How To Stand Up Against The Enemy
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:14
If ever a man had reason to feel that God had let him down, that man was Hezekiah. “Hezekiah who?” you may be saying. Hezekiah, the king of Judah who ascended the throne of David about 726 B.C. If you’re a bit rusty on Old Testament history, I’ll brief you. Having replaced his father Ahaz, who had been a careless ruler, Hezekiah got his act together. He began a great reformation. He broke down the idols Ahaz had set up. He re-opened the temple, and restored the service of God. He even dipped into his own funds to provide for restoration and repairs.
Isaiah the prophet was his trusted friend and advisor and then, in the 6th year of his reign, the Northern Kingdom fell. True, Israel was often an enemy of Judah, but they were all related by blood through David, who had established the kingdom. And when Assyria wiped out the Northern Kingdom and took them captives in chains, Hezekiah knew that his borders were more vulnerable.
Then Sennacherib moved against Judah! Here’s the text. “After all that Hezekiah had so faithfully done, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah!” Did Hezekiah feel God had let him down? Did he feel that God owed him better treatment than he got? If so, he didn’t say so. Why? Hezekiah had faced the enemy more than once and had learned that what counts isn’t the strength of your enemy but the strength of your defense, and he had learned God can be that defense.
How Hezekiah faced a formidable enemy and won gives us insight for facing the enemies of life today, who in their own way are just as ferocious as any Assyrian warrior who ever lifted up a sword in battle. Before I tell you how he faced the enemy, I want to remind you that the Assyrian soldier was about as tough and mean a character as ever assembled on any battlefield. Go to some of the great museums of the world and you will see reliefs of Sennacherib’s army with their coats of mail, their swords and weapons. It is said that Lenin, Hitler, and Stalin were all disciples of Assyrian military policy. It was a formidable adversary which confronted Hezekiah, one who had proved to be among the world’s most terrible.
You will find the whole text in the Old Testament, chapter 32 of 2 Chronicles. In studying Hezekiah’s response, you notice two very important guidelines which will help you no matter who or what has come to invade your private world. Hezekiah first did what he could do himself. He built walls supporting the walls which were already there. He made weapons; he encouraged the men in the army by reminding them that with Sennacherib was only the arm of flesh, but with them was the “LORD our God to help them and to fight their battles.” All of that was true, but Hezekiah didn’t stop there.
The second prong of his approach was this. “King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah…cried out in prayer to heaven about this” (2 Chronicles 32:20). The government and the religious community united their hearts in fervent prayer. They didn’t talk about prayer. They prayed! And what happened?
God gave tremendous deliverance. Today, I have just enough time to make an application.
In confronting the problems facing you, learn from Hezekiah. Do what you can yourself. Encourage others to join you and stand together in prayer, and realize the God who gave deliverance to Hezekiah will also give deliverance to you.
Resource reading: 2 Chronicles 32:1-33