When Hezekiah, king of Judah, hears the message against Judah and the Lord from Sennacherib, king of Assyria, which was delivered by the Rabshakeh, Hezekiah “tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord.” Then he sent his servants to inquire of Isaiah. Isaiah responds, “Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. Surely I will send a spirit upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.”
“Then the Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah, for he heard that he had departed from Lachish.” However, Sennacherib still intimidates Judah by sending a threatening letter to Hezekiah. When Hezekiah receives the letter, he goes to the house of the Lord and prays – “‘O Lord God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are 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 reproach the living God. Truly, Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands—wood and stone. Therefore they destroyed them. Now therefore, O Lord our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God, You alone.”
Isaiah gives a word from the Lord regarding the arrogant Sennacherib, king of Assyria, and his messenger, the Rabshakeh, who believe that all of their military success has been because of their own works and might. The Lord points out their ignorance and says all that they have accomplished was orchestrated by Him for His purposes – “From ancient times that I formed it? Now I have brought it to pass, that you should be for crushing fortified cities into heaps of ruins…But I know your dwelling place, your going out and your coming in, and your rage against Me. Because your rage against Me and your tumult have come up to My ears, therefore I will put My hook in your nose and My bridle in your lips, and I will turn you back by the way which you came.”
The Lord goes on to say that He will defend Judah for His sake and to keep His promises made to King David – “‘He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor build a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return; and he shall not come into this city,’ says the Lord. ‘For I will defend this city, to save it for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.’”
And since God always delivers on His Word – “And it came to pass on a certain night that the angel of the Lord went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all dead. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh. Now it came to pass, as he was worshiping in the temple of Nisroch his god, that his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. Then Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place.”
“Thus the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all others, and guided them on every side. And many brought gifts to the Lord at Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations thereafter.”
But unfortunately all the success goes to Hezekiah’s head. Tomorrow a haughty Hezekiah acts foolishly by flaunting his wealth in front of some men from Babylon. Keep reading to see the negative impact that pride of leadership can have on a nation.
(2 Kings 19:1-19, Isaiah 37:1-20, 2 Chronicles 32:9-19, 2 Kings 19:20-37, Isaiah 37:21-38, 2 Chronicles 32: 20-23)