2 Kings 18:14 – Then Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong; turn away from me; whatever you impose on me I will pay.” And the king of Assyria assessed Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. NKJV
The battle I will look at today is a very complicated battle with a lot going on. It will take several blogs to do it justice. It is a battle that is mentioned three times in the Bible, so I don’t want to rush through it, although I probably won’t get to all of it. It is mentioned in 2 Kings chapters 18-19, in 2 Chronicles chapters 32-33, and lastly in the book of Isaiah in chapters 36 through 37. I have always felt that the events that happened in this battle had to be important because it is written about more than any other battle. And I have always thought many of the things Sennacherib said and did reminds me of the enemy, so I am looking forward to sharing my findings.
We are immediately informed by the authors that Hezekiah was a king who honored God. As a matter of fact, he is mentioned as a king who did right in the sight of the Lord. When he became king, he was intent on getting rid of everything that dishonored God, even destroying the bronze serpent that Moses had made in the wilderness. (See Numbers 21:8). Hezekiah brought about great reforms to Judah. He ordered that they clean the temple, destroy idols, sanctify the priests and reinstitute worship in the temple. The tithe and the sacrifices were restored and the people were so excited that they gave an abundance of supply to the temple. He also had them reinstate the Passover, and they had such a wonderful time of worship that they held the Passover for two weeks instead of one.
Then Hezekiah rebelled against the king of Assyria. The Bible doesn’t tell us if this was God’s leading or Hezekiah’s plan for freedom, but it does say that he rebelled. Apparently, Hezekiah was king of Judah, but Judah was under Assyrian control or threat when Hezekiah said he wasn’t going to submit to Sennacherib any longer. This brought the wrath of the Assyrian king to Judah and he conquered 46 cities and towns surrounding Jerusalem and took the spoils and sent the people into captivity. When Hezekiah realized what had happened, he told the king that he had done wrong and would do whatever he asked of him. (This information is recorded in Assyrian history also). So Hezekiah paid tribute (or gold) to the king to be left alone.
This reminds me so much of how things work out spiritually for the believer. When a person is radically saved by the power of God, they make radical changes in their lives. They throw away drugs, they turn away from sexual sins, they walk away from immorality, as they allow God to conform them into His image. This is their rebellion against the previous ownership of the devil. But he doesn’t just let them walk away from him (anymore than Sennacherib was going to allow Judah to walk away), he goes on the attack! An attack that can sometimes make a person feel like he/she was better off unsaved. But that is not the truth! As a matter of fact it is a lie that has been used against the members of the body of Christ for far too long! Don’t fall for the lie!
Hezekiah fell for the lie. Sennacherib had already defeated Israel, three years previously. He had already stomped on the Egyptians who was supposed to be Hezekiah’s back up plan. He had destroyed the surrounding cities of Judah. And now he has turned his attention on Jerusalem! Hezekiah becomes a little nervous about all of this and begins to fear that he has brought destruction to Judah because of his plans to clean up the place! Maybe the devil caused him to think that all of his plans for restoring righteousness to Judah brought on these problems, so he needed to pull back on some of his reforms, namely rebelling against the king. So he compromises and tells the king he will do whatever he wants if he would just leave them alone. The king of Assyria demanded three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. Hezekiah gave him all the silver from the temple and from his own treasures and stripped the gold from the doors and pillars of both places. But this compromise does not stop Sennacherib, nor does it appeases him. So the first major point I want to make from this battle is that it doesn’t pay to compromise, so don’t do it! Ever!
When the enemy comes against you, making you feel like it doesn’t pay to live a righteous life, it’s an attempt to get you to compromise on the principles of your faith. Don’t give in to it! Single women, who love God passionately, and want to get married, I implore you to not compromise in your stand to stay pure for a godly mate. The devil is lying when he says to you that there are no single godly men and all the girls who are having sex are the ones getting married; and all the women living for God are single and will always be single. That’s just not the truth! But even if it is your current reality, to compromise will not bring you what you are looking for, just like it didn’t for Hezekiah! It will only bring you heartache that will last a whole lot longer than the wait for God to bring you a mate.
Have you been faithful on your job, working hard and believing for a promotion? But you were passed over for the guy who doesn’t work nearly as hard as you, but he parties with team? Be thankful that you were passed over because any job that will cause you to compromise your principles, to live contrary to the will of God for you life, is not a promotion that you want! Don’t compromise your stand for the Lord for money and position! It will not bring you the job satisfaction that you want! God still is the only one who promotes His children. There may be a wait, but it will be worth it!
When you are doing all that you know to do to live for God you will attract the attention of the enemy, as surely as Hezekiah did. Israel was overtaken because of their disobedience to God, but Hezekiah’s attack was purely because of his stand for righteousness. Don’t let this be a block to your living for God. Don’t let this be a reason for compromise. Know that God left a record for you of how the enemy will put pressure on you to compromise and that it isn’t worth it! Ever!
Hezekiah lost many cities because of his compromise. He started out doing so well. He was turning the hearts of the people back to God and God was with him while he was rebuilding the walls, restoring the temple, and calling people to worship. And as he was doing what was right in the eyes of the Lord, he was trusting Him. But when he heard about his cities and his people being taken into captivity, it was just too much of a burden and he ended up paying tribute to Sennacherib because he stopped trusting God. The compromise that was supposed to make his life easier and his kingdom safer only made things worst. And any compromise you make will make things worst for you. Stay tuned for what happened next. Wonderful Jesus!