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After Hezekiah had been king for quite some time, the Assyrian army came to attack them. They surrounded many of the towns in Judah, and then the Assyrian king sent his messengers and part of his big army to surround Jerusalem, God’s City.
The enemy messengers stood outside the city wall and started yelling for everyone to hear, “What are you people trusting in? Your army is nothing against us. You’re probably thinking your God will save you. Well guess what? Your God is the one who told the king of Assyria to come destroy you! Assyria is doing just what your God commanded, and when our army surrounds your city, you’re all going to be thirsty and starving. So don’t let your King Hezekiah trick you when he says your God will rescue you. He’s just making that up. You can’t trust Hezekiah. Our army is strong, and your God can’t save you.”
None of the people answered the mean men who were yelling though — because King Hezekiah had ordered them not to answer those enemies.
But, that could have been a tricky message. Do you know why? Because remember… not long before God had allowed Assyria to take over the Northern Kingdom of Israel. And God had clearly said through His prophets, including Isaiah, that God had used Assyria to punish Israel for their wickedness. All the people knew this, and the enemy probably knew it too.
So was God really sending Assyria to punish the Southern Kingdom of Judah now, too? Or was it a trick? Was the Assyrian King just using something that had happened in the past to twist and lie and convince the people that God wouldn’t save them? Hmmm. Let’s see what happens.
When King Hezekiah’s men told him what the Assyrians had said, he was very upset and tore his clothes. He was probably sad, and maybe even confused and afraid. But do you know what he did? First I’ll tell you what he didn’t do. He didn’t sit down and start crying because of all the nasty things the enemy was saying about him. Instead he did two very important and wise things.
One: Hezekiah went straight into God’s House to talk to God about it. And two: He sent some men to talk to Isaiah about it.
That was very wise and humble of him. He didn’t just say, “I’m the king, so talking to God myself is enough.” And he didn’t just say, “Someone go talk to Isaiah so he’ll tell me what to do so that I don’t have to pray myself.” No way!
Hezekiah humbled himself and prayed before God, AND he humbled himself to ask for help by involving Isaiah, God’s Heaven-Seeing person. Because sometimes you need others’ Heaven-Seeing Eyes too, to help see the difference between “tricky” things that might sound “possible,” but that aren’t True.
“Isaiah,” Hezekiah said in his message, “what a day of troubles and insults! What does the Living God think about the bad things these Assyrians are saying against Him? Will God punish them? Please ask God to save us, His shining survivors.”
It’s worth knowing that Hezekiah had done his job as king by encouraging the army and strengthening the city wall against attackers. He was doing his best to stand and fight, but he knew he needed God.
After Isaiah got Hezekiah’s message, Isaiah sent a message back to him saying, “Hezekiah, here’s what God says: ‘Don’t be afraid because of the things you’ve heard — it’s Me they’ve insulted. So just watch. I’m going to deal with this Myself.’“
After that, the King of Assyria sent a mean letter to Hezekiah. The letter had the same nasty message from before, saying that God couldn’t save them and that their Almighty God was just like all the just-pretend gods of the world.
Once again, King Hezekiah did a very wise thing. He took that nasty letter — with all those threats, insults and twisted things the enemy was saying — and spread out the letter before God in God’s House. He said to God, “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies who is on the throne above the angels! You alone are in control over all the kingdoms of the earth. You made the sky and the earth. Please hear and see this, Lord! Listen to this whole nasty letter and hear how this wicked king puts you down! Lord, it’s true that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all the other nations, and their just-pretend gods couldn’t save them. But now, our God, rescue us so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are Lord.”
Guess what? God answered Hezekiah’s prayer by talking to Isaiah.
Isaiah said, “God said, ‘Assyria has insulted Me and tried to pick a fight with Me! He thinks he’s going to trap My People in their city, but shining survivors will one day come out of Zion. Things might be tough for awhile, but I will take care of them. You’ll know this is true because you’ll eat food growing wild for awhile but you will plant your fields again! And I will plant your roots deep in the ground.
‘The king of Assyria will not go into My City, or even shoot an arrow into it. He will go back the way he came. I will shield My City and rescue it, for the sake of My reputation and because of My promise to David My servant.’”
Sure enough, God sent an angel to wipe out 185,000 of the Assyrian troops. When the king of Assyria woke up the next morning and saw what had happened, he packed up and went home… where he was killed, just as God had said would happen. God knows how to take care of His own business, doesn’t He? Yup!