2 Kings 19:20 (NIV) 20 Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I have heard your prayer concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria.
On verses 20-21: Here God responds to King Hezekiah’s plea for help against King Sennacherib of Assyria. Through the prophet Isaiah, God sends a reassuring message to Hezekiah. First, the Lord tells Hezekiah that He has heard Hezekiah’s prayer (v20). Second, the Lord tells Hezekiah what He has spoken against Sennacherib. The Lord’s message to Sennacherib begins with the words: “The Virgin Daughter of Zion despises you and mocks you. The Daughter of Jerusalem tosses her head as you flee.” (v21)X
What can we learn from this?
1. God hears the prayers of His people.
2. God is committed to defending His people when they are under attack.
3. Despite all the ways that God’s people had been unfaithful to Him, God amazingly still calls His people “the virgin daughter of Zion” and the “daughter of Jerusalem” (v21). How could God do that with a people who have been bent on rebelling against Him and worshiping other gods? Yet that’s what God does for us. He sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins, such that if you have trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, God sees Christ’s righteousness covering your sin. Through Jesus God calls “holy” those who have not been holy, and “pure” those who have not been pure. Just as God’s mercy enabled God to call Judah the “Virgin Daughter of Zion”, it’s the mercy of God that enables God to call us His children.
2 Kings 19:22 (NIV) 22 Who is it you have insulted and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel!
Verse 22: Both King Sennacherib’s field commander and King Sennacherib himself spoke words casting doubt on the Lord’s ability to save the people of Judah. In 2 Kings 18:33-35, Sennacherib’s field commander called the Lord weak and undependable. In 19:10-13, Sennarcherib himself suggested that the Lord is a deceiver. Verse 22 shows that God took those words personally and saw them as an insult and as blasphemy.
What is blasphemy? Blasphemy is speaking evil of God, saying things about God that are untrue and that disparage His character.
What can we learn from this? God takes seriously and personally what you say about Him. As Jesus says, He will hold us accountable for every careless word we speak (Matthew 12:36).
2 Kings 19:23 (NIV) 23 By your messengers you have heaped insults on the Lord. And you have said, “With my many chariots I have ascended the heights of the mountains, the utmost heights of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars, the choicest of its pines. I have reached its remotest parts, the finest of its forests.
On verses 23-28: Sennacherib attributed all his power and success to himself. Notice how many times the word “I” appears in verses 23-24. Yet God responds to Sennacherib’s self-absorption. First, God clarifies that it was He who planned and enabled Assyria’s dominance (v25). Second, God says that considering how Sennacherib rages against the Lord with his boasting and blasphemy, the Lord will humble Sennacherib and bring him low.
What can we learn from this? Whenever a person has power, remember that it’s ultimately because God in His sovereignty has chosen to allow that person to have power. So stay humble and remember that any success or power you have is ultimately because God decided in His mercy to let you have such success and power.
As Psalm 75:4-7 says: 4 To the arrogant I say, ‘Boast no more,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horns. 5 Do not lift your horns against heaven; do not speak with outstretched neck.'” 6 No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man. 7 But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.
2 Kings 19:29-31 (NIV) 29 “This will be the sign for you, O Hezekiah: “This year you will eat what grows by itself, and the second year what springs from that. But in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 30 Once more a remnant of the house of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. 31 For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
On verses 29-31: Hezekiah and the people of Judah were facing the threat of extinction by the Assyrians. Yet here, after promising to bring down King Sennacherib of Assyria, the Lord further promises that rather than seeing the demise of their nation, the people of Judah would eat what their land naturally produced for two years, and then in the third year they would return to their regular sowing and reaping. In other words, by God’s grace and “the zeal of the Lord Almighty” (v31), Judah would continue on as a nation and survive this Assyrian threat. The Lord gets even more specific in verses 32-34, promising to defend Jerusalem and save it, and further promising that Sennacherib will not enter the city but will return from where he came. In this case, “unstoppable” Assyria would not even shoot another arrow against the people of Judah.
After the Lord has made these lofty promises, that same night the Lord strikes down 185,000 men in Assyria’s camp. Sennacherib withdraws from Judah. Some time later Sennacherib is assassinated by his sons while worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch. God was faithful to His Word. Whereas Sennacherib boasted that the Lord would not save Judah, it was Sennacherib’s god Nisroch that could not save Sennacherib.
What can we learn from this? God is faithful to His promises and specializes in great rescues. Likewise, when we seemed destined for destruction, God delivered us. He sent Jesus Christ to be our hero and to defeat our enemy on our behalf, so that we could continue to live in freedom.
Heavenly Father, You alone decide who to exalt and who to bring down. Thank You that 2,000 years ago You decided to stoop down to make us great when You sent Jesus Christ to die for our sins. Thank You that we were the beneficiaries of the greatest rescue story of all time. Since it is ultimately because of Your mercy and grace that we experience any success or influence in our lifetime, may we always be humble in the way we speak and act. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!