ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL 2 KINGS 18:9-19:37 Series: Hezekiah: 2 Kings 18-20 - Part
Two Pastor Stephen Muncherian August 23, 2009
morning we’re going on in our look at the life of
King Hezekiah.If you would - please turn with me to 2
Kings 19 - starting at verse 35.We’re
going to start at the end.
Have you seen this?Thank you for visiting the end of the internet.There are
no more links.You
must now turn off your computer and go do something
read a book, for Pete’s sake.
Sometimes it helps to know that things have an end -
to keep the end in sight.Somehow that gives hope.
2 Kings 19 - starting - or ending - depending on your
perspective - verse 35:Then it happened that night that
the angel of the Lord - who?The angel of the Lord - went out
and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and
when men rose early in the morning - those that
weren’t dead - behold, all of
them were dead - the guys who didn’t get up in the
Can you imagine waking up and finding yourself
surrounded by 185,000 corpses?What kind
of deadpan joke would fit?Those 185,000 dead men represent
the bulk of the Assyrian army.
Sennacherib king of Assyria departed - a wise
strategic move seeing as God had just wiped out his
army - so Sennacherib king of Assyria
departed and returned home, and lived in Nineveh - Nineveh being
the capital of Assyria - present day Mosul in northern
Verse 37:It came
about as he - Sennacherib, king of Assyria - was
worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that
Adrammelech and Sharezer - two of
Sennacherib’s sons - that
Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with the sword;
and they escaped into the land of Ararat - dare I say
right there in the Hebrew.and Esarhaddon
his son became king in his place.
Okay - turn back with me to 2 Kings 18 - starting at
we go through this account keep the end in sight.What are we
keeping in sight?“The end.”Remember how
all of this ends up.God takes out Sennacherib and his army.
Last Sunday we talked about King Ahaz who had led the
nation of Judah down the tubes spiritually - morally -
Ahaz the government has bankrupted the nation.Judah’s a
puppet state under the Assyrians - helpless and
controlled by her enemies.Israel - Judah’s sister kingdom
to the north - Israel has been hauled off into exile
in Assyria - an act of God’s judgment on their sin.Judah’s
only expectation that people have is that things are
going to get worse.Remember this?
We were introduced to Hezekiah - Ahaz’s son.We saw
Hezekiah step in - after Ahaz’s death - saw Hezekiah
step in and clean up - removed everything that was
evil in Judah - even the high places of worship - up
on the hills - high places that were dedicated to the
worship of pagan gods.It was a huge 180° change of
direction for the nation.Hezekiah trusted God - clung to
God - acted with Godly wisdom.Did what
Hold on to that:Hezekiah followed God.
Part of that following God - Hezekiah led a revolt
against Assyria.Hezekiah said, “We don’t need
going to trust God.So please leave us alone.”
Which, of course, ticked off the king of Assyria -
Sennacherib - remember him?What are we keeping in mind?The end.
Sennacherib - launches this military campaign against
Hezekiah - invades Judah - captures 46 fortified
cities - a bunch of forts and smaller towns - hauls
200,000 plus Judeans into captivity - and finally lays
siege to Hezekiah in Jerusalem.
Then Sennacherib moves on to attack the Philistines.But he
leaves at Jerusalem - a sizable intimidating army -
and sends in his negotiating team to dictate terms of
high ranking officials:Tartan - Rab-Saris - and Rab-Shakeh.Hezekiah
sends out his negotiating team - also high ranking
- Shebnah - and Joah.
Two teams of negotiators - meeting outside Jerusalem
under a flag of truce - ironically on the same spot
that Isaiah warned King Ahaz not to trust the
2 Kings 18 - verse 19 - The Negotiation:Then
Rab-Shakeh said to them - Hezekiah’s
negotiators - “Say now to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says
the great king, the king of Assyria, “What is this
confidence you that you have?You say
(but they are only empty words) - you have
nothing to back them up with - ‘I have
counsel and strength for war.’ Now on whom do you
rely, that you have rebelled against me?Now behold,
you rely on the staff of this crushed reed, even on
Egypt; on which if a man leans, it will go into his
hand and pierce it.So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who rely on
If you’re relying on Egypt for help - what is Egypt
compared to Assyria?Relying on Egypt is going to come back and bite
Verse 22:But if
you say to me, ‘We trust in the Lord our God,’ - our
confidence is in our God - if you think
trusting in your God is the way to go - think about
this - is it not He - your God - whose
high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away,
and has said to Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘You shall
worship before this altar in Jerusalem’?
Hezekiah’s insistence on one God being worshiped at
one altar in one place - the Temple in Jerusalem -
created opposition from people who still wanted to
worship Baal in the high places.Why appeal
to one God when you could ask for help from a lot of
anything Hezekiah’s ticked off all the gods - none of
whom can we count on for help.
therefore, come, make a bargain with my master the
king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand
horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on
then can you repulse on official of the least of my
master’s servants, and rely on Egypt for chariots and
We’ve got so many horses we can spare a couple
thousand and not even miss them.But - even
if we did - too bad - you don’t have enough men.
I not come without the Lord’s approval against this
place to destroy it?The Lord said to me, ‘Go up against his land
and destroy it.’”’”
The Assyrians had heard of the prophecies of Isaiah
and Micah - in which God had said that He - God -
because of His people’s sin - God was going to use the
Assyrians as an instrument of judgment on His people.Which was
already being done with Israel being hauled off into
Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebnah and Joah - Hezekiah’s
negotiating team - said to
Rab-Shakeh, “Speak now to your servants in Aramaic,
for we understand it; and do not speak with us in
Judean in the hearing of the people who are on the
Aramaic was the international political language of
the day - like English is today - or French was a few
language spoken by educated people.
Rab-Shakeh said to them - Hezekiah’s
negotiators - “Has my master sent me only to
your master and to you to speak these words, and not
to the men who sit on the wall, doomed to eat their
own dung and drink their own urine with you?”Rab-Shakeh was
probably a whole lot more graphic in the words he used
- dung and urine.
Pulling this together - in just a few short words -
the Assyrians speaking in Judean - speaking not just
to the negotiators - but to the masses - the Assyrians
have called into question Hezekiah’s political skills
- his spiritual leadership - their trust in God -
insinuated that they’d be going against God’s will to
Words - some true - some not - some someplace in
best lies is the one what?Closest to the truth.Propaganda
- humiliating and demoralizing words that were aimed
at wearing down the people - provoking doubt -
striking terror in the hearts of the people - fear.We’re toast
unless we surrender.
We need to pause here and grab on to what this would
have been like for God’s people - under siege in
The entire Assyrian political - cultural - spiritual -
economic structure was focused on waging war.Every
spring - in Nineveh - the capital - they had this huge
king rode out at the head of the army - a massive
Remember those May Day parades in the Soviet
Union? It was like that. A massive
military procession. As they rode
through Assyria - off to the conquering fields - men
army swelled to hundreds of thousands of soldiers -
organized - trained - disciplined.
The Assyrians were the great innovators of warfare.They were
the first to used camels.They were the first to use iron
- the strongest metal of the time - they used iron in
spears, swords, shields, armor, arrows.They tipped
their battering rams in iron for extra effectiveness.When the
Assyrians first used these weapons it was like going
from throwing rocks to dropping A bombs.The best
weapons of their enemies were useless.
They had heavy armored chariots - like tanks - some
drawn by four horses - that had a crew of three - a
driver - an archer - and a guy to cover the rear.They
introduced cavalry - two riders per horse - one to
drive the horse - the other used a bow or lance.They used
armor protected hand propelled vehicles.
The army had special technical units - that could
build pontoon bridges or cut roads through mountains.Nothing
stopped these guys.
In battle they were undefeated.Their
record was something like 1,000 to 0.They had
just mowed down everyone in their path - a great
unstoppable military juggernaut.
The Assyrians were ruthless.Their conquest of a town made
Borg assimilation look like a Sunday School picnic.If you were
smart and opened your gates - if you surrendered - the
least they might do to you was to make you into slaves
or relocate you into Assyrian territory.That was if
If you refused to surrender they’d bring in their
battering rams - an iron tipped enclosed machine -
impervious to attack - defended by archers - mounted
on wheels - locked into place - swung relentlessly
against the gate.
When they eventually got in - which they always did -
they made an example of you.Civic leaders were flayed alive
- their skins hung on poles.The lucky ones were just hung on
poles - often impaled - alive.People were
beheaded - roasted - dismembered - alive.The whole
goal was to strike terror in the hearts of their next
is no hope.We
are your destiny.
Jerusalem was a massive - disciplined - focused -
ruthless - feared - undefeated army - that had already
mowed down everyone else in Judah.Out on the
field - is your negotiating team - and the Assyrians -
who have just reminded you that resistance is futile -
if not very unwise.How confident do you feel?
What are we keeping in sight?The end.Seems
Rab-Shakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in
Judean, saying, “Hear the word of the great king, the
king of Assyria.Thus says the king, ‘Do not let Hezekiah
deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you
from my hand; nor let Hezekiah make you trust in the
Lord, saying, “The Lord will surely deliver us, and
this city will not be given into the hand of the king
not listen to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of
Assyria, make your peace with me and come out to me,
and eat each of his vine and each of his fig tree and
drink each of the waters of his own cistern - which is a
whole lot better than dung and urine - until I
come and take you away to a land like your own land - which of
course it really isn’t actually your land - but - it
is - a land of grain and new wine, a
land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and
honey, that you may live and not die.”But do not
listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you, saying, “The
Lord will deliver us.”
Verse 33 - notice how he goes after God - Has any
one of the gods of the nations delivered his land from
the hand of the king of Assyria?Rhetorical
question - answer - not one.Where are the
gods of Hamath and Arpad?Where are the gods of
Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah? - places we've
already mowed down - Have they
delivered Samaria from my hand?Answer -
among all the gods of the lands have delivered their
land from my hand, that the Lord should deliver
Jerusalem from my hand?
“If all those gods couldn’t save their people from
getting mowed down - what makes you think your God
against the living God.
2 Chronicles 32 - says this - bottom line:They
called this out with a loud voice in the language of
Judah to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall,
to frighten and terrify them, so that they might take
spoke of the God of Jerusalem as of the gods of the
peoples of the earth, the work of men’s hands.(2 Chronicles
Have you ever been under siege?
Maybe you’re under siege today?Up against
what seems immovable - insurmountable - irresistible -
Maybe its past failure or sin?Maybe a
marriage that just isn’t working - or maybe its coming
you’re locked up in ongoing conflict?Or,
disappointment?Illness?Stuff at work - or school - at home?While
you’re trying to live for God.Satan’s
coming after you with everything he’s got.It may not
be the Assyrian army.But it might as well be.
Do you ever say to yourself, “But I’m
just trying to follow God.To do what God wants.How did I
could this be going on?Maybe I made a mistake.”That’s all
Hezekiah wanted to do - follow God.
When you're under siege who do you listen to?
Satan would rather have us listen to his voice which
strikes terror rather than listening to God’s voice
which calms our fears.Satan would rather keep us as his captive
rather than see us set free by the living God.Satan would
rather have us live focused on what’s terrifying us -
seeing no way out - no resolution - no hope of change
- doubting God - rather than focusing on the sovereign
God who knows the end.
you’re under siege be careful who’s voice you listen
Verse 36 - look at The Response of God’s
people were silent and answered him - Rab-Shakeh -
not a word, for the king’s commandment
was, “Do not answer him.”Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah,
who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe and
Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah
with their clothes torn - a sign of
anger and mourning - deep emotion - and told
Hezekiah - the words of Rab-Shakeh, and when
King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered
himself with sackcloth - a sign of anger - mourning - a broken
heart - and entered the house of the Lord.
Who has Rab-Shakeh come up against?Think
carefully here.The obvious answer - but not the right answer -
the obvious answer is Hezekiah.Right?Hezekiah
got you all into this.
But who was Hezekiah following?God.
Rab-Shakeh - acting on behalf of Sennacherib - has
come up against God.He’s compared God to all the other gods - man
made deities - that the Assyrians have mowed down.He’s
insinuated that the Assyrians are more powerful that
the least they’re acting on behalf of God.Which is
pure blasphemy - saying that God is doing something
that God isn’t doing.Rab-Shakeh has put God’s reputation on the
God and get creamed - ‘cause your God is wimp.
Hezekiah - to his credit - doesn’t respond to all
isn’t Hezekiah’s battle.It isn’t Hezekiah’s reputation
that’s on the line.Hezekiah’s following God.Why should
he stop now?Why
step into the role of trying to defend God?Its God’s
Hezekiah’s heart is heavy - deeply troubled - weighed
down with all that’s before him.Ever have a
a heavy heart while under siege isn’t a sin.Hezekiah
goes with that heavy heart to God’s temple - to God -
brings the whole situation back to God.That’s
where we need to go.
Are we seeing that together?
Under siege - the voice of Satan - our adversary - he
tries to get us to think that what we’re up against is
all about us.But
life is about Who?God - not us.That doesn’t change when we’re under siege.Under siege
- keep following God.
- here in chapter 19 - sets the tone for the rest of
not going to read the whole chapter.But I’d
like to have us touch down on a few verses that give
us examples of what it means to keep following God -
going to God while under siege.
First - look with me at 2 Kings 19 - verse 2:Then he
- Hezekiah - sent
Eliakim who was over the household with Shebna the
scribe and the elders of the priests, covered with
sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz.They said
to him, “Thus says Hezekiah, ‘This day is a day of
distress, rebuke, and rejection; for children have
come to birth and there is no strength to deliver.Perhaps the
Lord your God will hear all the words of Rab-Shakeh,
whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to
reproach the living God - its about God - and will
rebuke the words which the Lord your God has heard.Therefore - because this
is about God -offer a
prayer for the remnant that is left.’”So the
servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah.
Example number one:Get help!!!Get other people praying.Godly men
and women who will take your situation to God in
today you don’t know someone who’ll do that for you.Well, tough
a horrible place to be if we don’t have people to pray
Start looking for someone today.Don’t put
that when you come under siege that person will
already be in place and you can go to them and say, “Can you
pray about this?”
You might ask God - “Send someone
into my life that will pray for me.”You might look
around and see who’s here at Creekside that you know
who’s living with God and ask them - “When
I’m under siege will you pray for me?”You might
not have to look farther than your spouse.When all
else fails - call a pastor.Because we would be more than
willing to pray with you.
Don’t - because of fear or false pride or something -
don’t listen to Satan - don’t let Satan hold you back
from getting others to pray for you.
Look how God answers Hezekiah - an answer that
Hezekiah probably wouldn’t have gotten if he hadn’t
asked Isaiah to pray.Verse 6:Isaiah said to them, “Thus you
shall say to your master - Hezekiah - ‘Thus says the
Lord, “Do not be afraid because of the words that you
have heard, with which the servants of the king of
Assyria have blasphemed Me - its about God
- Behold, I will put a spirit in him so
that he will hear a rumor and return to his own land.And I will
make him fall by the sword in his own land.”’”That’s the end
we saw at the beginning.Keep what in sight?The end.
Verses 8 to 13 - which we’re not going to read - but
let me summarize - in verses 8 to 13 - Sennacherib -
when Hezekiah doesn’t surrender - Sennacherib sends a
letter to Hezekiah explaining how foolish Hezekiah is
to trust God to deliver him.
Hezekiah - who’s expecting Sennacherib to go home and
get dead - again has his faith tested.“I’m
hasn’t God taken care of this?”Ever been
Hezekiah took the letter - sent by
Sennacherib - took the letter from the hand of
the messengers and read it, and he went up to the
house of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord.
Imagine this official correspondence - probably a
scroll with a regal seal on it - delivered by
messengers from the Sennacherib the great and powerful
- a scroll that Hezekiah takes and spreads out in
front of God.
The word “spread” in Hebrew is “paras” which has the
idea of unrolling something - like a scroll.It also has
the idea of breaking something into little pieces and
spreading those pieces around.Depending
on how you want to take this - Hezekiah either unrolls
this scroll before God - or he disrespectfully makes
confetti out of it and spreads the confetti out before
action shows that Hezekiah has more regard for God
than Sennacherib and his threats.
prayed before the Lord - grab that.Second example:Pray!!!Go directly
Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said, “O Lord, the
God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim,
You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the
have made heaven and earth.
Under siege we need to be reminded of Who God is - the
Almighty Sovereign Creating God.
Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord,
and see; and listen to the words of Sennacherib, which
he has sent to reproach the living God.This is about
You - not me.
O Lord, the kings of Assyria have devastated the
nations and their lands and have cast their gods into
the fire, for they were not gods but the work of men’s
hands, wood and stone.So they have destroyed them.
All the stuff that people put their trust in - little
wooden gods - or mutual funds - You are the one true
trust remains in You.
Verse 19:Now, O
Lord our God, I pray, deliver us from his hand that
all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone,
O Lord, are God.”
God do this for
What are we keeping in sight?The end.We know how
this ends.Right?God takes
out Sennacherib and his army - as only God can.The
Assyrians are 1,000 and 1.God’s people are saved.God is
It helps to know the end.Doesn’t
knew what God would do.But still - seeing the end from the perspective
of accomplished history is a little bit easier.Isn’t it?
Wouldn’t it be great - if when we’re under siege - and
we’ve got others praying - and we’re praying - and
we’re waiting for God to act - if we could have the
kind of faith that knows that the end is as certain as
There was a nun who was flying - who feared flying.While the
plane was taxing she was whimpering in her seat.Finally the
man next to her said, “Sister - why
are you afraid?I thought Jesus said He would be with you
She said, “No.Jesus said, ‘Lo, I am with you
Really old bad joke.
But do we believe it?Jesus’ presence with us - even under siege?Even in
the valley of death’s shadow?(Psalm 23)
Jesus said, “You will be hated by all because
of My name.Yet
not a hair of your head will perish.”(Luke
hated because we follow Jesus.But, God is
with us - always.Nothing happens in our lives that God isn’t
we believe that?
What about this promise?“He who
began a good work in you will perfect it until the day
of Christ Jesus.”(Philippians
Jesus and what God purposes to do in your life He’ll
The promises go on and on - Genesis to Revelation.Jesus
said, “I am the resurrection and the
life; he who believe in Me will live even if He dies,
and everyone who lives and believes in Me will ever
you believe this?”(John
We know how this ends.Right?A
new heaven and new earth.Forever dwelling with God.
We live in a world under siege.Following
Jesus runs contrary to the flow of this world.Our hearts
can be heavy.But,
who’s voice will you listen to?Who’s
end will you live by?