After these things and this faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah and besieged the fortified cities, intending to take them for himself.
2 Chronicles 32:1
After these things…after this faithfulness…they were about to be invaded.
Really?! This is what they were going to get for serving God?
I must confess this thought popped into my head as I read the above verse. And I’m guessing it may have crossed the minds of the men and women of Judah as well at the news of the looming invasion. How could it be? They had just completed a 180 in their walk with God. Were they really going to lose it all so soon?
No. No they weren’t. God had a plan. But I’m sure we can all relate to what the men of Judah must have been thinking. I’m sure we’ve all been there. We are going along our way seeking God, serving God, loving God, and then disaster appears out of nowhere. Death, destruction, and turmoil invade our world. Or maybe we were going the wrong way but then repented and turned our eyes back to Jesus–yet just when we thought we could breathe a sigh of relief, everything begins to unravel. That new life of service to God begins turning into a nightmare.
And although such circumstances are often unpleasant and seemingly unfair, we must take with us the truth exhibited in the story of Hezekiah: God is stronger. He is stronger than our circumstances. Stronger than our struggles. And definitely stronger than our enemy.
Let’s look at King Hezekiah for a moment. When Hezekiah became king of Judah, the spiritual well being of the nation was in shambles. Nothing and no one was consecrated. No sacrifices or worship was taking place. God was on the back burner. But then Hezekiah did what was right. He destroyed the idols, consecrated the temple, reinstituted and reorganized the priesthood, restored temple worship, and began again the Passover celebration. He was steadfast in His faith, encouraging in his words, and focused on prayer. The writer of Chronicles says it best: “This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah; and he did what was good, right, and true before the Lord his God. Every work which he began in the service of the house of God in keeping with the law and the commandment, seeking and inquiring of his God [and longing for Him], he did with all his heart and prospered (2 Chronicles 31:20-21).
Yet no sooner did Hezekiah complete the spiritual reformation than the enemy came. And quite frankly, this is not unusual. The enemy always finds the faithful a threat and determines to take him down. When we love and serve the Lord, the enemy hates it. And he will do what it takes to bring us down and undo what God has done. Nevertheless, we must always remember, God is stronger. What the enemy intends for evil, God is more than able to use for His good and for His glory.
And Hezekiah knew this. He knew God was stronger. He knew God was able. So with confidence he encouraged the people of Judah: “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria, nor because of all the army that is with him; for the One with us is greater than the one with him. With him there is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles” (2 Chronicles 32:7-8a).
With him there is only an arm of flesh. But our God is greater. Hezekiah knew the truth that nothing and no one on this earth can take away what God has done. So even when the men of Assyria began taunting the men of Judah. Even when they ridiculed their trust in God, claiming that the God of Israel was no better and no stronger than the gods of the other nations they destroyed. Hezekiah knew the truth. He knew the king of Assyria had no clue who he was dealing with.
Therefore Hezekiah prayed. Hezekiah prayed for God to be God.
And God answered.
God sent an angel. I must admit I love this part. God could have armed Hezekiah and his men and given them victory through battle. But He didn’t. God could have sent a legion of angels to smite the Assyrian army. But He didn’t. God wanted to show the king of Assyria that the God of Israel is like no other–the God of Israel is not the work of man’s hands; man is the work of His. So God sent an angel. Not angels. Angel. One angel sent by God “cut off all the mighty warriors and commanders and officers in the camp of the king of Assyria” (2 Chronicles 32:21). And the battle was over–over before it began. The God of all destroyed the enemy.
And what God did for Hezekiah, He is more than able to do for you as well. Remember this truth today: “you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). He who is with us is greater than anything and anyone who could come against us. Turning our eyes upon Jesus and remaining steadfast in our faith is never a mistake. No amount of unrest and turmoil threatening our earthly lives could ever undo what God has done within. The God who can change our hearts is powerful enough to change our circumstances as well. Yet I would be remiss if I did not insert here that even if He doesn’t–even if our sickness doesn’t go away, our loved one dies, and that dream job remains elusive–God is still God. He is more than able, and He always has a plan. We must keep believing and keep trusting that although God’s way may not be the way we want, we can rest assured it is the way He wills.
So let God show himself to be God in your life today. Whether He changes your attitude toward the circumstances, the circumstances themselves, or a little of both, let Him show you and show those around you that when God is with you, no one can stand against you. Let Him remind your heart that the One who is with you is greater than the one with the world, for with the world is the arm of flesh, but with you is the Lord.