May 17

Hezekiah, Part 5—More Taunts from the Enemy

II Kings 18:28-35 Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out…,saying, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! Thus says the king:…’Do not listen to Hezekiah… lest he persuade you, saying, “The LORD will deliver us.” Has any of the gods of the nations at all delivered its land from the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim and Hena and Ivah? Indeed, have they delivered Samaria from my hand? Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?’”

Hezekiah had compromised earlier with Sennacherib, and now it was time for a flat-out attack of Judah. It began with a verbal taunt, and one that contains some of the most common areas of attack. Sennacherib’s envoys went after Judah’s leadership, and then Judah’s God. Then he recounted all of Judah’s enemies’ successes. Sound familiar? Our enemy does the same thing.

“Do not listen to Hezekiah.” Attacking the leader—of a church, a family, a prayer group—this is the first, easiest thing to do. Leaders are people, and people are flawed and will never be perfect. This is really an attack against God’s order, not a person. Happily, Judah resisted the attack.

“…lest he persuade you, saying, ‘The Lord will deliver us.’” After Sennacherib’s man undermined Judah’s leader, he undermined Judah’s God. We’ve all had days, haven’t we, when we’ve doubted God, or questioned His power or love? God’s people had had a history of great military success when they followed the Lord; Joshua 2 tells the story of an inhabitant of the Promised Land who said, “I know that the LORD has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you.” The enemy was not only trying to discredit Judah’s God, but was working to make them forget God’s faithfulness and the success He’d already given His people….

…which leads to his listing of conquests before arriving at Jerusalem’s gates. Yes, Samaria had fallen, as had all of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Assyria had been very successful militarily. But God was not using them to bring judgment to Judah.

Have you heard these taunts? Unwarranted attacks on leaders? Doubts about God, and His love and faithfulness to you? A recitation of all the things the enemy has succeeded in doing? None of these are from God, and they are all attacks, whether there is any basis in truth or not. Yes, leaders can fail, but Hezekiah was God’s man for the job here. God is faithful, no matter what we feel (II Timothy 2:13). And Satan’s successes take nothing away from God’s ability to save and rescue.

We need to learn to recognize these more subtle attacks of the enemy—the ones that get under our skin and into our brains. A lot was at stake in Judah at this time—and a great defeat was avoided. What is at stake with us, and what our enemy is working to prevent, is a deeper, stronger, more vibrant relationship with God. Let’s do what Hezekiah did, ignore the enemy’s taunts, and instead turn to God with open and trusting hearts.

Prayer: Father, help me to see what the enemy is trying to do when he attacks my leaders and Your reputation. Help me to resist the distractions that put my thoughts and energies on the enemy’s work to the point that I’m forgetting You and Your promises. By Your grace, I set my heart back on You.

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