II Kings 19

Prayer changes things.
If the motive of our prayer is the honor of God,
we may be sure He will graciously and copiously answer,
being able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.

1 And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD.

2 And he sent Eliakim, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz.

3 And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth.

4 It may be the LORD thy God will hear all 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 God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that are left.

5 So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah.

6 ¶ And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say to your master, Thus saith the LORD, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me.

7 Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.

8 ¶ So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish.

9 And when he heard say of Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, Behold, he is come out to fight against thee: he sent messengers again unto Hezekiah, saying,

10 Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God in whom thou trustest deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.

11 Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly: and shalt thou be delivered?

12 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 Thelasar?

13 Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivah?

14 ¶ And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.

15 And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth.

16 LORD, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God.

17 Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands,

18 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.

19 Now therefore, O LORD our God, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD God, even thou only.

20 ¶ Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, That which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard.

21 This is the word that the LORD hath spoken concerning him; The virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee.

22 Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel.

23 By thy messengers thou hast reproached the Lord, and hast said, With the multitude of my chariots I am come up to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon, and will cut down the tall cedar trees thereof, and the choice fir trees thereof: and I will enter into the lodgings of his borders, and into the forest of his Carmel.

24 I have digged and drunk strange waters, and with the sole of my feet have I dried up all the rivers of besieged places.

25 Hast thou not heard long ago how I have done it, and of ancient times that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste fenced cities into ruinous heaps.

26 Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded; they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb, as the grass on the housetops, and as corn blasted before it be grown up.

27 But I know thy abode, and thy going out, and thy coming in, and thy rage against me.

28 Because thy rage against me and thy tumult is come up into mine ears, therefore I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest.

29 And this shall be a sign unto thee, Ye shall eat this year such things as grow of themselves, and in the second year that which springeth of the same; and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruits thereof.

30 And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.

31 For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this.

32 Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it.

33 By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD.

34 For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.

35 ¶ And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.

36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.

37 And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esar-haddon his son reigned in his stead.

2 Kings 19:1-13 – ​Facing the Enemy’s Threatenings.

   That bowed form of Hezekiah before the altar of God, while his servants and elders were conferring with Isaiah, is a beautiful emblem of the true way of meeting trouble. And it is very blessed when our cause is so closely identified with God’s that we can appeal to him to intervene for his own sake (v. 4).
   All through this crisis, Isaiah acted the part of a patriot and a saint. His intrepid figure stands out in bold relief amid the storm. He even dared to compose a funeral ode for the burial of this imperious tyrant. In all literature there is nothing more sublime than Isaiah 10:11-14. When bitter and threatening words are flung at us, let us go up to the house of God (Psalm 73:17). Let us get in touch with some holy soul, of the type of Isaiah, and ask for his prayers on our behalf. The prayer of a righteous man is very effectual. To stand in God’s secret place is to be in the calm center of the cyclone. Around us the elements may rage and the people imagine a vain thing; but they shall pass away as the chaff of the threshing-floor, while not a hair of our head shall perish.

2 Kings 19:14-24 – ​Spreading the Case before the Lord.

   That bowed form of King Hezekiah, kneeling before God with this insolent and blasphemous effusion spread out before him, is a beautiful suggestion of our duty under similar circumstances. When we receive letters of rebuke and unkindness, whether they are signed or anonymous, let us treat them as Hezekiah treated this one. Let us spread them before God, and plead with him to interpose for his holy Name’s sake. How blessed it is when our lot is so identified with God’s that we can forget ourselves in the one sincere desire that his character shall be vindicated and his Name honored! The selfish element has been so strong in our praying and doing!
   In all Scripture there is nothing finer than the magnificent answer to Sennacherib’s challenge which God gave through Isaiah. The phrase, “virgin daughter,” fittingly indicates that the foreign invader was not to set his foot in the Holy City. Listen to her gleeful laughter, as, strong in the Lord of hosts, she derides her foes (v. 21, etc.). But that faith may be ours. Others who have not made God their trust are like the green herb that withers in the drought: but they who are planted in God send their roots deep down to the moist earth and draw perennial freshness and strength.

2 Kings 19:14—And Hezekiah spread it before the LORD.

   Amid the panic that reigned in Jerusalem, the king and the prophet alone kept level heads, for they alone had quiet, trustful hearts. We hardly realize the crisis unless we compare it with the march of 200,000 soldiers upon some peaceful community. Israel had no earthly allies. Her only reinforcements could reach her from heaven, and it was the care of these two saintly men to implicate their cause with that of the living God (v. 4). This is the faith that overcomes the world, which realizes that God lives here and now in our home and life and circumstances. His cause is implicated in our deliverance; His name will be disgraced if we are overwhelmed, and honored, if preserved. He is our judge, Lawgiver and King, and is therefore bound by the most solemn obligations to save us, or His name will be tarnished.
   When therefore letters come to you, anonymous or otherwise, full of bitter reproach; when unkind and malignant stories are set on foot with respect to you; when all hope from man has perished, then take your complaint— the letter, the article, the speech, the rumor— and lay it before God. Let your requests be made known unto Him. Tell Him how absolutely you trust. Then malice and fear will pass from your heart, whilst peace and love will take their place: and presently there will come a swift message of comfort, like that which Isaiah, the son of Amoz, sent to Hezekiah, saying on the behalf of God, “That which thou hast prayed to me…I have heard” (v. 20).
   God knew the contents of the missive before you did; but He likes to read it again in the company of His child!

2 Kings 19:25-37 – ​The Answer of the King of Kings.

   These verses, taken with Isaiah 10:5-15, form a most suggestive and sublime comment on the words, “the Lord reigneth.” They show us God using the Assyrian as “the rod of mine anger” (Isaiah 10:5), and working personally and mightily through the politics of the world. Isaiah’s faith, through all this terrible crisis, was the one bulwark behind which king and people lay entrenched. What a gift one such man is to an entire people! His heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord, and he cannot be made afraid by evil tidings.
   It has been suggested that this was a Sabbatic year, the produce of which sufficed for 2 years (v. 29). In any case, the Sabbatic peace and calm had entered Isaiah’s soul. They who have learned to stay themselves on God may sing triumphal odes, in sure conviction of coming victory. Thus, also, it befell. The angel of God’s deliverance wrought through some terrible outbreak of plague, and thus the tents were strewn with the silent corpses of men who had yesterday been full of manly vigor. The Lord was Judge, Lawgiver, and King; and saved his people, as the mother-bird, with outspread wing, protects her brood against the hawk. God’s presence, like an invisible river, surrounded and saved his people. “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge” (Psalm 46:11).