“Hezekiah encouraged them with this address: “Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid of the king of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side! He may have a great army, but they are just men. We have the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!” These words greatly encouraged the people.
2 Chronicles 32:6b-8
These words have also greatly encouraged people for centuries. Yes, we do have a power far greater on our side but I believe that King Hezekiah had confidence in uttering these words because of the action he and his people took in the chapters prior.
These great words were uttered as the Assyrian king, Sennacherib, began to lay siege to the towns of Judah and as King Hezekiah was fortifying Jerusalem to ready it for an attack by this same invading force.
This chapter in 2 Chronicles opens with these key words: “After Hezekiah had faithfully carried out this work …”
The previous chapters recount Hezekiah’s religious reforms:
- Reopening the Temple in Jerusalem
- Restoring the true and proper worship there
- Taking care of the Levites and priests as prescribed by the law
- Celebrating the Passover as God intended (even following the rule to celebrate one month later if needed due to sanctification reasons)
- Sacrificing the sin and peace offerings for the entire nation of Israel
- Tearing down all pagan shrines and temples.
It was as a result of clearing out the false gods that had stolen their hearts and returning to the One True God, that King Hezekiah was confident in proclaiming that God – the God who King Sennacherib mocks openly in chapter 32 – would come to their rescue and not allow their enemies to prevail against them.
I love that King Hezekiah sets about these religious reforms long before there was a threat on his land by the king of Assyria. Sometimes it takes a threat to move people to action, but King Hezekiah’s changes were a direct result of his love for God. Verse three of chapter 29 states that “in the very first month of the first year of his reign, Hezekiah reopened the doors of the Temple of the Lord and repaired them.” (emphasis added)
He didn’t wait!
He combined his faith in God’s ability with prayer (2 Chronicles 32:20) and God answered in a big way. They didn’t even have to leave the safety of Jerusalem’s walls to defeat the invading Assyrian force.
“And the Lord sent an angel who destroyed the Assyrian army with all its commanders and officers. So Sennacherib was forced to return home in disgrace to his own land.” ~ 2 Chronicles 32:21
Furthermore, when he returned to his home, some of his sons killed him with a sword in the temple of his own god.
It’s time to return to the worship of our God – the one true God – and to do right by Him in how we live our lives. It’s time to clear out the idols we hold dear and toss them into the wastelands. To rejoice in His feasts and enjoy the fact that He will pass over our iniquities because of the Blood of the Lamb that covers us. To sing again the Psalms of David, to build up our faith and to cry out for His deliverance in our lives.
There’s a precedent here … one that God honors every time it’s carried out in sincerity of heart: He has a way of escape for you. Perhaps an angel, perhaps confusion in the enemy’s camp, or maybe he will strengthen you to fight. Either way, He is sure to bring victory over what assails you, if you will turn fully to Him.