14 – The World’s Message
2 Chron 32:9-15
When Jerusalem was fully surrounded by Sennacherib’s army the commanding officer called for representatives to come out to him so that he could talk to them and lay down the conditions for their surrender. In the Book of Kings we read that: “Eliakim son of Hilkiah the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph the recorder went out to them.”
Every now and then we read about men who are not afraid to go out into the camp of the enemy. They are the ones who are in the front line of attack. They are the ones who at times fall prey to temptations for the very reason that they go right into the stronghold to attack the enemy. When they get wounded do not run them down.. pray for them to be able to get up again to continue the fight. Jimmy Swaggart is still God’s anointed servant, do not run him down. Pray for him. Did you know that the person who never gets wounded is that person who hides away as far from the battle field as he can get? Let each one of us examine ourselves in this matter before judging others!
Let us now analyze this message to King Hezekiah because God’s Word is a living Word and as such has a message for us today as well. We must take heed of what the Spirit has to say to us through God’s Word.
1. THIS MESSAGE WAS FROM A HIGH AUTHORITY vs 10
The message starts off with: “This is what Sennacherib king of Assyria says: …..” What is a king but a man of very high authority, in fact he usually is THE authority. His word goes for everything that has to be done in his kingdom. Should his authority be challenged then he takes steps to subdue the challenger. In the old days, and sometimes even now in our times, the challenger is put to death.
The king of Assyria is seen here as the king of the world. Sometimes the Scripture calls Satan the prince of this world. No matter by what name we may call him, he is still in authority of portions of this world and that will be so up until the moment Jesus comes again to this earth to claim and take the kingdom for Himself. Up until that time Satan will always be on both your and my back, trying to gain control over us. Often the world authority comes in varying forms and we have to be very wary and careful to study and question this authority to see if it in any way differs from God’s authority over us.
Often some high authority will come to us and say: “This is what I say…” This high authority may even come in the form of some religious organization or a religious head of Church. They may even come with the words, ‘This is what God says…..”. But still be careful. Every word uttered by a human person must still be tested to see if it is in the will and Spirit of God. As there is the Holy Spirit, so there is also an unholy spirit of the world. Paul told the Church at Corinth: “Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh CAREFULLY what is said.” (1 Cor 14:29)
2. THE MESSAGE QUESTIONED THE AUTHORITY OF GOD’S SERVANT vs 11
The commanding officer told the representatives that Hezekiah was deceiving them.. by saying this he was actually putting doubts into the minds of these people about the authority of king Hezekiah over them.. he was telling them that Hezekiah was a person not to be trusted. When someone would come to you and start gossiping about your Pastor, Minister or Priest do you listen to him or her and agree with what is being said or do you tell that gossiper that your ears are not open to such talk? Even if it happens to be true what is being gossiped about we still should not lend our ears out. If you have something against your leaders in your congregation then go straight to that person and confront him in the love of Jesus.. DON’T talk behind someone’s back!
Let us take an example from the life of king David, the apple of God’s eye. Even though king Saul was hunting him like a dog to kill him, David refused to lay a hand on him, let alone talk bad about king Saul. Because Saul was still God’s anointed, he rather fled than be caught in a battle with him. Let us flee from all such idle talk and keep our ears closed to gossip.
3. THE MESSAGE QUESTIONS THE ORDERS OF KING HEZEKIAH vs 12
“Did not Hezekiah himself remove this god’s high places and altars, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship before one altar and burn sacrifices on it?” This verse tells me several important things and lessons to be learned. I won’t go into too much detail but we need to take careful note of what I am going to say now.
a) THE ENEMY HAS SPIES AROUND US
To have made this statement Sennacherib would have had to have his spies in the camp of the Israelites. He also was very well informed of the situation in the land he was about to attack and he had done his homework very well. Satan also has his spies in our congregations, so beware and pray the blood of Jesus over your Leaders so that they will be well protected against the enemy. I can’t go into detail about this over the air but be rest assured that if you are under the blood of Jesus then you personally have nothing to fear as far as your soul is concerned.
b. HEZEKIAH’S MOTIVES GIVEN A FALSE TWIST
This Commander takes Hezekiah’s breaking down of the altars and twists the truth. He was suggesting that God Almighty had no power to reprimand Hezekiah’s actions of desecrating His altars. This was not true, for you see that command of God to His people was that they were to only worship at the temple in Jerusalem.. the people had disobeyed this command and they had built personal altars all over the countryside..
What Hezekiah had done was exactly in line with God’s command.. beware of false teachings and accusations. Many will not be able to know the truth for themselves, for you see, they do not know the Scriptures as they ought to know them.. listeners, do not neglect the study of the Holy Bible. Let it not be said of you that you die for lack of knowledge; knowledge here meaning the Word of God.
4. THE MESSAGE BOASTS OF SENNECHERIB’S CONQUESTS vs 13
“Do you not know what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of the other lands?” Any person coming to you in the name of the Lord God Almighty or in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and he or she boasts in his or her works done for them should immediately be suspect. They may be genuine, but check them out first! God does not like boasters. James said: “Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.” (James 3:5) Boasting goes hand in had with pride and James also quotes Prov 3:34, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” For us to be humble is a high recommendation, for Jesus, speaking in Matt 18 about the little children, took one on His knee and said to His disciples: Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Boasting takes the glory away from God and Jesus and places it onto the boaster him/herself!
5. THE MESSAGE CHALLENGES THE AUTHORITY OF GOD vs 14
“How then can your god deliver you from my hand?” Obviously with all his knowledge of the nation of Israel he should have known about the miracles and power of Hezekiah’s God, yet his pride put scales on his eyes. Any person who is not being led by the Spirit of God will always challenge the authority of God. This is happening more and more today by certain leaders of religion. The opposite is also true: anyone who is completely under the leading of the Holy Spirit will NEVER challenge Jesus, but rather sit at His feet in adoration.
6. THE MESSAGE CHALLENGES THE PEOPLE vs 15
“Now do not let Hezekiah deceive you and mislead you like this.” Listeners, do not give in to challenges like this. If you are in Jesus Christ then you ought to know that Jesus is the Truth the Way and the Life. TRUTH DOES NOT DECEIVE. Jesus will never deceive you and all His promises are faithful and true. Have you claimed the promises that are for you and I? Did you know that there is about 3000 promises for us in the Scriptures? What a life you and I could lead if we were to claim even half of them!
In closing I urge you not to listen to the message from the world. There is only one message worth listening to and that is THE message, the Gospel of the Good News of the kingdom of God. Have you heard it? More importantly, have you listened to it? Have you reacted to it? Is Jesus your Saviour?