Today’s “Bible Pick ‘Ems” comes from the book of 2 Kings 19.
A little background first.
Sennacherib has recently become the king of Assyria. He is the son of Sargon II, the king who had deported Israel’s people into captivity. To keep Assyria from attacking, the southern kingdom of Judah had been paying an annual tribute. But when Sennacherib became king, Hezekiah (the king of Judah) stopped paying this money. Sennacherib and his army retaliated, capturing all the fortified cities of Judah.
Finally, Sennacherib sent a message to Hezekiah, calling for his surrender, and taunting his God.
What did Hezekiah do?
He went to the Temple and prayed…
He sought the Lord’s help.
Though this story took place in history, a long time ago, I think there are some real nuggets of wisdom and encouragement that can apply to us today.
So, when we read this story, let’s pretend that Sennacherib is Satan, our “enemy” – taunting and menacing – and we are Hezekiah. Listen to some of the dialogue in that frame of mind:
“After Hezekiah received the letter…he went up to the LORD’S Temple and spread it out before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed...’Bend down, O LORD, and listen! Open your eyes, O LORD, and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God…Now, O LORD our God, rescue us from his power…’” (2 Kings 19:14-16, 19)
Hezekiah had it right. He went immediately and boldly to the Lord. He presented his predicament, his petition – he “spread it out before the Lord.” He prayed.
A good example to follow.
And yet, I’m ashamed to admit, sometimes God is my “last resort.”
I read “the enemy’s” letter – and I don’t turn to the only One who can help me.
How often do I listen to Satan’s taunts, allowing myself to be intimidated by him, to be influenced by him – to let him defy God by trying to convince me that God is NOT listening, NOT in control, NOT good?
How often do I let him threaten me – “You know, God’s promises aren’t true. Look at all the struggles you’re having, the trial and hardships. God doesn’t care. You’re just a victim of circumstances, tossed around by fate, and I am going to conquer you.”
Lord, forgive me.
So, what happened in this confrontation between Sennacherib and Hezekiah?
Well, God HIMSELF replied to Sennacherib’s snide words (and I picture Him saying the same thing to Satan):
“Whom have you been defying and ridiculing? Against whom did you raise your voice? At whom did you look with such haughty eyes? It was the Holy One of Israel!...you have defied the Lord…But I know you well – where you stay and when you come and go. I know the way you have raged against me. And because of your arrogance…I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth…” (2 Kings 19:22, 25, 27-28)
Sennacherib believed his kingdom and power had grown because of his own efforts and strength. Sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it?!
But in reality, he succeeded only because of what God had allowed and caused.
God is the Supreme Ruler, the Sovereign One.
So, today’s “Bible Pick ‘Ems” brings us these lessons:
Immediately go to God with ALL your problems –
especially the scary ones.
Refuse to listen to “the enemy” –
don’t be intimidated, don’t be influenced.
Don’t believe Satan’s lies – especially about God.
God is in TOTAL control.
He listens to us, He cares, He is good…all the time.
Oh yeah…one more thing.
GOD IS VICTORIOUS!!
“When in doubt, search God out!”