When the Enemy Makes Sense

When the Enemy Makes Sense

Then the Rabshakeh said to them, “Say now to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: “What confidence is this in which you trust? You speak of having plans and power for war; but they are mere words. And in whom do you trust, that you rebel against me?”’” (2 Kings 18:19-20)

The field commander of the Assyrian army (who had the title Rabshakeh) represented the Assyrian King Sennacherib. When the Assyrian army surrounded Jerusalem, he did his best to get King Hezekiah to surrender. He stood in a public place and spoke to all who would listen.

When the Enemy Makes Sense

The Rabshakeh seemed to be in complete command of the situation. He could walk right into the city of Jerusalem, and stand at the crucial water supply – which was Jerusalem’s life-line in a siege attack. As he stood there, three officials from Hezekiah’s government came to meet him.

With all listening, he said this: What confidence is this in which you trust? We might wish that Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, and the Rabshakeh mocked his trust in God. Instead, Hezekiah put his hope in an alliance with Egypt, and the Rabshakeh wanted him to lose confidence in that alliance.

It was a great temptation for Hezekiah during this time to make a defensive alliance with Egypt, which seemed to be the only nation strong enough to protect Judah against the mighty Assyrians. As a prophet, Isaiah did everything he could to discourage Hezekiah and the leaders of Judah from putting their trust in Egypt (Isaiah 19:11-17, 20:1-6, 30:1-7). The LORD wanted Judah to trust Him instead of Egypt.

In this sense, the Rabshakeh spoke the truth. God wanted Judah to have no confidence in Egypt at all. But the Rabshakeh did not do this to bring Judah to a firm trust in the LORD, who could and would deliver them from the Assyrians. He did it to completely demoralize Judah and drive them to despair.

Satan often attacks us the same way. The devil may tell us the truth – something like, “You are such a rotten sinner!” But Satan never does it to lead us to a firm trust in the LORD our God. When we hear that we are rotten sinners, we should reply like this: “Jesus died for sinners, so if I am a rotten sinner, Jesus died to forgive and free me!” Instead, Satan’s strategy – even if he tells us the truth – is always to demoralize us and drive us to despair.

From the perspective of the unbeliever, Sennacherib asked a valid question: And in whom do you trust, that you rebel against me? Those who don’t yet believe can’t understand the trust we have in God – the trust that makes us live different than the world. We can’t expect them to understand the strength God can give us to rebel against the world, the flesh, and the devil. God helping us – we will!

Click here for David’s commentary on 2 Kings 18

Hear and Do

Hören und Tun

Weil sie der Stimme des Herrn, ihres Gottes, nicht gehorcht und seinen Bund gebrochen hatten, alles, was Mose, der Knecht des Herrn, gebot; sie hatten nicht darauf gehört und es nicht getan. (2. Könige 18,12) Wie wissen nicht genau, wer der Autor vom 1. und 2. Buch der Könige ist. Doch in diesem Vers sehen […]

No Deal with the Devil

No Deal With the Devil

So Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the LORD and in the treasuries of the king’s house. At that time Hezekiah stripped the gold from the doors of the temple of the LORD, and from the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria. (2 Kings 18:15-16)

Hezekiah was a good king over the people of God. In fact, he was one of the better kings of Judah, but apart from Jesus Christ no king is perfect. Here we see one of the bad or foolish things that Hezekiah did.

No Deal With the Devil

When the king of Assyria conquered the northern kingdom of Israel, he attacked the southern kingdom of Judah next. He conquered many of the fortified cities. The mention of Lachish is important to historians and archaeologists. The British Museum displays the Assyrian carvings depicting the siege of the city of Lachish, which was an important fortress city of Judah. Lachish was thirty miles (50 kilometers) southwest of Jerusalem.

In the British Museum there is a wall carving from Sennacherib’s royal palace in Nineveh. It shows King Sennacherib on a throne in his military camp outside Lachish. Captured Judean prisoners of war march by on foot, and all the booty from the city is displayed on wagons.

After Lachish, only Jerusalem was left. If Assyria captured Jerusalem, it was all over. So, King Hezekiah sent a message to Lachish for the King of Assyria. In the message he humbled himself before the pagan king. He apologized and offered to pay a large tribute to Sennacherib so that he would not conquer Jerusalem.

Maybe Hezekiah thought that since the Northern Kingdom was recently conquered and that all the fortified cities of Judah had been captured, God had demonstrated that He would not intervene on behalf of Judah. Maybe this made Hezekiah feel that he had to do something himself.

It could be that this idea was strengthened in Hezekiah when he remembered the wickedness of his own father Ahaz. Maybe Hezekiah thought that because of their prior sin, Judah deserved such judgment.

What did Hezekiah do? So Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the LORD and in the treasuries of the king’s house. Hezekiah hoped that this policy of appeasement would make Judah safe. He was wrong, and his policy only impoverished Judah and the temple and made the king of Assyria bolder than ever against Judah.

King Sennacherib took all the silver and gold that Hezekiah gave. But it didn’t buy him off. He took it all and still wanted Jerusalem and Hezekiah’s throne.

Don’t think you can ever make a deal with the devil. You can try to “buy him off” with small compromises and sins. But Satan will never be satisfied with those things. He will take them – and then go after your soul. Do what Hezekiah should have done: trust the LORD instead.

Click here for David’s commentary on 2 Kings 18

Bible on wood table

For Him, Through Him, To Him

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

How was your weekend? If God gave you the opportunity to preach or teach His Word, I pray that it was effective and that you were able to enjoy being God’s messenger.

Today I want to share an encouragement with you from Romans 11:36:

For of Him
and through Him
and to Him are all things,
to whom be glory forever. Amen.

At the end of Romans 11, the Apostle Paul made this remarkable statement. It is something for every believer to think about, but it has some special relevance for those who serve God, and those who serve in the ministry of God’s Word.

Bible on wood table

There is a wonderful poetic rhythm to these words: For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things. F.B. Meyer noted that each of these are basic, one-syllable words. These are words you might find in a children’s book – but no one can truly exhaust their meaning.

Our ministry is all of Him. I trust that you are called by God, and not just self-appointed. When one is really called to the ministry, they know that their work is of Him. If it is only of us, what is the point?

Our ministry is all through Him. We earnestly desire that everything we do be done through Jesus Christ. We are workers together with Him. It is His power, His wisdom, His strength that we seek to serve in. It isn’t enough to be truly called (for ministry to be of Him). Once called, our work has to be done through Jesus, with conscious reliance on His wisdom, His power, His strength.

Our ministry is all to Him. It’s not to me. It isn’t even to the people we serve. First and foremost, it’s all to Him. It is to the praise of the glory of His grace (Ephesians 1:6). It’s for His pleasure that we are created, redeemed, called, and busy for His kingdom. We find our fulfillment in bringing Him glory and honor.

If we keep this in mind as we do ministry – that all things are to be of Him and through Him and to Him – then at the end of it all, God will get the glory. As Paul wrote, to whom be glory forever.

That’s kind of ministry we long for and pray for. I pray that for you!

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

Click Here to Receive Email from David for Pastors, Preachers, and Bible Teachers

A Great King

Ein Grosser König

Hear and Do

Hear and Do

Because they did not obey the voice of the LORD their God, but transgressed His covenant and all that Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded; and they would neither hear nor do them. (2 Kings 18:12)

We don’t know the exact human author of the books of 1 and 2 Kings. However, we do see that in this verse, the human author wanted us to understand why the northern kingdom of Israel – the kingdom of the ten northern tribes – was conquered by the cruel Assyrian Empire.

Hear and Do

Simply said, it was because they did not obey the voice of the LORD. Yahweh was the covenant God of Israel, but Israel transgressed His covenant and they broke the laws given through Moses the servant of the LORD.

These are all themes we have seen before in 2 Kings. What catches my attention in this verse is the line, they would neither hear nor do them. Their disobedience and ultimate destruction were connected to their refusing to hear the word of God and to do the word of God.

First, we hear God’s word. We hear it proclaimed in preaching and Bible studies. We hear it by reading the Bible aloud. We hear it by singing the Bible. We hear it in our minds as we read the Bible.

But we don’t stop at hearing; we then must do God’s word. We do it by repenting and believing. We do it by worshipping God. We do it by much prayer. We do it by the hard work of Christian community. We do it by reaching a lost and broken world.

The command to not only be hearers, but also doers of God’s word, comes to us again in the New Testament (James 1:22). It reminds us that we must receive God’s word as those who do, not only as those who hear.

Jesus used this same point to conclude His great Sermon on the Mount. He said that the one who heard the word without doing it was like a man who built his house on the sand, but the one who heard God’s word and did it was like a man whose house was built on a rock and could withstand the inevitable storms of life and eternity (Matthew 7:24-27).

In many churches there are hearers who admire; hearers who love to hear, hearers who are devoted – yet all the time they are unblessed hearers, because they are not doers of the word.

Remember that by blood, the people of the Northern Kingdom were not any less Israelites and descendants of Abraham than were the people of the Southern Kingdom. Therefore, this clearly showed Judah that when they also stopped to hear and to do the word of God, they would also face judgment.

Put your attention on God and His great truth – hear. Then, relying on the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, set yourself to do His will as revealed in His word.

Click here for David’s commentary on 2 Kings 18