King Hezekiah was a remarkable man. He is mentioned in ten books of the Bible and is remembered as a godly king. During his thirty-year reign as King of Judah he reversed the ungodly policies of his father, King Ahaz, who was an exceedingly evil man. (Note: Ahaz was an idol-worshiper who not only loved false gods, but also hated the one true God of Israel. He replaced the altar in the Temple with an altar to Baal, destroyed the furnishings of the Temple, and even nailed its doors shut so that no one could worship there. Worst of all, he sacrificed — burned alive — some of Hezekiah’s brothers to one of his idols! See 2 Chronicles 28:1-27.)
Into that environment Hezekiah was born. When he took over as king he began to right the wrongs of his father, ridding Judah of all the idols, reopening the Temple for worship, and reinstituting the observance of Passover. Hezekiah’s zeal for the Lord spark a national revival. “He held fast to the Lord” and there was never another king as godly as him (v.5-6). But just because a person lives a godly life does not mean they will never have any problems…
In the fourteenth year of Hezekiah’s reign the King of Assyria, Sennacherib, attacked Judah. (Note: this historical account is recorded three times in the Bible: here, 2 Chronicles 32, and Isaiah 36-37. I think God wanted to make sure we didn’t miss this!) Hezekiah had stopped the tribute payments to Assyria (money paid to keep them from attacking), and Sennacherib had come for the money. Knowing the strength of the Assyrian army, Hezekiah paid a huge sum, but it was not enough to satisfy Sennacherib’s lust for power. The pagan king sent his officials to Jerusalem to force a surrender, led by the Rabshakeh (a title for the king’s personal representative). This man was a terrorist, and he began shouting threats in the streets of Jerusalem, attempting to undermine the authority of Hezekiah and the people’s new-found faith in the Lord. The Rabshakeh’s threats were vicious: “Do not let Hezekiah deceive you”, “Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord”, “Do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, ‘The Lord will deliver us'” (v.29, 30, 32).
The Rabshakeh hated the one true God. He hated God’s people and wanted to rule their lives. He reminds me of another terrorist — Satan. Satan is a liar, a deceiver, and a discourager. He wants to convince you that God cannot be trusted and that faith in Him is futile. Satan will twist God’s Word in order to confuse you (v.25) and promise you things that are not his to give, like life and happiness (v.31-32). But don’t fall for it — his promises are empty and his real objective is to steal, kill, and destroy your life (see John 10:10 and 1 Peter 5:8). Your only hope is to run to the Lord and trust Him to protect you. That is exactly what King Hezekiah did, and we will read about that tomorrow.