II KINGS 19:14-16: “Hezekiah took the letter from the messengers’ hands, read it, then went up to the Lord’s temple, and spread it out before the Lord. Then Hezekiah prayed before the Lord: Lord God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you are God — you alone — of all the kingdoms of the earth. You made the heavens and the earth. Listen closely, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see. Hear the words that Sennacherib has sent to mock the living God.” CSB
OBSERVATION: What can I do when I am surrounded with overwhelming circumstances that are beyond any human solution? When I am pressed against the wall and the everything looks impossible, how do I respond?
Hezekiah was faced with such circumstances. The King of Assyria had already deposed the King of Israel (Northern Tribes) and exiled them from their land. Now, the King of Assyria sent his army and leading officer to surround Judah in Jerusalem. Assyria had already defeated Judah’s outlying cities. Assyria surrounded Jerusalem with an army of over 200,000 soldiers. They were poised for battle.
Yet, Assyria did not simply attack Judah. They taunted them first. The leading officer spoke to the soldiers on the wall and the king’s representatives in Hebrew, mocking the God of Israel. He recounted how the King of Assyria had defeated all other gods and kingdoms, and noted that Judah’s god would be just one more in a line of victories. He called for them to surrender and be exiled from their promised land and the Temple of the living God. The situation seemed impossible.
There are many times in life when we will be surrounded by circumstances, and even people, that create issues that seem impossible to overcome. The enemy of our souls, like the leading officer of Assyria, will come and mock our faith and trust in God. The voices of conventional wisdom will advise us to simply give up and surrender to the circumstances. Or worse yet, they will advise us to take up arms (our own human effort) and enter into battle. What should we do when we are found in this situation?
Hezekiah did the only thing that he was able to do. He knew he could not fight, and he knew that surrender was not an option. He went into the presence of the Lord in the Temple. In God’s presence he placed the letter from the Assyrian official before the Lord, and he cried out to Yahweh, the one true God, for mercy and grace. Hezekiah knew that Assyria was not really threatening or demeaning his rule. Assyria was mocking the rule and reign of Yaweh, the one true God, the Creator of all things!
When we are faced with insurmountable circumstances it is no different. The whispers of doubt and fear are really not directed against us, they are directed against our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We hear the whisper – “If God really loves you, then why are you in the situation you are in?” The goal of the enemy is to get us to stop trusting in the Lord and begin trusting in our own human efforts or wisdom. Yet, if we fall prey to the enemy’s tactics, we are really running head first into the fire.
We will definitely do the wrong thing!
Hezekiah knew this. He appealed to the sovereignty and holiness of God. He humbled himself before the Lord and laid down all of his plans to hear the voice of the Lord.
- “Lord, it is true that the kings of Assyria have devastated the nations and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but made by human hands — wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. Now, Lord our God, please save us from his power so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Lord, are God — you alone.” 2 Kings 19:17-19 CSB
And the Lord heard Hezekiah’s prayer. Through the prophet Isaiah, Hezekiah was assured that the Lord would deliver Judah from the hand of Assyria. The Lord rebuked the King of Assyria through the words of the prophet Isaiah. And the Lord brought words of comfort and assurance to the heart of King Hezekiah and the people of Judah!
- “This will be the sign for you: This year you will eat what grows on its own, and in the second year what grows from that. But in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit. The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward. For a remnant will go out from Jerusalem, and survivors, from Mount Zion. The zeal of the Lord of Armies will accomplish this.” 2 Kings 19:29-31 CSB
They would not be decimated. They would not starve. The armies of Assyria would not ravage Judah. And how would this happen? Was it through a new strategy that Hezekiah or Isaiah thought up? No! It was through the zeal of the Lord of Armies. The Lord Himself would accomplish this. And the Lord did. The very next morning the leading officer awoke to find 185,000 of his Assyrian troops dead in the camp. He, and the rest of those that were left, retreated and did not come back to confront Judah. The Lord delivered Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem!
It is hard to simply wait and pray when we are surrounded by insurmountable odds. Yet, this is the most powerful thing that we can do. We only see the moment. God sees eternity. We only know in part. God knows all. When there is nothing I can do, there is something I can do. I can humble myself and pray. The God of heaven’s armies is on my side. He is my Lord, my defender, and my friend. I can fully place my life in His hands. He has delivered me, He is delivering me, and He will yet deliver me.
- “We don’t want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of our affliction that took place in Asia. We were completely overwhelmed — beyond our strength — so that we even despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and he will deliver us. We have put our hope in him that he will deliver us again while you join in helping us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gift that came to us through the prayers of many.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 CSB
Lord, whenever I feel surrounded by insurmountable odds, remind me that I do not have the wisdom or the strength within myself to face them. Grant me the blessed assurance that You always go before me and that You never leave my side. God of Heaven’s Armies – whenever I am in distress, intervene, save, heal, rescue, and deliver – as only You can. Let Your perfect will be done in my life!
In Jesus Name!