We’ve all been taunted, insulted, or outright offended at one point or another in our lives. For some, this goes on too long and brings despair, or doubt, into the forefront of our minds and we cave, believing lies that we’re told and living as though they’re the truth. For others, we hang on to our convictions and combat these tauntings with confidence, but not the self-confidence that’s touted so frequently today. A confidence that is based on truth of God and one that is on guard against the deceitful tactics of Satan and those opposed to Him. As is clear throughout the fantastical book of Revelation, Satan has his day of reckoning as do those who engage in insulting God. We don’t have to look far to find how this plays out. Sennacherib, king of Assyria, gives us a telling tale of the coming fate for those who blatantly affront God by means of threats and taunts, not only to His people, but towards Him.
At this time, Hezekiah reigned as king in Jerusalem and, after years of “doing what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God,” (2 Chronicles 31:20) Sennacherib decided to invade Judah and conquer the cities for himself (2 Chronicles 32:1). Hezekiah assembled military officers he’d appointed over the people and “encouraged them with these 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. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.’ And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said” (2 Chronicles 32:6-8). Soon after their confidence was boosted, Sennacherib sent a message to Hezekiah and all the people of Judah (as recorded in 2 Chronicles 32:10-15) that contains some choice words that beg a response from God: “On what are you basing your confidence?… He (Hezekiah) is misleading you…Do you not know what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of the other lands?…Were the gods of those nations ever able to deliver their land from my hand?…How then can your god deliver you from my hand?…Do not let Hezekiah deceive you and mislead you like this. Do not believe him…” Now that’s some pompous pride there!
The promptings continue as Sennacherib “wrote letters insulting the Lord, the God of Israel, and saying this against him: ‘Just as the gods of the peoples of the other lands did not rescue their people from my hand, so the god of Hezekiah will not rescue his people from my hand'” (2 Chronicles 32:17). Starting to sound like an enthralling war story yet? Don’t get too attached, because the day of reckoning comes quickly. “King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer to heaven about this. And the Lord sent an angel, who annihilated all the fighting men and the leaders and officers in the camp of the Assyrian king” (2 Chronicles 32:20-21). Whoosh! Annihilated by an angel of God. Doesn’t seem like God takes too lightly the rash rejection of who He is. This offense was punishable by a swift execution and it shows us many things, but the overarching point that stood out for me was the necessary reminder of the awesome power of God.
As children of the Almighty God, this power is all too often forgotten as we endure the constant trials in life. This brief war story between Hezekiah and Sennacherib is a sublime reminder that when we base our confidence in Him and His promises, we hold victory in the palm of our hand because our strength comes from His hand and no other. He holds the power to act for, or against, all who breath. And when we’re given to temptation to doubt His action, due to our impatience or unbelief, we must resist. For those who taunt us, or brazenly beat on the Creator of us all, their day of reckoning is beckoning. He will act, not only on our behalf, but to bring glory to Himself.
When confronted by mouths that deceive, or claims that we’re being mislead by the words of God, we must remember the words of encouragement Hezekiah gave his people as they stood their ground and fought for their rightful place; “there is a greater power with us than with him.” To absentmindedly forget this will cost us as we enter the various battles before us, causing us undue grief and stress over circumstances that He is Lord over. Who knows? Maybe we’ll be witness to watching those who’ve provoked God, and those He protects, be put in their place. Until then, we can stand confident and convicted by His truths and as equally confident and convicted that, one day, they will conquer all.