The Resistance & Defiance In the Heart of One Who Trusts the Lord

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah the son Amoz which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters thirty-six of thirty-nine of this Old Testament prophetic book. When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find words which describe the events surrounding the life of the final king who would see the prophetic ministry of Isaiah in the midst of the land. As you come to chapters thirty-six through thirty-nine—if you have read the Old Testament from Genesis through this point—you will find that this is yet another series of passages and chapters that describes the events of the life and reign of Hezekiah king of Judah. If you turn and direct your attention to the Old Testament books of Second Kings, as well as Second Chronicles you will find that within each of these books the author presents a picture of Hezekiah king of Judah. What’s actually quite interesting is when you think about the fact that there were four chapters dedicated within the prophetic book of Isaiah to events which took place within the days of the reign of Hezekiah king of Judah, and the events which we find and read within the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah are found in two other places within the Old Testament. Were you to do a side by side comparison of the three texts—the text found in the book of Second Kings, the text found in the book of Second Chronicles, as well as the text that was found in the book of Isaiah—you will find that each of these passages described the same exact events which took place within the reign of Hezekiah king of Judah. What makes the references to the life and reign of Hezekiah within the Old Testament book of Second Kings and Second Chronicles different than what is found within the prophetic book of Isaiah is the additional attention that was given to the righteousness of Hezekiah. Upon reading the words which are found in the prophetic book of Isaiah you will find that the narrative of Hezekiah’s life and reign as king over the southern kingdom of Judah would pick up with Sennacherib king of Assyria invading the southern kingdom of Judah and besieging the city of Jerusalem. What’s more, is that within this narrative found in the prophetic book of Isaiah is that we find the same description of Sennacherib sending Rabshakeh from Lachich to Jerusalem with a powerful message of intimidation, terror, dread, fear, anxiety, and the like. Before getting into the narrative of Sennacherib king of Assyria and Rabshakeh I feel it is absolutely necessary to first understand Hezekiah the man.

As I sit here this morning I find myself coming face to face with the awesome reality that before we can understand Hezekiah as the king of the southern kingdom of Judah, and as the one who reigned upon the throne of his father David, it is necessary to recognize and understand Hezekiah as a man. More often than we neglect to understand and recognize that it was never the king that made the man, but it was the man that made the king. When we read the narratives concerning the kings of the southern kingdom of Judah, as well as the northern kingdom of Israel we tend to focus solely on either the righteousness of that king which sat upon the throne in the midst of God’s people, or the wickedness and evil of that king which sat upon the throne in the midst of the people of God. Moreover ten than not we fail to recognize that the quality and type of king which sat upon the throne—regardless of whether it was the throne in the northern kingdom of Israel, or the throne in the southern kingdom of Judah—was determined by the man, and more specifically, that man’s relationship to and with the living God. From the time the northern kingdom of Israel was torn away from the house of David and became its own kingdom and nation in the midst of the earth there was not a single righteous king who sat upon the throne in Samaria. Each and every king that sat upon the throne in the northern kingdom of Israel did that which was evil in the sight of the living God, and what’s more—there were kings who did such great and such grotesque evil in the sight of the living God that He would pronounce judgment upon their entire house, and would cut off their house, their name and their lineage from the midst of the earth. Such kings who would experience this particular reality were Jereboam son of Nebat, Ahaz, Baasha, and others. It is important for us to realize and recognize this, for there was a marked and noticeable difference between the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah—namely, that northern kingdom of Israel would not have a son of David sitting upon the throne in the midst of the land. If you take the time yo read the words which are found in the books of First and Second Kings, as well as the books of Second Chronicles, you will find that there was not a single son of David which sat upon the throne in the midst of the northern kingdom of Israel, for that throne would indeed and would in fact be present in the southern kingdom of Judah, and specifically within the city of Jerusalem.

Perhaps one of the most fundamental differences surrounding the southern kingdom of Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel is that the southern kingdom of Judah would have within its borders the Temple which Solomon would build, as well as the throne of David. Within the southern kingdom of Judah you will find the throne of David in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, and upon that throne a son of David would rule, reign and govern the people of God in the midst of the land. It’s actually quite intriguing to think about and consider the fact that within the southern kingdom of Judah—not only did you have the symbol of the glory of God in the Temple which Solomon had built, but you also had the symbol of the government of God in the throne of David which the LORD Himself had established in the midst of the earth. We dare not miss and lose sight of this particular reality, for to do so would be to miss out on what made the southern kingdom of Judah so drastically, markedly and noticeably different from the northern kingdom of Israel. With all of this being said, it’s important to note that there were sons of David who would do that which was right in the sight of the living God, and would walk in faithfulness, righteousness and obedience in His sight. There were kings who sat upon the throne of David in the midst of the southern kingdom of Judah who would do that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and who would specifically engage themselves in both the Law of the LORD, as well as the ministry of the Temple. When I speak about the ministry of the Temple, I am referring to their desire, their passion, and their affection for the Temple. This would be manifested in their need and their desire to bring repair and restoration to the Temple which would suffer during the days of kings who did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD. We dare not miss and lose sight of the awesome and incredible fact that there were indeed and there were in fact kings and sons of David who did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, and who would rule and reign over the people of God. Scripture paints a picture of how there were more sons of David who did that which was right in the sight of the living God than those who did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, and Hezekiah would be one of those sons of David who would do what was right in the sight of the LORD. What’s more, is that Hezekiah’s obedience, faithfulness and righteousness before and in the sight of the living God would be directly linked, directly connected, and directly compared to David and his obedience before the LORD. With that being said and with this in mind, I would like to invite you to consider the words which were written in the books of Second Kings and Second Chronicles concerning Hezekiah and his being a king which did that which was right in the sight of the living God as his father David did:

“Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did. He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan. He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses. And the LORD was with him; and he prospered whithersoever he went forth: and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not. He smote the Philistines, even unto Gaza, and the borders thereof, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city” (2 Kings 18:1-8).

“Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and twenty years in J era Salem. And his mother’s name was Abijah, the daughter of Zachariah. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done. He in the first year of his reign, in the firth month, opened the doors of the house of the LORD, and repaired them. And he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them together into the east street, and said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the LORD God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthy ness out of the holy place. For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD our God, and have forsaken him, and have turned their backs. Also they have shut up the doors of the porch, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt offerings in the holy place unto the God of Israel. Wherefore the wrath of the LORD was upon Judah and Jerusalem, and he hath delivered them to trouble, to astonishment, and to hissing, as ye see with your eyes. For, lo, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this. Now it is in mine heart to make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel, that his fierce wrath may turn away from us. My sons, be not now negligent: for the LORD hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him, and burn incense” (2 Chronicles 29:1-11).

It is within each of these passages of Scripture we encounter and come face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that Hezekiah was a son of David who did that which was right in the sight of the LORD. In fact, Scripture—both in the book of Second Kings, as well as the book of Second Chronicles—records how he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this powerful statement and declaration concerning Hezekiah king of Judah—particularly and especially when you consider that when you read the book of First Samuel you will find the LORD through the prophet Samuel declaring that He was searching after and looking for a man after His own heart. I have previously written how on the one hand this could reference a man who sought after, pursued, desired and delighted in the heart of the living God, or on the other hand this could reference a man whose heart was literally formed, fashioned, created and shaped after that of the living God’s. What’s more, is that we cannot ignore the fact that when the prophet Samuel declared how the LORD was looking for a man after His own heart, it might very well have been both of these realities wrapped up and combined into one. When the prophet Samuel emphatically declared and proclaimed unto Saul that the LORD was looking for and searching after a man after His own heart, it is highly likely that the LORD was not only looking for a man whose heart was formed and fashioned after His own, but also a man who passionately pursued the heart of God with all their strength and might. What’s more, is that we have oftentimes read these words and thought that David alone was a man after God’s own heart, and that this reality essentially stopped with David. The truth of the matter is that I am absolutely convinced that when the LORD declared that He was seeking after and searching for a man after His own heart, He was indeed and was in fact looking for that man who would be after His own heart, however, I would also declare that the living God was seeking to take from that man after His own heart and create a lineage and generations of sons who were after God’s own heart. If you read the books of First and Second Kings, as well as the book of Second Chronicles you will find that when Scripture spoke of those kings who did what was right in the sight of the LORD—more often than not their righteousness was directly in alignment with that which David their father had done. More often than not the righteousness which those kings who did what was right in the sight of the LORD was directly compared to that which David their father had done. Hezekiah king of Judah was one such king of whom it was not only written that he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but he also did what was right in the sight of the LORD as David his father had done.

I feel the need to call and draw your attention to the reality that Hezekiah was indeed a man who did that which was right in the sight of the living God, and he did so after and according to the same manner in which David his father had done. If there is one thing I absolutely love about the declaration of Samuel concerning the LORD looking for a man after His own heart, it’s that the LORD didn’t declare that He was looking for a king after his own heart, but was looking for a man after His own heart. It’s necessary that we recognize and understand this truth and reality, for it brings us face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that when Scripture speaks to Hezekiah doing that which was right in the sight of the living God, it was not referring to Hezekiah as a king doing that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but rather Hezekiah as a man doing that which was right in the sight of the LORD. Hezekiah was twenty and five years old when he began to reign in the midst of the southern kingdom of Judah, and in the first month of his reign he opened the doors of the house of the LORD, repaired them, and brought in the priests and Levites to resume the ministry and office they were ordained and appointed by the LORD their God to do through His servant Moses. What’s more, is that Hezekiah was a man who brake down the brasen serpent which Moses had set up in the midst of the wilderness, for up to that time the children of Israel had burned incense to it. Even more than this, we find that Hezekiah wholeheartedly rejected the idolatry of those sons and those kings who had gone before him and had done that which was evil in the sight of the LORD. The author of the book of Second Kings writes and recorded how Hezekiah removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves which were in the midst of the land. This is extremely and incredibly important, for there were kings before Hezekiah who did what was right in the sight of the LORD, however, they would not touch, nor would they address the high places which were present in the midst of the land. In fact, it would be until the days of the reign of Josiah king of Judah that such a complete and utter break from the idolatry in the midst of the land would be completely and utterly destroyed, as Josiah would launch a personal and national campaign of holiness and righteousness in the midst of the southern kingdom of Judah, as well as the northern kingdom of Israel. Josiah would be that one king who would make a complete sweep and complete break from the idolatry of previous generations, and from the idolatry which previous kings had given themselves over to in the midst of the land. Even with this being said, however, we cannot miss and lose sight of that which Hezekiah king of Judah did, for Hezekiah would not only open the doors of the Temple of the LORD, but Hezekiah would also break down and destroy symbols of idolatry in the midst of the land. Within and during the reign of Hezekiah king of Judah—not only would we find him restoring the ministry of the priests and Levites, and the worship of the LORD in the Temple, but we also find him breaking down and destroying objects and symbols of idolatry in the midst of the land.

In order to understand the narrative that is found in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah concerning Hezekiah king of Judah it’s necessary to first understand this son of David—this man who sat and reigned upon the throne of his father David in the midst of Jerusalem and Judah. There was a great amount of emphasis that was placed on Hezekiah doing that which was right in the sight of the LORD as David his father had done, and yet I am convinced that in order to understand the events which took place in the prophetic book of Isaiah—events which are also written and recorded in the books of Second Kings and Second Chronicles—it is necessary to turn and direct our attention back to the eighteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Kings. It is in the seventh verse of this particular chapter we find Hezekiah doing something which I am convinced would essentially open the doors for Sennacherib king of Assyria to invade the southern kingdom of Judah—and not only invade the southern kingdom of Judah, but also to besiege the city of Jerusalem and send Rabshakeh of Lachish with a very specific message of intimidation before and unto the inhabitants of Jerusalem. As you read the words which are found in the seventh verse of the eighteenth chapter of the book of Second Kings you will find that in addition to Hezekiah doing that which was right in the sight of the LORD as David his father had done, and in addition to Hezekiah trusting in the LORD God of Israel, and on top of his cleaving to the LORD and departed not from following Him, he also rebelled against the king of Assyria, and refused to serve him. REBELLED AND REFUSED! It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand these words concerning his actions toward the king of Assyria, for they would help us understand just how and why Sennacherib king of Assyria would ultimately come to lay siege against the city of Jerusalem. What’s more, is that we must understand Hezekiah’s rebellion against the king of Assyria in direct connection with what was written concerning him in the sixth verse—namely, that he clave to the LORD, that He departed not from following Him, and that he kept the commandments which the LORD commanded Moses. More specifically. It is necessary that we understand Hezekiah’s rebellion against the king of Assyria in direct connection to his trusting in the LORD God of Israel, and His cleaving to the LORD, for there is not a doubt in my mind that these two declarations and statements not only invited the retaliation and retribution of the enemy and adversary, but they would also help Hezekiah when the king of Assyria would threaten the city of Jerusalem with its inhabitants. If you want to truly understand the words which are found in the Old Testament books of Second Kings, Second Chronicles, and the prophetic book of Isaiah concerning Sennacherib’s actions towards Jerusalem, towards the inhabitants within the city, and even toward Hezekiah, you must understand that it was Hezekiah’s trusting in the LORD and his rebellion against the king of Assyria that would work hand in hand with each other to invite the intimidation and threat of the enemy.

As I sit here this afternoon, I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which the apostle Peter wrote in the first epistle which he wrote unto those saints and believers which were scattered throughout the nations and lands of Asia and Europe, as well as the words which were James wrote in the epistle he wrote. I am absolutely and completely convinced that if we are to truly understand the tremendous significance of what is found within these chapters in the prophetic book of Isaiah, it is first necessary to consider the words which the apostle Peter and James the half brother of Jesus wrote within their respective epistles. It is the words which are found in those epistles which help to serve as a backdrop and foundation for what is found in the prophetic book of Isaiah, for I am convinced that what we read concerning Hezekiah king of Judah is a manifestation and picture of the words which Peter and James wrote within their New Testament epistles. The words found in each of these epistles not only speak of the great need for humility within the hearts of the people of God, but also of the awesome and tremendous need for the people of God to resist the devil and his schemes against them. What’s more, is that I am also convinced it is necessary to bring you face to face with the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the tenth and eleventh chapters of the second epistle he wrote to the Corinthian saints, as well as the words which are found in the sixth chapter of the epistle written unto the Ephesian saints and congregation. If you want to truly understand the depth and meaning of the words which are found in the epistles which the apostle Peter and James wrote, you must also recognize the words which the apostle Paul wrote concerning this ancient serpent who is called the Devil and Satan. With this in mind, I invite you to consider the following words found in each of these passages beginning with the words found in the second epistle written unto the Corinthian saints:

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).

“Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:1-3).

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the LORD, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching there unto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given u not me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:10-20).

“Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:5-11).

“But He giveth more grace. Wherefore He saith, God resisteth the proud of, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Cleanse your hands ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humbles yourselves in the sight of the LORD, and He shall lift you up” (James 4:6-10).

Within the epistles James the half brother of Jesus and the apostle Peter wrote we find the same language written concerning the enemy and adversary—namely, that we are to resist the devil. IN the first epistle the apostle Peter wrote we find him writing how our adversary is as a roaring lion walking about seeking whom he may devour, and how we are to resist him steadfast in the faith. The apostle Peter mentions absolutely nothing about the enemy and adversary fleeing from us through our resistance of him, however, when you come to the epistle which James the half brother of Jesus wrote you will find him not only encouraging us to resist the devil, but also adding the promise that through our resisting the devil he will flee from us. Both the apostle Peter, as well as James instructed and encouraged us to resist the devil, while James actually took it a step further and emphatically declared that through our resisting the devil he will flee from us. It’s actually quite intriguing to think about this concept of resisting the devil—and not only our resisting the devil, but also his fleeing from us—for it shines a great amount of light on to the words we find written in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah concerning Hezekiah and the king of Assyria. There is not a doubt in my mind that what we find within this Old Testament prophetic book is a powerful picture of what we find in the New Testament epistles which James and the apostle Peter wrote. What’s more, is that with that being said we find in the book of Second Kings Hezekiah the king of Judah rebelling against the king of Assyria—and not only rebelling against the king of Assyria, but also refusing to serve him. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this absolutely wonderful and astonishing reality, for to do so would be to miss out on something truly powerful concerning the narrative of his life. I am absolutely and completely convinced that what we find in the Old Testament book of Second Kings is a powerful picture of how each and every saint of the living God should live their lives within and upon this earth—namely, rebelling against the king of this world, who is Satan, and refusing to serve him. I firmly believe that Hezekiah is not only a picture of one who trusted in the LORD, and one who clave to the LORD as the saints of God should be, but also how that trust in the LORD, and that cleaving to the LORD was ultimately positioned him to be in a place where he would rebel against the king of Assyria and refuse to serve him.

In the New Testament epistles which the apostle Peter and James the half brother of Jesus wrote we find the mention of humility, and how humility appears to be directly linked and connected to our resisting the devil who as a roaring lion walks about seeking whom he may devour. In the Old Testament book of Second Kings, however, we don’t necessarily find any mention of humility per se, but we do find mention of trusting in the LORD, and cleaving to the LORD. This must be carefully considered and thought about, for there is not a doubt in my mind that Hezekiah’s rebellion against the king of Assyria and his subsequent refusal to serve him was directly rooted in his trust in the LORD, and his cleaving unto Him with his heart. I firmly believe that Hezekiah’s trusting in the LORD and his cleaving unto him positioned him to be in the place where he would and could not serve the king of Assyria. So long as Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, and so long as Hezekiah clave unto the LORD he would and could not serve the king of Assyria. Hezekiah’s rebellion against the king was directly rooted and ground in his trust in the LORD, for he would and could not have it both ways. Either Hezekiah would serve the king of Assyria and not trust in the LORD, or Hezekiah would trust in the LORD and not serve the king of Assyria. This is something we must needs pay close and careful attention to, for it was Hezekiah’s trust in the LORD that positioned him to be in the place where he would not serve the king of Assyria, and where he would rebel against him, and it would be that rebellion against the king of Assyria and that refusal to serve him that would open the doors for that same king to invade the land of Judah, and to threaten and lay siege to the city with its inhabitants, nobles, elders, leaders, rulers, and the king himself. Undoubtedly, Sennacherib was still basking in the great glory of his success in laying siege to the capital city of Samaria in the northern kingdom of Israel, and his carrying away captive men, women and children from the midst of the land. If and as you study Scripture you will find that it would be during the days of Hezekiah king of Judah the northern kingdom of Israel would be invaded by Sennacherib king of Assyria, and would ultimately experience the devastation and destruction prophesied and foretold by the prophets. Hezekiah would watch as the northern kingdom of Israel would be invaded by Sennacaherib king of Assyria, and would watch how during the days of Hoshea king of Israel the nation—including its capital city of Samaria—would fall to Sennacherib king of Assyria, and how only the southern kingdom of Judah would remain.

The more I think about Hezekiah’s rebellion against the king of Assyria, and his refusal to serve him, the more I can’t help but get the strong sense that he watched what Sennacherib had done unto the northern kingdom of Israel and decided that he would not serve him, and would not become a vassal of a kingdom and empire that was not under the government of the LORD. What’s more, is that I would dare say that those whose hearts are set upon trusting in the LORD cannot and will not serve the king of this world—regardless of what others before and around them do. Much like the three Hebrews who refused to bow down and serve the image made of gold which Nebuchadnezzar had set up in the plain of Dura in the land of Shinar, and much like Daniel refused to stop praying despite the decree that was signed by the king, Hezekiah refused to serve the king of Assyria, and would not allow himself to become subject to him. Furthermore, is that through Hezekiah’s refusal to serve the king of Assyria, he was actually making this decision for the entire nation and kingdom, for if Hezekiah would not serve the king of Assyria, the entire nation and kingdom of Judah would not serve the king of Assyria. If Hezekiah would not serve the king of Assyria, and if Hezekiah would rebel against the king of Assyria, then the city of Jerusalem would not serve the king of Assyria. Hezekiah was unwilling to allow the nation and kingdom of Judah—the nation and kingdom of the people of God—to serve the king of the world during that time. Please don’t miss the absolutely incredible importance of this reality, for Scripture speaks of the enemy and adversary as the prince of this world, and even the apostle Paul wrote of the rulers of darkness over this present world. There is not a doubt in my mind that Sennacherib—who was the king of the dominant power in the midst of the earth during that time—was a type and picture of the prince of the earth, and the king of the world. Hezekiah’s refusal to serve the king of Assyria was a decision to rebel against the most powerful ruler and leader during those days, and even the words of Rabshakah seemed to boast of the great strength and might of Assyria. Rabshakeh didn’t merely speak about Assyria’s conquest and domination of the northern kingdom of Israel, but also of other nations, peoples, lands, and kingdoms during those times. The words which this messenger of the king of Assyria were not only a message of intimidation, but they were also words which pointed directly to the conquest of Assyria, and were meant to bring the people of Jerusalem into a place of fear and intimidation as they would hear of the great conquests and exploits of Assyria in the midst of the earth. Consider if you will the words which Rabshakeh spoke outside the walls of the city of Jerusalem in the tongue of the Hebrews, which any who listened would have understood:

“Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the defenced cities of Judah, and took them. And the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem unto king Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller’s field. Then came forth unto him Eliakim, Hilkiah’s son, which was over the house, and Sheba the scribe, and Josh, Asaph’s son, the recorder. And Rabshakeh said unto them, Say ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this wherein thou trustest? I say, sayest thou, (but they are but vain words) I have counsel and strength for war: now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me? Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; wherein if a man lean, it will go into his hand, an pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that rust in him. But if thou say to me, We trust in the LORD our God: is it not He, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and said to Judah and to Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar? Now therefore give pledges, I pray thee, to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give thee two thousand horses, if thou e able on thy part to set riders upon them. How then wilt thou turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master’s servants, and put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and fore horsemen? And am I now come up without the LORD against this land to destroy it? The LORD said unto me, Go up against this land, and destroy it…Hath my master sent me to thy master and to thee to speak these words? Hath he not sent me to the men that sit upon the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you? Then Rabshakeh stood, and cried with a loud voice in the Jews’ language, and said, Hear ye the words of the great king, the king of Assyria, Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you; for he shall not be able to deliver you. Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us: this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria. Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me: and eat ye every one of his vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his own cistern; until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards. Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying, The LORD will deliver us. Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arphad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? And have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Who are they among all the gods of these lands, that have delivered their land out of my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand? But they held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the king’s commandment was, saying, Answer him not. Then came Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, that was over the household, and Sheba the scribe, and Josh, the son of Asaph, the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of Rabshakeh” (Isaiah 36:1-22).

I can’t help but consider this concept of Hezekiah rebelling against the king of Assyria, and his refusal to serve him as being a powerful picture of the saint of God who not only rebels against the king of this world, but who also refuses to serve him. Through Hezekiah we see a powerful picture of that saint and that believer in the LORD who not only trusts in Him, and who not only cleaves to Him, but who also refuses to serve the king of this world. You will notice that it was precisely because Hezekiah refused to serve the king of Assyria, and because Hezekiah rebelled against him that the king of Assyria invaded the land, took all the defenced cities, and then came against Jerusalem and laid siege to it. What brought the king of Assyria up against Jerusalem with a great army was Hezekiah’s refusal to serve him—a reality which we must understand concerning our own walk with the LORD, for while we must needs make the decision to trust in the LORD, and to cleave to Him completely, we must also make the decision whether or not we are going to refuse to serve the king of this world. If we do in fact make the decision not to serve the king of this world we must needs recognize and understand that it will undoubtedly and almost certainly bring the king of this world against us in order that he might threaten and intimidate us. Just as Sennacherib came against Jerusalem with a great army because Hezekiah refused to serve him and rebelled against him, so also the enemy and adversary can and will come against us with a great army, and with a great force when we refuse to serve him, and when we rebel against him. If there is one thing we must recognize concerning the prince and king of this world, it’s that he vehemently hates and abhors with a passion those who refuse to serve him. Perhaps one of the greatest questions we must ask ourselves as we consider the narrative surrounding Hezekiah king of Judah is whether or not we are willing to be men and women who are unwilling to serve the king of this world, and whether or not we are absolutely unwilling to be vassals of the king of this world, and serve within his kingdom which he set up. There must be a point within our lives when we make the conscious and deliberate decision whether or not we are going to trust in the LORD, and as a direct result refuse to serve the king of this world, or whether or not we are going to serve the king of this world and refuse to trust the LORD. What’s more, is that we cannot have it both ways, for either we will trust in the LORD and as a direct result refuse to serve the king of this world, or we will choose to serve the king of this world, and as a result refuse to trust in the LORD.

What so absolutely amazes me about the narrative of Hezekiah is that not only only was he a man and a king who refused to serve the king of this world and rebelled against him, but even when that king marched against the city of Jerusalem with a great army, took all the defenced cities, and threatened Hezekiah and all the inhabitants of Judah, he continued his defiance before and against the king. This defiance, however, would not be an open and overt defiance that would be seen outside the walls of the city of Jerusalem, nor would it be heard by Rabshakeh, nor would it be manifested through weapons of warfare. The defiance of Hezekiah would not manifested through spears and shields, through swords and bows, nor through matching army with army. The defiance of Hezekiah would be found in the unseen place as Hezekiah would defy the king of Assyria before the LORD in and through prayer in His house. As you continue reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find that when Hezekiah heard the words which Rabshakeh had spoken unto those in his court, he rent his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD. What’s more, is that in addition to this, he sent certain of his officials unto Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz. The words and message which Hezekiah sent unto Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz were as follows: “Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of t double, and of rebuke, and of blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth. It may be the LORD thy God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the LORD thy servant hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that is left” (Isaiah 36: 3-4). When the messengers of Hezekiah came unto the prophet Isaiah, the prophet would declare unto them that they ought not be afraid of the words which they had heard—the words which the servants of the king of Assyria had blasphemed against the LORD. Furthermore, the prophet would go on to declare u not them that the LORD would send a blast upon Sennacherib king of Assyria, and he would hear a rumour, and return to his own land. Furthermore, Isaiah would declare and prophesy unto them that the LORD would cause the king of Assyria to fall be the sword within his own land, thus being no more within the earth. Upon the return of Rabshakeh unto Sennacherib he would find the king of Assyria warring against LIbnah, for the king had heard that he was departed from Lachish and that the king of Ethiopia had come to make war with him.

Before getting into what is ultimately the crux of Hezekiah’s defiance against the king of Assyria it is necessary to consider the fact that even after seeing the king of Assyria making war with LIbnah, word and a message would be sent unto Hezekiah king of Judah with a very specific message. The words of the message which were sent in the form of a letter unto Hezekiah were as follows: “Let not thy God, in whom thou trustest, deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by destroying them utterly; and shalt thou be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed, as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Telassar? Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arphad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah” (Isaiah 37:10-13). The thirty-seventh chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah begins and opens with Hezekiah rending his clothes, covering himself with sackcloth, and entering into the house of the LORD in response to the words which Rabshakeh had spoken in the hearing of his officials outside the walls of the city of Jerusalem. As you continue reading you will find Hezekiah receiving an additional threat and word of intimidation from Rabshakeh the messenger of the king of Assyria, and would take the letter, read it, bring it into the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. What we find here in response to letter which was received is actually the greatest illustration and manifestation of Hezekiah’s defiance against the king of Assyria, for upon receiving and reading the letter, Hezekiah would take the letter which he had received, would spread it before the LORD in His house, and would pray unto the LORD. ENTERING THE HOUSE OF THE LORD! SPREADING THE WORDS OF THE ENEMY BEFORE THE LORD!Q PRAYING UNTO THE LORD! It is absolutely necessary that we understand Hezekiah’s praying unto the LORD after spreading the words of the letter before the LORD, for when I write and speak of his defiance against the king of Assyria, what I am actually speaking about is his defiance and his resistance against the king, and against his words in prayer. In the thirty-sixth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah we find Hezekiah rebelling against the king of Assyria and refusing to serve him, and in the thirty-seventh chapter of this prophetic book we find Hezekiah resisting him—yet not resisting him through means of earthly warfare and conflict, but through prayer and intercession before the LORD.

It is absolutely necessary that we understand this defiance and resistance of Hezekiah as being manifested through his entering into the house of the LORD, and through his spreading the letter before the LORD, and ultimately praying before and unto the LORD. When we read the words which the apostle Peter and James the half brother of Jesus wrote concerning resisting the devil, we must recognize and understand that this resistance is done directly through prayer before and unto the LORD. There is not a doubt in my mind that Hezekiah is a wonderful and powerful picture of how we resist the enemy and adversary who although he walks about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, has to flee from before us. We must realize and recognize within this passage that Hezekiah resisted the king of Assyria, resisted his words, resisted his threats, resisted his army, resisted Rabshakeh, resisted his intimidation, and not only would the king of Assyria flee from him, but in a single night one-hundred and eighty-five thousand of his army would be slain by the angel of the LORD. Moreover, the king of Assyria himself would return unto his own land, and would return to Nineveh where he would enter into the house of his god to worship, and it would be there he would be slain by his own sons who would escape into the land of Armenia. Within the narrative of Hezekiah king of Assyria—not only do we find a powerful picture of resisting the king of this world through prayer, but we also find the direct result and manifestation of that resistance as coming through prayer and intercession before the LORD as we enter into His house and enter into His presence. Hezekiah did not ignore the words which Rabshakeh had spoken in their hearing, and Hezekiah did not refuse to acknowledge them, but he actually took them before the LORD. In fact, in the middle of the thirty-seventh chapter of this prophetic book we find Hezekiah praying unto the LORD after having spread the words of the letter which he had received from the hand of his messengers. Consider if you will the words which Hezekiah prayed before and unto the LORD, and consider if you will what this resistance of the king of this world truly does look like in this life:

“And Hezekiah prayed unto the LORD, saying, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thoua lone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth. Incline thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open thine eyes, O LORD, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God. Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries, and have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them. Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only” (Isaiah 37:15-20).

Please pay close and careful attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture, for within it we see Hezekiah’s defiance and resistance of the king of Assyria being manifested through prayer before and unto the LORD. When we read the words which the apostle Peter and James the half brother of Jesus wrote concerning our resisting the devil and his fleeing from us, it would be very easy to misunderstand what this truly means for us within this life, and yet I am absolutely and completely convinced that when we speak about resisting the enemy and adversary we are actually speaking of resisting the enemy and adversary through prayer and through intercession. What’s more, is that resisting the devil doesn’t mean that we ignore the words which he spoke, nor even the very real threats which he has raised up against us. Resisting the devil doesn’t mean that we ignore that which he has unleashed within our lives, for he might very well have invaded our lives so to speak, and he might very well have unleashed hell against and upon us. What I absolutely love about the narrative of Hezekiah is that on both occasions when he resisted the king of Assyria through prayer in the house of the LORD the king of Assyria would retreat and would essentially flee from the land. In the first instance we find the king of Assyria warring against LIbnah after hearing a report of the king of Ethiopia coming out to make war against him, and after one-hundred and eighty-five thousand of the men in his army were slaughtered in a single night by the angel of the LORD we find him returning, retreating and fleeing for good. Focus on both of these realities and manifestations, for Hezekiah’s resistance of the king of this world would result in his fleeing from him—and not only fleeing from him, but fleeing from him on two distinct and two different occasions. In the first instance of the king of Assyria fleeing from Hezekiah we find it being because of a rumor he heard about another king coming out to make war against him, and in the second instance we find the king of Assyria fleeing from Hezekiah after the angel of the LORD slaughtered one-hundred and eighty-five thousand of his men in a single night.

As I bring this writing to a close it is absolutely necessary that we pay close attention to the narrative of Hezekiah king of Judah, for within and through his narrative we encounter and come face to face with our own resistance of the enemy through prayer and through intercession. We must needs recognize and understand this truly wonderful and truly astonishing truth, for when the apostle Peter and James the half brother of Jesus speak of resisting the devil—neither one of them actually revealed, nor did they speak of what that resistance would look like, and how that resistance would actually play out. We know from Scripture that we are to resist the devil, and we know that the devil must indeed flee from us because he is and has already been a defeated foe, however, neither of these New Testament authors actually reveals how we do so. With this being said, it’s important that we recognize and understand what they do instruct us to do, for both New Testament author gives us very specific instruction. The apostle Peter instructs us to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, to cast all our care upon Him, to be sober, to be vigilant, and to resist the devil being steadfast in our faith. James also goes on to reveal additional information directly linked and connected to our resisting the enemy and adversary—namely, that we are to submit ourselves to God, that we are to resist the devil, and that we are to draw near to God. Mark these words and mark them well, for they reveal incredible wisdom on what is directly linked to our resisting the devil—namely, submitting ourselves to God, drawing near unto God, humbling ourselves in the sight of the LORD, and casting all our cares upon the LORD. I absolutely love this concept of casting all our cares upon the LORD, for that is precisely what Hezekiah did on both occasions when he heard and received the words which Rabshakeh had brought against him. Hezekiah took the cares which were triggered by these words and cast them before and upon the LORD, and it was through his casting the cares of those words, and through his prayer before and unto the LORD that he was able to firmly resist the king of Assyria while at the same time trusting in the LORD and cleaving unto Him. Oh that we would see and recognize the wonderful and powerful invitation that is presented unto us to be a people who not only resist the devil, but who do so through submission unto God, who do so through casting all our cares upon the LORD, who do so through humbling ourselves in the sight of the LORD, and who do so through prayer and intercession before the LORD. There is an undeniable and powerful invitation to resist the devil, and that invitation is an invitation to resist the enemy and adversary through prayer and through intercession as we enter into the presence of the LORD, as we enter into His house, and as we lift our voices up before Him in prayer. Let us this day purpose and determine that we are going to be a people who are going to not only stand firm and stand steadfast in our faith, but also that we would resist the devil standing firm in that faith, and that we would resist the devil through prayer and intercession in the sight and presence of the living God.

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