Hezekiah’s Wake Up
Synopsis 2Kings 18:23-19:1 10/3/2019
Assyrian envoys had come from Lachish to persuade Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem to stop resisting the king of Assyria.
Their offer was simple. Give up the city. And, of course, Hezekiah would no longer be king. The people would be relocated to other parts of the Assyrian kingdom. And people from other parts of the kingdom would then be brought into the land of Judah and Jerusalem, to repopulate the land.
In other words, the envoys were offering the complete destruction of the Israelite nation. If they surrendered, the people would survive with only their lives.
As a counterpoint, the Assyrians assured the people that should they choose to resist, they had no hope of surviving. They pointed out that Judah had no army. And no allied nation, they claimed, could save Jerusalem – not even Egypt.
Finally, they specifically warned the people not to trust in God. They argued that no god had ever helped a nation resist the Assyrian king and his army.
And so, once the envoys had finished talking, Hezekiah’s high officials returned to him. Then, they reported all they had heard to the king.
Hezekiah’s Wake Up
The Assyrian plan had the advantage of survival. As a God-fearing king, Hezekiah was aware of his responsibility to his people. He was not indifferent to their survival or their sufferings.
So, the thought of surrendering in order to preserve the lives of the people must have had some appeal.
But then the envoys went too far. They blasphemed the name of God by casting doubt on His ability to save the people. And this served as a wake-up call to Hezekiah. Hearing this, he suddenly realized the Assyrians had gone too far. In an instant, it became clear to Hezekiah that the Israelites were being lured to their ultimate destruction through talk of personal survival.
If they capitulated, they would lose their culture and their ability to relate to God as the children of Israel. And to not have the ability to relate to God was a fate worse than death.
The Brink of Seduction
Seduction is the effort to convince a person to do something that is not good for them, by suggesting it really is good for them. Usually, a seducer uses the attractiveness of pleasure as the lure to persuade.
Of course, the power of seduction is that the suggestion seems plausible. The seducer speaks. And what he says seems like it might, just possibly, bring a desirable outcome.
But, like it was for Adam and Eve, there is always something about an attempt to seduce that fails to ring true. So, when I’m tempted in this way, something in my deepest crevice of my spirit screams. I know the seducer’s plan really isn’t good. But I am, after all, a slave to pleasure. My soul can outshout my spirit.
So what I find is that my only real hope is to keep my eyes on Jesus. Focused attention. It’s all I have.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths.” Prov 3:5