Prepare for Battle (2 Kings 18-20)

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The Good King (18:1-8)

In this story, we have two kings that we’re going to talk about. The first king is named Hezekiah. He is the king of Judah in 701 BC, that’s about 2700 years ago. Judah is the Southern Kingdom of Israel. Israel is God’s chosen people, and in this story we’re focusing on only a part of Israel. Here’s what the Bible says about Hezekiah:

3 He did what was pleasing in the LORD’s sight, just as his ancestor David had done. 4 He removed the pagan shrines, smashed the sacred pillars, and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke up the bronze serpent that Moses had made, because the people of Israel had been offering sacrifices to it. The bronze serpent was called Nehushtan.

5 Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before or after his time. 6 He remained faithful to the LORD in everything, and he carefully obeyed all the commands the LORD had given Moses. 7 So the LORD was with him, and Hezekiah was successful in everything he did. He revolted against the king of Assyria and refused to pay him tribute. 8 He also conquered the Philistines as far distant as Gaza and its territory, from their smallest outpost to their largest walled city.

Hezekiah was a good king. He’s the good guy of this story. He knew God, loved God, obeyed God, and did good things for God. Hezekiah was an all-around good dude. The Bible even says there was no other king that was like him! Hezekiah would have been a good king to be under.

The Evil King (18:13-18)

With every good guy, what do we need? Exactly, a bad guy. There was a nearby nation called Assyria. The king of Assyria was this guy named Sennacherib. Assyria was a super evil nation that the Bible talks a lot about. They were always conquering nations, making them into their slaves, plundering kingdoms, and being all around evil.
Fourteen years after Hezekiah began to be king in Judah, Sennacherib attacked many of the cities of Judah, and he conquered them.

Sennacherib Threatens Judah (18:19-37)

At this point, Hezekiah was probably really scared.
Why was he so scared?
Many of
Since Assyria had conquered these cities, Hezekiah was vulnerable. Hezekiah was currently in Jerusalem, which is the capital city. With his other cities having been taken over by Assyria, he was stuck. And he started to get desperate. He sent a message to Sennacherib and said,

14 King Hezekiah sent this message to the king of Assyria at Lachish: “I have done wrong. I will pay whatever tribute money you demand if you will only withdraw.” The king of Assyria then demanded a settlement of more than eleven tons of silver and one ton of gold.

Hezekiah tried to pay off Sennacherib with gold. He desperately got all of the gold and silver that he could and gave it to the king. He even stripped the temple of its gold in order to pay.
So now that Hezekiah did this, you’d think that’s it, right?
Once Sennacherib got his gold and silver, he sent a massive army to Jerusalem. He camped his army right outside the city. Hezekiah may have thought he was safe, but Assyria just so happened to show up at his doorstep.
Sennacherib sends a message to the people of Judah in Jerusalem, mocking and challenging them. Here’s what he says:

What are you trusting in that makes you so confident? 20 Do you think that mere words can substitute for military skill and strength? Who are you counting on, that you have rebelled against me? 21 On Egypt? If you lean on Egypt, it will be like a reed that splinters beneath your weight and pierces your hand. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is completely unreliable!

22 “But perhaps you will say to me, ‘We are trusting in the LORD our God!’ But isn’t he the one who was insulted by Hezekiah? Didn’t Hezekiah tear down his shrines and altars and make everyone in Judah and Jerusalem worship only at the altar here in Jerusalem?

23 “I’ll tell you what! Strike a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria. I will give you 2,000 horses if you can find that many men to ride on them! 24 With your tiny army, how can you think of challenging even the weakest contingent of my master’s troops, even with the help of Egypt’s chariots and charioteers? 25 What’s more, do you think we have invaded your land without the LORD’s direction? The LORD himself told us, ‘Attack this land and destroy it!’ ”

Sennacherib basically says to Judah that they are weak, and there is no chance that they can win. He says that words won’t help them, their armies won’t help them, other nations won’t help them, and God won’t help them. He even mocks God by saying Assyria was sent by God to attack Judah. He doesn’t stop there, he then says:

Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you. He will never be able to rescue you from my power. 30 Don’t let him fool you into trusting in the LORD by saying, ‘The LORD will surely rescue us. This city will never fall into the hands of the Assyrian king!’

31 “Don’t listen to Hezekiah! These are the terms the king of Assyria is offering: Make peace with me—open the gates and come out. Then each of you can continue eating from your own grapevine and fig tree and drinking from your own well. 32 Then I will arrange to take you to another land like this one—a land of grain and new wine, bread and vineyards, olive groves and honey. Choose life instead of death!

“Don’t listen to Hezekiah when he tries to mislead you by saying, ‘The LORD will rescue us!’ 33 Have the gods of any other nations ever saved their people from the king of Assyria? 34 What happened to the gods of Hamath and Arpad? And what about the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Did any god rescue Samaria from my power? 35 What god of any nation has ever been able to save its people from my power? So what makes you think that the LORD can rescue Jerusalem from me?”

Sennacherib was incredibly confident in himself and his armies. He knew that Judah stood absolutely no chance.

Hezekiah’s Desperation (19:1-4)

Hezekiah was desperate now. He was surrounded, outnumbered, and had no way of winning this battle.
In his desperation, Hezekiah sends some of his most trusted men to the prophet Isaiah, to see if they can get some kind of word from the Lord. These men tell Isaiah that they are in trouble, and being insulted and mocked.

God Promises to Win (19:5-7)

When Isaiah hears this, he gives them a message to bring back to Hezekiah:

This is what the LORD says: Do not be disturbed by this blasphemous speech against me from the Assyrian king’s messengers. 7 Listen! I myself will move against him, and the king will receive a message that he is needed at home. So he will return to his land, where I will have him killed with a sword.’ ”

Isaiah tells them that God will be sure to take care of Sennacherib. He will cause the king to have to return to his homeland, where he will eventually die. God said that He Himself will be the one who moves against Assyria.

Sennacherib’s Mockery (19:10-13)

After this, Sennacherib got word that an army was coming to battle him, so he went off to meet them. Before he did, he left one last insulting and mocking message for Hezekiah. He says,

Don’t let your God, in whom you trust, deceive you with promises that Jerusalem will not be captured by the king of Assyria. 11 You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way! Why should you be any different? 12 Have the gods of other nations rescued them—such nations as Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Tel-assar? My predecessors destroyed them all! 13 What happened to the king of Hamath and the king of Arpad? What happened to the kings of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?”

Hezekiah’s Prayer (19:15-19)

After hearing this final insulting message from Sennacherib, Hezekiah is truly desperate. There seems to be no chance that he can win this battle, and he has no idea what to do.
Put yourself in Hezekiah’s shoes. The entire nation is depending on you. There is a battle about to happen that you don’t know how to win. What do you do?
Now let’s look at what Hezekiah did.

And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the LORD:

Hezekiah, in the face of overwhelming odds and unwinnable battle, drops to his knees, and prays to God. He realized there was nothing he could do to win on his own. So he turns to God and says,

Now, O LORD our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O LORD, are God.”

God’s Answer (19:20-34)

God hears Hezekiah’s prayer. In response, God says what He will do to Assyria. He says many powerful words, but this is my favorite.

27 “But I know you well—

where you stay

and when you come and go.

I know the way you have raged against me.

28 And because of your raging against me

and your arrogance, which I have heard for myself,

I will put my hook in your nose

and my bit in your mouth.

I will make you return

by the same road on which you came.”

God says that He is going to deal with Assyria like an animal. He says he’ll put a hook in their nose and direct where they go, like someone might with a horse or a bull. Assyria is nothing compared to God. God is not worried about Sennacherib’s armies.
God gives His word to Hezekiah that He will fight this battle.

“His armies will not enter Jerusalem.

They will not even shoot an arrow at it.

They will not march outside its gates with their shields

nor build banks of earth against its walls.

33 The king will return to his own country

by the same road on which he came.

He will not enter this city,

says the LORD.

34 For my own honor and for the sake of my servant David,

I will defend this city and protect it.”

God Fights for Judah (19:35-37)

God says that He is gonna take care of everything. And he does. The very next verse says...

35 That night the angel of the LORD went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere.

One hundred and eighty-five thousand soldiers. Dead. This angel of the Lord went out and killed this crazy big number of soldiers in the night. Just imagine. Massive armies of Assyrian soldiers go to sleep, and all is silent. The very next morning, BAM! Almost 200,000 of them are dead.
So what about the king?
God wasn’t about to let him off the hook so easily.

36 Then King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there.

37 One day while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with their swords.

Just as God predicted, the king of Assyria was killed by the sword.


What’s starting back up in just a few weeks? School. Several of you are going to be moving into high school. School is a war zone guys.
We all face our own battles every single day.
Whether it is a bully at school, friends who peer pressure you, groups of people that mock you, siblings that are harsh or ignore you, a teacher that really just doesn’t understand you, or someone that you can never seem to avoid an argument with.
Maybe you face emotional battles.
A friend dying, someone close to you getting an illness or disease, a friend moving away, a breakup, past trauma, anxiety, depression, insecurity, doubt, or guilt.
Maybe you’re battling with yourself each day.
Trying to be happy, trying to do everything right, dealing with laziness, trying to be cool, trying to find truth, or trying to live your own life.
Whatever your battles are, you are always going to face them. You are going to face some kind of battle or choice every single day. I know I do. When I woke up today, I began to face battles. When I wake up tomorrow, I’m going to face even more battles.
Here’s what I want us all to learn from Hezekiah. It’s how you prepare for those battles.
If you’re dealing with emotionally painful battles, you might prepare by blocking out people, blocking out feelings, running away from truth, or putting on the “tough” exterior. If you’re dealing with battles between people maybe you prepare by learning how to fight or argue, or by trying to attack before you get attacked.
None of that is going to get you anywhere. Instead, learn from Hezekiah. In the face of overwhelming odds, he dropped down on his knees and asked God for help.
We can try all we want to fight our battles, but we are weak and sinful human beings. We need help from someone greater than ourselves to win these battles. Always fighting just gets exhausting. Waking up every day just to fight and fight again gets tiring. I’ve been there. It wasn’t until I found out that God was ready to fight my battles that I began to feel peace.
Just like with Hezekiah, God is prepared and ready to fight for you. He knows the battles you’re looking at. And He is stronger them.
When you face a battle, you have a choice. Are you gonna trust in your own strength? Or are you gonna rely on God? All you have to do is pray and ask God to help you, and look into the Bible and He will help you. Through prayer and the Bible, God can help you find answers and fight your battles. He doesn’t leave us alone. He gives us peace, strength, and courage.
Just think about it. You don’t have to always fight. You can let God do that. God was able to kill almost 200,000 soldiers in one night. Do you really think your problems are too hard for him to handle?
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