NO BED OF ROSES!
2 Chron 32:1-8
Sennacherib, king of Assyria, had his army encamped at this moment right around Jerusalem. Assyria was a mighty nation and had been conquering all the nations in its path. News of this intended attack on king Hezekiah had obviously already reached his ears. Between chapters 31 and 32 of the second Book of Chronicles just on fourteen years had elapsed. How do I know this? The Book of 2 Kings and chapers 18, 19 and 20 also deal with king Hezekiah’s life although different aspects are dealt with there.
You may wonder why Kings and Chronicles talk about the same subject yet they differ in many respects. Briefly, the main difference is that the Books of Kings were written giving man’s standpoint, while the Books of Chronicles were written giving God’s standpoint. In Kings, Israel’s history is associated with the throne – in Chronicles, Israel’s history is associated with the altar. I have only been looking at what is written in the Book of Chronicles and not the Book of Kings. (see note 1) To combine the two would take too long and I don’t want to dwell too long on a subject.
Back to the reading: From the Book of Kings we find that Hezekiah had already had some trouble with the king of Assyria right from the fourth year of his reign. He rebelled against the king of Assyria. In the meantime Sennacherib had captured Israel. God had allowed this to be done to the kingdom of Israel because they had not kept the Covenant as the kingdom of Judah had done.
At the first sign of this intended attack king Hezekiah stripped the silver and gold from the doors and the doorposts of the temple and gave this to the king of Assyria together with lots of other gold and silver. In 2 Kings 18 we read the words of king Hezekiah to Sennacherib: “I have done wrong. Withdraw from me, and I will pay whatever you demand of me.” Here he tried to bribe Sennacherib to release him from under the Assyrian yoke. It helped only for a while. We notice here that Hezekiah had failed to consult the Lord.
This, however, did not stop Sennacherib from coming later on to lay siege on Jerusalem. With this long introduction to the situation being presented let us look at some points that arise from it.
1. HARD WORK DOES NOT GUARANTEE AN EASY LIFE
Verse 1: “After all that Hezekiah had so faithfully done [read previous chapter], Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah.”
Just because we work hard for the Lord does not quarantee us a cushy life in an armchair. Many Christians are under the false impression that when they come to Jesus they are now in the pound seats, as it were. It is when we come to Jesus and have Him in our hearts and we try to live the way he would have us live, that this is just the time that Satan attacks us. We often get lulled into a false sense of security by the blessings that God is pouring upon us. We let our defenses down. We forget to continue to put on the armour of God. How many people put security gates on their doors and then after a while they get lazy and do not lock them? How many just switch the alarm off on their cars/houses because it becomes a bind? This is just the time that the thief is waiting for, and when he strikes we go into a panic. If we had only locked the door! IF we had only left the alarm switched on!
2. HE LAID SIEGE TO THE FORTIFIED CITIES vs 1
The last part of verse 1 says that Sennacherib: “Laid siege to the fortified cities, thinking to conquer them for himself.”
Let this be a warning to us today not to relax our spiritual war agains the wiles of Satan. Satan is doing his very best to take the Christian away from the Kingdom of Jesus. Let us also not fool ourselves that Satan is like a toothless lion. Listeners, he is very much alive and is fighting wildly for survival. During the last few decades Satan had been slowly breaking down the morals of the world, including South Africa. Be careful lest you also be drawn into Satan’s trap.
Jesus never promised a bed of roses for us. He actually warned all who would follow Him that persecution by the world and attacks by Satan would be the order of the day! Are you having trials and tribulations? If you are a child of God, then rejoice in them! James 1:2-4 tells us just that. Praise God and Jesus in these circumstances for when we praise God then he is dwelling in us. God inhabits the praises of His people! Born-again Christians should be praising God all the time, every day, no matter what the circumstances are.
A word of encouragement from Romans 8:35-39, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.”
Dear listener, fight very had to keep yourself in a position where you are always in Jesus’ care. If you do not, then Satan will surely, slowly but surely, get you back into his kingdom of darkness. This is no idle warning. Please do not take it lightly.
3. HEZEKIAH SOUGHT ADVICE FROM THE WRONG QUARTER vs3
He “consulted with his officials and military staff.”
Tell me; who is the best official in our life? Who is the best military advisor we can ever have? None other than Jesus Himself. Why do I say this? In Rev 1:17-18 Jesus said, “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was once dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”
What Jesus is telling us here is that He has conquered the stronghold of Satan and that if we stay in His care, we are safe. Satan can then not take our soul away from Jesus. Our soul is in the care of God just as long as we are prepared to let it be there.
At times a large force will seem to be up against us, but praise the Lord, in God, David was able to say in Psalm 3:5-6: “I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side.” david was able to say this because he believed the next verse in which he states: “Arise, O Lord! Deliver me, O my God!”
4. REPAIR WORK WAS STARTED vs 5
“Why should the kings of Assyria come and find plenty of water?”
It is obvious that Hezekiah had not done much in repairing the walls of the city as he must have felt that there was no real concern of anyone attacking him. They must have worked very hard to do the necessary repairs and fortifications in time before Sennacherib reached Jerusalem. Hezekiah had learned his lesson and in this case consulted the Lord with the help of the prophet Isaaiah.
In closing I ask you this: “Why should Satan come and find a fertile unguarded ground in any of you and I? “ Why is it that we so often neglect the Word of God in our life? Satan can only have no hold on any part of our life if only we would surrender ourselves completely to Jesus. Get rid of any secret sins you may have. Let us repair the broken parts of our relationship with Jesus and God and the Holy Spirit. When you do, and ask God’s forgiveness, and turn away from those sins, then you can be sure that you are secure in the Rock, who it Jesus.
Then we can heed the words, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him.”
“Greater is He that is in us than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
Praise God. Hallelujah!
Note 1. all the Books and Chapters of the Bible, by Herbert Lockyer. Page 94