Scripture Reading – 2 Chronicles 32-33
Today’s Scripture reading is an abridged version of the reign of Hezekiah, king of Judah that has been considered in several earlier passages (2 Kings 18:17-36; 19:35-37; 20:1-21; Isaiah 16:1-22; 17:21-38; 38:1-8; 39:1-8). Today’s devotional commentary will focus solely on 2 Chronicles 32.
2 Chronicles 32 – An Enemy at the Gate
Assyria’s defeat of Israel to the north opened the way for Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, to invade Judah and lay siege to Jerusalem (32:1).
King Hezekiah consulted with his leaders and determined to enforce the city walls and deprive Assyria’s army of water by stopping the streams, and pooling the water in the city (32:2-5). Displaying his faith and confidence in the LORD, Hezekiah challenged the people:
2 Chronicles 32:7-8 – “Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more [lit. greater] with us than with him: 8 With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.”
Sending messengers and writing letters to the citizens of Jerusalem, Sennacherib spoke against Hezekiah and questioned their confidence in the king. The king of Assyria also spoke against the God of Israel, asserting their God was no greater than the gods of other nations whom he had defeated (32:9-14). Finally, Sennacherib declared that Hezekiah had deceived the people of Jerusalem, leading them to believe their God was greater than the gods of Assyria (32:15-20).
How did Hezekiah respond to the attacks on his character and the offense Sennacherib had raised against the God of Israel?
2 Chronicles 32:20 – “Hezekiah the king, and the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz, prayed and cried to heaven.”
Isaiah describes this moment observing that “Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the [Assyrian] messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up unto the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. 15 And Hezekiah prayed unto the LORD” (Isaiah 37:14-17).
Hezekiah’s focus was not on the threats of his enemy or his own strengths. The king’s faith and hope were in the LORD who heard the king’s prayer and “saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem” (32:20).
Responding as spiritual men, Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah “prayed and cried to heaven, 21 And the LORD sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria…22 Thus the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem…” (32:21-22).
2 Chronicles 32 closes with a stunning account of Hezekiah becoming ill because he failed to render to the LORD the glory God alone was due (32:25). The king was “sick to the death” (32:24); however, when the king “humbled himself” (32:26), God restored his health.
Permit me to close with an observation and application.
King Solomon taught his son, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” (Proverbs 29:2).
I have observed that precept validated many times in my lifetime. A leader’s character does matter! Whether it is the leadership of a nation, state, city, church or school, a leader’s character leaves an indelible impression on people.
Leaders who choose righteousness and justice are a source of joy; however, wicked leaders will inevitably bring a people to sorrow and ruin.
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith