Author: Bill Elliff Date: Jan. 29, 2013
Can I read the newspaper for you today, but use a slightly different historical context? The people of the nation had sinned against the Lord.
Everything God told them (the Israelites) not to do, they did. Even when He sent prophets to warn and counsel them, they did not listen (2 Kings 18).
And so, as always, God sent His judgment. Oppression came into the land. Things did not go well in the nation. Sound familiar?
God brought His judgments—in this case through the Assyrians. But there was one man who stood up.
When Hezekiah became king of Judah, he broke the chain. He followed the Lord, and the remaining story is a beautiful reminder of what can happen when one man follows God.
He clung to the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD had commanded Moses. And the LORD was with him; wherever he went he prospered. And he rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him (2 Kings 18:6-7 NASB).
Righteous, Spiritual Rebellion
It seems there is a right time to rebel against a godless oppressor (a fact we would do well to remember). Hezekiah stood up against Assyria and its pagan king.
So Assyria sent a huge army against Hezekiah. Assyrian commanders tried to intimidate him into surrendering, and it made every bit of military sense to surrender.
But . . . there was an ally on Hezekiah’s side that the Assyrians did not comprehend. It was an unseen army led by the angel of the Lord.
Any good military leader knows when it’s time to quit. But Hezekiah knew God. He had been walking with Him and clinging to Him for a long time, and something about this moment didn’t seem right.
So he called on the Greater Force. Twice in the ensuing conflict, Hezekiah models for us what must be done when we are besieged by God’s enemies, and His name is being blasphemed in the land:
When King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth and entered the house of the LORD (2 Kings 19:1).
Then Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it, and he went up to the house of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD (2 Kings 19:14).
God heard and answered. He always does.
Isaiah had prophesied that the Lord would return the Assyrians to their own land. In three short verses we read the end of the story:
Then it happened that night that the angel of the LORD went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, behold, all of them were dead. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home, and lived at Nineveh. It came about as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son became king in his place (2 Kings 19:35-37).
Boom! Done! Problem solved in a matter of a few sentences. Why?
One courageous man said, “I’m not going to let this wicked ruler blaspheme my God.” Then, he turned in the one direction that mattered. He prayed, in humility and brokenness, and the great Defender of His People answered.
Our Current Battle
What are we facing right now in our land? Are we in a time of judgment because of our sins? Are there enemies blaspheming the name of our God, making a mockery of His truth? Are pagan practices (like the killing of children) flooding our land? Is the land groaning under the rule of unrighteous men?
Will we stand up and rebel? Not with military might, but by clinging to our God, calling on the One who stands above all and can change the course of a nation in an instant.
And when God’s enemies confront us, will we lay it out before God and seek Him so He can do what no human force could ever accomplish? Or will we try to fight those battles with the arm of flesh?
We are waiting for God to come in revival and awakening and change our land.
Some are putting their hope in a political leader or process that will magically usher in massive spiritual reform.
Others think if we’ll just work a little harder, everything will change.
I wonder if God is waiting
for one courageous rebel
who will bow down in spiritual rebellion
against God’s enemies
and cry out to Him . . .