Hezekiah, Part 4—Taunts of the Enemy
II Kings 18:13-16 And in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them….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.
We stop in the middle of our look at Hezekiah to look at how the enemy attacked him—and attacks us. Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, had had great military successes, and was now at Jerusalem’s door. In his first taunt of Hezekiah, Sennacherib had exacted a heavy toll on the Judean king, who stripped silver and gold from the Temple to appease him.
This shows us the folly of appeasing the enemy of our souls with “tribute.” Hezekiah compromised, giving up precious things—things that were from the holiest places in the land, and that were part of the nation’s life with God. This is the enemy’s first attack. If he can’t get us to reject the Lord (and surrender completely), he will scare us—or entice us—into compromise.
What is our silver and gold, the treasure of our house? Our love for God, and our gratitude to Him for what He’s done. Our ability to go to God quickly when we sin. Praying and communing with the Lord. Our loving others from the heart. Our holding fast to what we have learned and walking in truth and righteousness. Our peace. Serving in church. Attending church. Being on time for church. Attending a small group. Reading the word. Worshipping. These are our precious things. Because they directly connect us to our life with God, these are the areas the enemy first hopes to see us compromise, as this will hurt both us and God.
Why would we do that? Well, why did Hezekiah do it? He expected things to go a certain way, and they didn’t. He expected aid from Egypt that never came through. He got disappointed and scared, took His eyes off the Lord, used his own “wisdom,” and compromised. Sometimes we get into a weakened state when things don’t go as we expect. We get fearful, or angry, or frustrated, or sad, and then we compromise. We think it will make us feel better, or keep the pain away (as Hezekiah hoped compromise would keep the Assyrians away), but it didn’t work for him, and it doesn’t work for us. Sennacherib kept right on coming, hoping that compromise was just his first taste of what he hoped would be the full meal of Judah and Jerusalem (and its Temple).
The enemy would like all of us–body, soul, and spirit. But if he can’t get us to reject God and embrace sin, then he will nibble away at the connections we have with our God–the precious things, the real treasure of our house. Proverbs 4:23 says we should “keep our hearts with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Hezekiah didn’t keep his heart here, and he compromised in ways that hurt the entire nation spiritually.
Where are you quick to compromise? These are usually areas that may not seem like much in the beginning, as with Hezekiah and the Temple’s treasures. The relative insignificance of the compromise is part of the enemy’s plan. But if we can see quickly where the enemy is nibbling away, and realizing what he’s trying to do, we’ll submit to God, reject fear, move past disappointment, and beat the enemy back.
Prayer: God, help me to see where I compromise, and help me to see more of the enemy’s plan. Help me to find You in those places that have been spiritually vulnerable up until now Help me to take my compromises seriously, and to bring Your serious victory to them.