THE COLOSSAL DISGRACE by Precious C Philip
The Bible shares many real-life stories that we (today's Christians) can learn from and avoid making wrong choices and taking steps that'll culminate in colossal disgrace. One of such instructive stories is what we'll be looking at today. It is found in the book of 2 Chronicles 32:1-23.
It goes thus:
After King Hezekiah became the king of Judah and did what was right and good in the eyes of the Lord by opening the (previously shut) temple of the Lord and repairing it and also turning the hearts of the people back to God, the King of Assyria by name Sennacherib came to attack and capture his territory.
As soon as Hezekiah learned that Sennacherib was planning to attack Jerusalem, he and his officials worked out a plan to cut off the supply of water outside the city, so that the Assyrians would have no water when they came to attack. The officials got together a large work force that stopped up the springs and streams near Jerusalem. Hezekiah also had workers repair the broken sections of the city wall. Then they built defense towers and an outer wall to help protect the one already there.
Hezekiah gave orders to make a large supply of weapons and shields, and he appointed army commanders over the troops. Then he gathered the troops together in the open area in front of the city gate and said to them: Be brave and confident! There’s no reason to be afraid of King Sennacherib and his powerful army. We are much more powerful, because the Lord our God fights on our side. The Assyrians must rely on human power alone. These words encouraged the army of Judah.
[Lesson: King Hezekiah was not lazy. He could have just prayed and relaxed and left everything to God. But he first did his part and then relied on God to do His part. He also did not depend on his intelligence, strength and smartness to fight the Assyrians, but he relied solely on God and boasted that God would deliver them because he had faith in God and had the understanding that God with them is more powerful than the large army with Sennacherib.]
When Sennacherib and his troops were camped at the town of Lachish, he sent a message to Hezekiah and the people in Jerusalem. It said: "I am King Sennacherib of Assyria, and I have Jerusalem surrounded. Do you think you can survive my attack? Hezekiah your king is telling you that the Lord your God will save you from me. But he is lying, and you’ll die of hunger and thirst. Didn’t Hezekiah tear down all except one of this god's altars and places of worship? And didn’t he tell you people of Jerusalem and Judah to worship at that one place? You’ve heard what my ancestors and I have done to other nations. Were the gods of those nations able to defend their land against us? None of those gods kept their people safe from the kings of Assyria. Do you really think your God can do any better? Don’t be fooled by Hezekiah! No god of any nation has ever been able to stand up to Assyria. Believe me, your God cannot keep you safe!"
[Lesson: Sennacherib tried to discourage and terrify the people of Jerusalem and Judah with his words, because the moment you become fearful, you've already lost the battle. You cannot fight with fear and expect to win. This is why the devil first terrifies you before he terrorizes you. You can only be terrorized when you are terrified. Sennacherib (out of confusion) also tried to feed the people with a lie, saying that Hezekiah destroyed the Lord's altars. But what Hezekiah had destroyed were the altars and high places erected for idols by his late father Ahaz who worshipped the Baals. Hezekiah destroyed all and instructed the people to worship the Lord at the one place of worship in Jerusalem.]
The Assyrian officials said terrible things about the Lord God and his servant Hezekiah. Sennacherib’s letter even made fun of the Lord. It said, “The gods of other nations could not save their people from Assyria’s army, and neither will the God that Hezekiah worships.” The officials said all these things in Hebrew, so that everyone listening from the city wall would understand and be terrified and surrender. The officials talked about the Lord God as if he were nothing but an ordinary god or an idol that someone had made.
Then King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer to God in heaven. And the Lord sent an angel who destroyed the Assyrian army with all its commanders and officers. So Sennacherib was forced to return home in disgrace to his own land. And when he entered the temple of his god, some of his own sons killed him there with a sword.
[Lesson: After Hezekiah read the letter of insult to his God, he took the right step by calling on God to reply the insult of the Assyrians, and God, knowing that Sennacherib's source of confidence and boast was his large army and officials with him and his man-made, powerless god, sent His angel to go and disgrace him. The angel of the Lord took away his support system (destroyed his army & officials) and Sennacherib became powerless and ran back home in disgrace to the temple of his powerless god, not knowing that the All-powerful God had arranged his sons to put him to death right in the altar of his man-made god.]
That is how the Lord saved Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem. And there was peace at last throughout his realm. From then on King Hezekiah became immensely respected among the surrounding nations, and many gifts for the Lord arrived at Jerusalem, with valuable presents for King Hezekiah too.
[Lesson: Don't pray against challenges. As children of God, God uses challenges to bring out the best in us and to catapult us to an exalted place. It is also to bring glory to God's Name and for people to know the power of your God. Hezekiah probably was not happy when Sennacherib showed up, but little did he know that hidden behind the challenge/battle was a big lifting. So the right approach to challenges is not to pray against them, or to forsake God, or to get angry with God, or even to seek ungodly alternatives when challenges come. Understand immediately that God allowed the challenge because it is for your promotion if you put up the right attitude like Hezekiah did and cry out to God for help and intervention. Hezekiah (who was not previously known and respected by all nations) was suddenly held in high regard by all nations, and His God was feared among the surrounding nations after the battle. This too will be your testimony this year in Jesus' Name.]