he came into the house of his god, some of his own sons struck him down there with the sword. So the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all his enemies, and he provided for them on every side. And many brought gifts to the LORD to Jerusalem and precious things to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations from that time onward.
Hezekiah’s Pride and Achievements
In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death, and he prayed to the LORD, and he answered him and gave him a sign. But Hezekiah did not make return according to the benefit done to him, for his heart was proud. Therefore wrath came upon him and Judah and Jerusalem. But Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah.
And Hezekiah had very great riches and honor, and he made for himself treasuries for silver, for gold, for precious stones, for spices, for shields, and for all kinds of costly vessels; storehouses also for the yield of grain, wine, and oil; and stalls for all kinds of cattle, and sheepfolds. He likewise provided cities for himself, and flocks and herds in abundance, for God had given him very great possessions. This same Hezekiah closed the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works. And so in the matter of the envoys of the princes of Babylon, who had been sent to him to inquire about the sign that had been done in the land, God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart.
Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah and his good deeds, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the upper part of the tombs of the sons of David, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honor at his death. And Manasseh his son reigned in his place.
2 Chronicles 32 Commentary
by Hank Workman
We are doers. We see a situation and calculate what needs to be done and then act upon that. Really, it’s part of our human nature. This is particularly true in conflict and especially is the reaction when there’s a breakdown in a relationship. When there is friction or a fall out or whatever in a personal relationship often we attempt to fix things.
The problem is if this is a spiritual matter where God is meddling in the other’s life, there is nothing we can ‘do’ to fix it. It’s an issue between them and Jesus. This is where the Holy Spirit’s role is so critical in leading us in our own response but more on point to allowing God to work through whatever is going on inwardly of the other person. We can’t force someone to follow Jesus more closely. That’s His call.
A few years ago God was messing with a good friend of mine. There were inward battles going on for him that were affecting his reactions outwardly. Let’s just say it was more than tough to not only be an observer but also to be hands off. I needed to let the Holy Spirit have his way. Believe me, I prayed diligently for this friend every day. I asked for wisdom. I prayed for timing and for many months nothing ever came to be. The friction at times became pretty rough. But the bottom line was Jesus was calling this friend to a far deeper place than he had ever been.
His resistance was what brought about the rift at times between us. The great part of this story (and no this is not one of the examples I’ve used where they walked away) is Jesus finally stripped them of many things through their months of resistance and they became ready to have a conversation. All those months of prayer set the table for when it was time to have it. Oh yes, it was a brutal conversation but finally they were ready to have it. They moved forward to the deeper waters of God’s calling.
Had I decided to do something, make a conversation happen, it would have been in vain and altered all the work God was doing. The work I couldn’t see.
I thought of this when reading Hezekiah’s reaction to the king of Assyria’s invasion. And what we see here are two thoughts. Hezekiah made decisions, yes that’s true. He did everything he possibly could. But the more important aspect is he trusted God. We have to take the right steps in whatever the conflict or issue may be coming against us but also must not get ahead of what He is doing and trust Him in the outcome.
And that’s what’s so beautiful about the statement Hezekiah made to the officers of the military: “Be strong and courageous. Don’t be discouraged. The Lord our God is with us and will help us fight our battles.”
Hezekiah followed through on these thoughts and yes, victory came.
Whatever you are facing today, whatever relationship is teetering, it is imperative you don’t overstep yourself with what God is doing. Yes, on some levels do what you can but… and it’s a big but… but submit yourself to Him and allow Him to work things out. Allow Him to guide your conversations. Allow Him to drive you. And allow Him to help you trust. If this is a spiritual matter, there is nothing you can do.
Stand firm. Take your discouragement to Him. Pray for wisdom. Pray for knowledge as to when to act. Trust Him to fight this battle. More than likely it’s not yours anyways.
2 Chronicles 32 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
There are times in my spiritual walk when I simply want to take a break. Although I know God is calling me forward, I would rather just check out and do my own thing. It’s natural, easy, and comfortable. In a mysterious way the human mind is incapable of understanding, God’s sovereignty intertwines with our free will. There are many things He could do for us that He does not. Similarly, there are many things we can’t do that we try to control. This push-and-pull relationship is what ultimately produces trust. It was no different with Hezekiah.
As a king and leader, once Hezekiah heard of the coming war, he had a responsibility to direct his people. This was his human responsibility.
- He stopped external access to the water source
- He repaired the broken wall and built a second wall
- He repaired the Millo (the landfill)
- He constructed a ton of weapons and shields
- He gathered and organized the army
After Hezekiah had fulfilled his responsibilities, the actual victory was up to the Lord. He encouraged his people with this fact.
“Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him.”2 Chronicles 32:7 NASB
This is such a powerful example for us. First, do we actually follow through with our responsibility in a given situation? The temptation, like I said earlier, is to check out and just carelessly hope for the best. Second, do we let God work in the aspects that are out of our control? Once we have stepped out in obedience, do we really trust Him for the end results?
I think we must be careful not to neglect our God-given responsibilities, but also not strive for control over aspects only the Lord can deliver. There is such a peace that comes from knowing we have done all we can and are trusting completely in the Lord’s timing. Once we have followed through with our obedience, we will have confidence to proclaim, as Hezekiah did, “the one with us is greater than the one with him.”