2 Kings 18
-The looming threats of Assyrian domination are the primary theme here as the northern kingdom has now fallen and all that remains of the sons of Israel is in Judah. The LORD raises up a king that rivals, and even surpasses, David for his goodness, faith, and devotion towards his God. This king is Hezekiah, who is the son of the evil Ahaz, but this Judean king turns completely to the LORD and all of His ways. He removed the high places and broke down the sacred pagan pillars and cut down the Asherah (a wooden symbol of female deity). He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made (called Nehushtan- a piece of bronze) because the Israelites were burning idolatrous incense to it. Hezekiah trusted the LORD, the true God of Israel; He clung to the LORD and did not depart from following Him. He kept His commandments, which the LORD had given to His prophet Moses. Therefore, the LORD was with him, and wherever he went he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him (2 Kings 18:1-7). Hezekiah defeated ancient foes like the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city (2 Kings 18:8). He was the king in Judah that paralleled Hoshea, king of Israel, at the time of the siege of Samaria and the deportation into permanent Assyrian exile (2 Kings 18:9-12).
-Now in the 14th year of the reign of Hezekiah, when Sennacherib became king of Assyria, Sennacherib began to seize and take control of all the fortified cities in Judah. Hezekiah sent word to Sennacherib at Lachish that he had done wrong in rebelling and to please withdraw. Payments were made in an effort to reconcile differences (2 Kings 18:13-16). It was at this time that the king of Assyria sent some of his officials to Jerusalem with strong words of warning meant to discourage the people of Judah and its leadership. They denounced trying to get any help from their southern neighbor Egypt and implored them to capitulate to Assyrian authority with arrogant threats. They gave worldly promises of security and well-being in an attempt to weaken Judah’s resolve. They defamed the LORD with scoffing and defiant self-confidence making bold predictions about what would happen if Judah did not obey and serve them based on previous conquests (2 Kings 18:17-35). However, the people of Judah obeyed their king’s command to remain silent in the presence of their accusers. The chapter ends with the leadership officials (Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah) coming to Hezekiah with their clothes torn in lamentation and distress over the words of the Assyrian, Rabshakeh (2 Kings 18:36-37).
-*Application* First, we need to see the abundance of the LORD’s favor on His faithful servant Hezekiah. Here was a truly “good” king that was completely under the authority of the LORD and followed what was right in his conscience. He had unyielding faith and took action to obey the commands of God. How many of us can say that about ourselves? This is the mark of true spiritual maturity. God wants us to be holy even as He is holy (Leviticus 11:44-45). The LORD wants us to have His fullness and enjoy His presence forever (Psalm 16:11, Ephesians 3:19). Second, we will also face opposition to make us wonder if we are doing the right thing and tempt us to cower back in fear of man. In this chapter we see the assault of the enemy that is powerful and strong, yet a resistance is maintained because of their confidence in God. This is steadfastness and it will be tested on the crucible of fiery trial in a person’s life. The LORD will test you to see what is really in your heart (Deuteronomy 8:2, Zechariah 13:9, 1 Corinthians 3:11-16). On whom will you rely?
Verses to Memorize: 2 Kings 18:1-7