“Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you from my hand. Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord by saying, ‘The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ Do not listen to Hezekiah, for thus says the King of Assyria, ‘Make your peace with me and come out to me. Then each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern, until I come and take you away to a land like your own… Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?” (2 Kings 18:29-35 ESV)
Sennacherib, King of Assyria, shouted this and much more at the city gates of Jerusalem. He stood there with his vast army trying to convince Judah to open up their gates to him without even a fight. He had already taken captive most of Judah and now he was about to land the final blow against the Capital City.
To the people of that day, these battles were as much a contest of gods as they were of steel. The victor’s gods were assumed to be more powerful. Sennacherib boasted of all the other nation’s gods that he had defeated. Besides, he had already taken most of Judah. Sennacherib even added, “The Lord said to me, ‘Go up against this land and destroy it.’”
Israel definitely carried a lot of guilt. They had just finished cleansing themselves from generations of deep sin. They had nothing to boast about spiritually. This definitely wouldn’t be the first time the curse of their past sins overtook them.
Read what Sennacherib says very carefully: Doesn’t this sound familiar? Isn’t this EXACTLY the same anxiety, fear, and guilt we battle mentally every day?
The name “Sennacherib” means “sin” and “destruction.”
“Make peace with me. Come out to me–open your gates. I have never lost a battle. Do not trust in the Lord to save you. Even if he could, why would he? Your sins are too great. You cannot win. Let’s negotiate. I will bring you peace if you serve me instead. You will live in a land like your own–but you will be safe at last.”
Wouldn’t that be nice? To be able to stop fighting? To finally have peace and safety?
This is where most devotionals will say something like “Don’t listen to the enemy! Resist him!” I won’t say that. For one thing, that’s pretty obvious. For another: that’s not what Hezekiah said to do. Sennacherib’s words were all but begging Israel to come out and fight–or not fight. Anything to get their attention onto him.
Because there was no way they could win.
Judah was truly hopeless. Whether in words or in battle, they would lose. Sennacherib had then cornered on every angle. That’s why Hezekiah’s command was not “Fight the lies!”
“But the people were silent and answered him not a word, for the king’s command was ‘Do not answer him’ …as soon as King Hezekiah heard [Sennacherib’s words], he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the Lord (2 Kings 18:36; 19:1 ESV. Emphasis mine).
Do not answer the lies. Do not fight. Do nothing.
This is NOT your battle! This is not about you. This is about God’s Name.
Is God who he says he is or not? That’s not you asking that question–it’s the devil. The devil has taken God to court and accused him of being a liar. “God’s not really trustworthy. He cannot deliver. He’s full of empty promises.”
God’s Name is sacred and powerful. At the very name of Jesus every knee will bow! The more you read the Bible (especially the Old Testament) the more you feel the weight of how important God’s Name is to Him.
God’s Name is all we have to hang onto. In times of trouble, we can go straight to him with the devil’s lies and say, “Are you gonna let him talk to you like that?”It’s not about you! Take it straight to the top. This is God’s battle for His Name. The devil has made it about God now. We can hide behind God’s Name.
That’s what Jesus died to give us: Himself.
When the lies from the enemy are overwhelming, I’m praying this along with Hezekiah over myself and my home:
“Hezekiah received the letter from [Sennacherib, full of lies,] and read it; and Hezekiah went up the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord. ‘O Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned above 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 mock the living God. Truly, O 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 were destroyed. So now, O Lord our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Lord, are God alone,’” (2 Kings 19:14-19 ESV. Emphasis mine).
The ending? That night an Angel came and killed 185,000 of Sennacherib’s army. He and his army went home and Sennacherib was assassinated by his own sons in the temple of his god.
This is what it means to be saved by Jesus! His Name and Righteousness covers you. It’s time you take that fact to the bank against whatever the enemy is doing in your life or your family.
This is God’s battle now.