Saturday after the Twelfth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 2 Chronicles 32:1-22 (NKJV)
1 After these deeds of faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and entered Judah; he encamped against the fortified cities, thinking to win them over to himself. 2 And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come, and that his purpose was to make war against Jerusalem, 3 he consulted with his leaders and commanders to stop the water from the springs which were outside the city; and they helped him. 4 Thus many people gathered together who stopped all the springs and the brook that ran through the land, saying, “Why should the kings of Assyria come and find much water?” 5 And he strengthened himself, built up all the wall that was broken, raised it up to the towers, and built another wall outside; also he repaired the Millo in the City of David, and made weapons and shields in abundance. 6 Then he set military captains over the people, gathered them together to him in the open square of the city gate, and gave them encouragement, saying, 7 “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. 8 With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.
9 After this Sennacherib king of Assyria sent his servants to Jerusalem (but he and all the forces with him laid siege against Lachish), to Hezekiah king of Judah, and to all Judah who were in Jerusalem, saying, 10 “Thus says Sennacherib king of Assyria: ‘In what do you trust, that you remain under siege in Jerusalem? 11 Does not Hezekiah persuade you to give yourselves over to die by famine and by thirst, saying, “The LORD our God will deliver us from the hand of the king of Assyria”? 12 Has not the same Hezekiah taken away His high places and His altars, and commanded Judah and Jerusalem, saying, “You shall worship before one altar and burn incense on it”? 13 Do you not know what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of other lands? Were the gods of the nations of those lands in any way able to deliver their lands out of my hand? 14 Who was there among all the gods of those nations that my fathers utterly destroyed that could deliver his people from my hand, that your God should be able to deliver you from my hand? 15 Now therefore, do not let Hezekiah deceive you or persuade you like this, and do not believe him; for no god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people from my hand or the hand of my fathers. How much less will your God deliver you from my hand?'”
16 Furthermore, his servants spoke against the LORD God and against His servant Hezekiah. 17 He also wrote letters to revile the LORD God of Israel, and to speak against Him, saying, “As the gods of the nations of other lands have not delivered their people from my hand, so the God of Hezekiah will not deliver His people from my hand.” 18 Then they called out with a loud voice in Hebrew to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, to frighten them and trouble them, that they might take the city. 19 And they spoke against the God of Jerusalem, as against the gods of the people of the earth—the work of men’s hands. 20 Now because of this King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz, prayed and cried out to heaven. 21 Then the LORD sent an angel who cut down every mighty man of valor, leader, and captain in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned shamefaced to his own land. And when he had gone into the temple of his god, some of his own offspring struck him down with the sword there. 22 Thus the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all others, and guided them on every side.
Hezekiah had been courageous and faithful, and what did he get for it? Sennacherib and his Assyrian army came against Jerusalem to make war! Swiftly and resolutely, Hezekiah removed all vital water sources from enemy access, strengthened fortifications, and made weapons and shields in abundance. How the people’s hearts must have quaked within them when Sennacherib’s messenger taunted them and their God from outside the walls. But Hezekiah encouraged them, assuring them that the enemy was merely flesh and blood and that the Lord was with them. In contrast to the revelation given to Elisha’s servant in Dothan of the vast angelic army protecting them, reassuring him with their mere presence, here, though not visible to the eye, the Lord sent an angel into action, disabling the mighty army by cutting down their leadership. Sennacherib returned home, ashamed and confounded, to be slain by his own offspring in the temple of a god who could not protect him.
When we cry out in fear, “Make haste, O God, to deliver me,” what power there is to remember in our distress that He is “by our side upon the plain” and that, although the arm of flesh will fail us, Christ’s grace suffices for us and His strength is perfected in weakness.
“With might of ours can naught be done, soon were our loss effected. But for us fights the Valiant One, Whom God Himself elected. Ask ye, Who is this? Jesus Christ it is, of Sabaoth Lord, and there’s none other God; He holds the field forever.” (TLH 262:2).