The Reading: 2 Kings 18:9-37
“(he) stripped the gold from the doors of the Temple … and gave it to the king of Assyria” (v.16) RSV
After Hezekiah had been king of Judah for four years the Assyrians, under Sennacherib, defeated the northern kingdom (Israel). Ten years later they were at the doors of Jerusalem. Hezekiah’s first line of defence was to try to buy them off. He stripped the temple of its silver and even took off the very gold from the doors which he had only fourteen years earlier put on.
The crisis of a foreign and powerful enemy was upon him. At first appeasement seemed the prudent approach, but it was not going to work. Fortunately Hezekiah had had the presence of mind over the previous years to build a tunnel from outside Jerusalem to inside, in order to bring water so that they would not die of thirst during any siege. This tunnel ended at the Pool of Siloam in the city of Jerusalem, and it can be walked through to this day.
The Assyrians did not go away. Instead they increased the pressure, sending alarming and threatening messages. But the people in Jerusalem loved and trusted their king. How vital it is for a leader to win the hearts and minds of his people. They did not try to reason with the enemy but left it to their King.
When we are under attack and our enemy frightens us, we too must turn to our Lord, for he has promised never to leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5-6). Certainly we need to stand our ground and not run away. But as we stand and face the enemy, calm in the strength of the Lord, we will find the enemy will flee (James 4:7).
When Jesus was attacked by the Devil in his Wilderness Temptation we read that he calmly and resolutely stood his ground. He countered each assault with the word of God, and eventually, it says, “the devil left him” (Matthew 4:11). He was to be attacked from time to time but each time he resisted and was successful. Let us be encouraged.
Lord, with you I can face any foe. Grant me the confidence to stand my ground and to see your deliverance. Amen.
1 How hard can it be to stand against evil?
2 What armour do we put on to fight the good fight?