August 24, 2023
“Then the Rabshakeh said to them, ‘Say now to Hezekiah, “Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: 'What confidence is this in which you trust?'”
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“Then the Rabshakeh said to them, ‘Say now to Hezekiah, “Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: ‘What confidence is this in which you trust? You speak of having plans and power for war; but they are mere words. And in whom do you trust, that you rebel against me? Now look! You are trusting in the staff of this broken reed, Egypt, on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him. But if you say to me, “We trust in the Lord our God,” is it not He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, and said to Judah and Jerusalem, “You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem”’? 2 Kings 18:19-22 (NKJV)
I sincerely miss those days in my early 20s when I was young in my faith. I took the Bible at face value and boldly and unashamedly set to live out God’s Word. I took risks based on faith, and the Lord proved Himself faithful. As He was faithful to reveal His Word to me, I was faithful to trust His Word by obeying it, and in turn, He would bring to pass the things He led me to accomplish. So, my faith grew. I remember one time when car expenses had drained my bank account. I went to the mailbox to find a letter from a friend in another city who felt the Lord had led them to write me a random bank check that turned out to be exactly what my expenses were for the rest of the month! I remember the first time, though, when I really felt I needed provision from the Lord, but it did not come in the time frame in which I expected it. I got so despondent. I was depressed, actually. It was as if I had forgotten all the faithful things the Lord had done. I began to doubt if any of those earlier situations were truly from the Lord or whether I had just imagined it all along. That was the beginning of a process where I came to realize that God was building my faith to trust Him in bigger things for longer periods of time.
Hezekiah must have felt that way, as the army of Assyria was at his gates. Where had the God of the reforms retreated, the God who allowed Hezekiah to tear down the former high places? It is hard for us when God seems silent. And we must learn to trust in the One who says He will never leave of forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6-8; Hebrews 13:5) So, what was the testimony of Hezekiah when the Assyrian army came knocking? He feared Assyria more than the Lord! And his fear rose to the point of stripping gold and silver from the house of the Lord to pay the Assyrian king to leave. (2 Kings 18:14-16)
But what was the testimony that the Lord wanted to hear from Hezekiah? Notice the question the Assyrian Rabshakeh asked: “But if you say to me, ‘We trust in the Lord our God,’ is it not He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, and said to Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem’?” (2 Kings 18:22) Why would he assume that the God of Israel would be angry with Hezekiah for tearing down idols? Because of the false testimony of the Israelite priests from Samaria. (2 Kings 17:24-29) God allowed the Assyrian army to stand at the gate of Jerusalem so the king of Judah could testify on behalf of the true God of Israel! How do you respond when He brings opportunities for you to testify?