Approximately two and half millennia ago, a great king reigned over Judah in the land of Israel. His name Hezekiah means Yahweh strengthens. Across the River Jordan, reigned another powerful king by the name Sennacherib, King of Assyria.
“Your enemy could be living just across the river.”
Assyria was a superpower. We can observe this in the Scripture. Surrounding countries were forced to serve Assyrians, and indeed Hezekiah paid tribute to Sennacherib. Hezekiah gave everything he had until the treasury became empty. Funnily the King of Assyria was not satisfied. It is the same case with the enemy we encounter as Christians. The more we give in to him, the more he wants. Satan is never satisfied with our corrupt ways. The more we perpetuate evil, the more he would want us to proceed on that pathway.
Sennacherib mobilised his forces immediately Hezekiah ran out of goodies for him. He came upon Judah in shock and awe. Sweeping like a hurricane, he crushed the rest of Judah except Jerusalem. Nevertheless, the city of David was to suffer the same fate in no time. Sennacherib breathed fire and brimstone and threatened to smash the city to smithereens. Chabad tells us that it was a time of Passover. Instead of merrymaking and jubilation, Hezekiah and his people were full of grief and sorrow. They had received an intimidation letter from the Assyrian King. Hezekiah decided to seek divine intervention through prayer.
“Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God. It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, Lord, are God.”
2 Kings 19:14-19
God answered this prayer through Prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz. The angel of death smote the Assyrians at night. Sennacherib woke up to level Jerusalem only to bump into corpses of his fighting men. He was utterly demoralised that he went his way to pray to his god. Chabad tells us that he promised his god a sacrifice of his two sons if the god could restore him to the prestigious position he enjoyed before he messed with Judah. The sons he was to offer killed him and ran away. The other son Esarhaddon took over.
The threats of life
What kind of perils are you facing in life? Are they more powerful than Yahweh? Are you under siege?
We take comfort in the fact that the God of the Bible hears and answers prayers. He has the final say. He knows the right time to break the camp of the enemy.
He may not always stop Sennacherib from accosting us, but He will not allow him to enter Jerusalem. Anxiety, grief, fear, blames and counter blames, regrets and sullenness will not force the enemy away. Our praises, prayers and pleas will cause God to send His angel into our situations.