Hezekiah consulted his prophet, Isaiah, and then shortly after, received a terrible letter of threats and attacks on his city and on his God Almighty, his reaction: 2 Kings 19:14. Hezekiah faced a situation he had no chance of winning; a situation that honestly made no sense to Hezekiah, because he was doing all he could to honor God and change the world for His Kingdom.
But Hezekiah doesn't get angry and question God; he doesn't feel sorry for self and go into depression, surrendering to the inevitable; he doesn't go out and try to fight a battle that he was never told to fight and is not his to win; he takes his unsolvable burden to God as a trusting child and lays it out in front of him, then he prays openly and faithfully: 2 Kings 19:15-19: ‘God I know You are real and all-powerful. Lord, listen to what they are saying about You, to make You look bad before the world; this Assyrian King has done unstoppable things to these nations with false gods, but You are real. I pray that you stop Sennacherib for Your glory, as proof before all the unbelievers, so they might know You are real.’ In this world of emotional, spiritual, moral, and mental attacks, this is what we can learn about how to handle the pain and pressure—if we know God is real, as Hezekiah did, we can't retreat into depression and die slowly. Would that show any confidence that we believe in Christ? Would that show we know He loves us? Or, would it just show faithlessness and self-focus? We can't run out and try to fight our own battles in anger and pride—honestly, that is usually when we are doing it with our own agenda anyway (and it is driven by hate rather than love). We are learning to rely on our own abilities, rather than Him, and we surely can't figure out the answer to every, "why" or "how" that we are facing before we will give it to God. If we have to figure it out first, then we really aren't trusting God are we? It is so very hard to just give an unsolved problem, or a worrisome thought to God when we don't have it figured out, but, that is the key to true faith, and often to a long search for unfound peace. Lay it before Him in all your honest detail, and really let Him have it (and don’t pick it back up). Put God first in your prayers. Do you ever ask God to answer a prayer, with the motive being for His Glory instead of just your benefit? Have faith that God will answer our prayers, if they are asked for the right reasons, to show His love and glory to you and the world around you. God's Reaction, directed at the King of Assyria: 2 Kings 19:20-34. And the incredible events that followed Hezekiah’s prayer: 2 Kings 19:35-37. Scriptures say that Sennacherib's army was all but destroyed in one night by the angel of the Lord (185,000 dead). The Assyrians had one of the biggest libraries in the ancient Mesopotamian world, and the Annals of Sennacherib are perfectly preserved in the British Museum on an ancient artifact known as the Taylor Prism. In these records which are used to brag of the exploits of King Sennacherib, all of the other cities that Assyria takes are bragged about (46 cities of Judah); the taxes imposed on Hezekiah were bragged about; it even brags of making Hezekiah a, "bird in a cage" as they held Jerusalem in siege—just as in the Scriptures. But the most incredible thing is that, even their own boastful military records of conquest over all Judah, they give no account where Sennacherib finally takes Jerusalem; he never has military victory over Hezekiah. [T.C. Mitchell]. The Jewish historian, Josephus, quotes a well-known Babylonian historian (Berossus) that blames the defeat on a plague that broke out in the army camp. According to the Greek historian, Herodotus, mice destroyed the leather equipment of the Assyrian soldiers rendering them useless. [Wikipedia] History from every culture found, even including the proud, conquering Assyrians themselves, agrees with scriptures, and even tries to give reason, for the death of 185,000 soldiers, and the defeat of the vastly superior Assyrian Army, as they attacked one last, hopeless city of Judah; but no solid reason can be given by any of these historical accounts as to why the soldiers died, and why Sennacherib failed, leaving one explanation: God. Historynet.com, a secular site about history, created by the world’s largest publisher of historic magazines also gives the account of Jerusalem's unbelievable defeat over the Assyrians, but ends its article with this sobering thought. Hezekiah was saved against all possible odds, historically proven, because he didn't surrender in hopelessness and defeat; he didn't take matters into his own hands blindly; he gave it to God in faith when it didn't make sense and trusted Him.
Christians have recently found themselves as the object of an onslaught of hate and open attack in this society. Freedom to openly practice, celebrate, or even talk about our love for Christ, and our belief in Scriptures is being systematically pushed from schools, and workplaces. Every trace of our faith, and the freedom to express it, is slowly being removed from public view. There is a push even by the, “progressive church”, to abandon His commands and precepts to write a gospel that will suite our desires, and the True Church is a bigot if they don't go along. There is a push to change the very laws of our land, not only to allow cause acceptance in immoral behavior, but often, to force participation in what we don't believe. There is an open, and aggressive movement in the social and celebrity world to make everything ungodly, the accepted norm for all; and there is an open social and celebrity movement, to vilify all who simply cannot completely agree with their views. While we fight the inner battle not to surrender our hearts and minds to this world, we have these outward battles that have increased, almost to a frenzy at times. So many Christians today, who mean well in these struggles, have lost the battle, not because of the temptations of the world, but because of the hatred that has boiled up in their heart as a reaction to the hatred being shown to them. We all need to stop acting so shocked and offended when social, political, or public persecution comes our way; Jesus absolutely promised it would come if we were to truly live for Him: John 15:18-20. We should be worried if we are not the object of persecution: 1 Peter 4:12-14.
What should be our reaction to this persecution? First of all, we absolutely face it head on, without wavering in our beliefs, whatever the cost: Mark 8:38. But we are to be like Jesus. We are to hate the sin, and the craziness that surrounds us, but love those bringing the persecution. That is what is so hard to do; that is where real love and faith are tested; that is where we often fail, but, feel justified when we do. Apply the words of Christ to the way you are responding to the world right now: Matthew 5:38-41, 43-48, Romans 12:14, 17-21. If you think those Words were for less intense and difficult situations, consider these moments, Stephen, as he was brutally, publicly killed for his faith: Acts 7:57-60. Did Stephen love and care about those persecuting him? What about Paul, sitting in prison for his beliefs: Philippians 1:12-13. Did he love and reach out to his captor until the end? In Acts 26, Paul actually tried to win the heart of the King who had him on trial for preaching Christ in the first place. What about Jesus, after they mocked him, spit on Him, beat Him mercilessly, and hung Him naked on a cross? Look at His first Words after being crucified: Luke 23:33-34. So many of us fail here. How are we supposed to be able to love and forgive a world that hates us? Are you ready for the secret that will work every time? stop focusing on trying to love people and act kindly; stop focusing on the world and its problem; stop focusing on trying to beat your sin; focus on one thing—the only thing—getting close to Christ. None of these other things even make sense if you don't have His love in your heart. When Hezekiah was under siege, did he focus on fighting Sennacherib, or on drawing close to God? If you would just really make your most important goal in life, to know and love Christ more intimately, these changes would become a part of your nature; a part of your walk with Him. The goal needs to be getting close to him, not trying to change. Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 5:15-16.
If you know you are struggling with bitterness and anger towards this world, or anyone specifically, then the world has done you a favor—it has shown that you are not as close to Christ as you thought. Does that mean we accept sin, and stop resisting change? Absolutely, positively just the opposite. Because we love people, we can never accept what we know will hurt and destroy them, and displease God. All three examples we just read of those loving their persecutors, were being persecuted for boldly speaking Truth. But they kept the focus, that all are absolute treasures to God; worthy, in His eyes, of His own Blood; only He knows who deserves condemnation. This means that we stop letting Satan defeat us by making us so focused on the world, that we have completely lost pursuit of the only thing God craves and commands—Him.
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