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Hezekiah prays for help, Sennacherib says not to bother because he always wins, God answers Hezekiah’s prayer: 2 Kings 19:1–19; Isaiah 37:1–20; 2 Chronicles 32:9–19; 2 Kings 19:20–37; Isaiah 37:21–38; 2 Chronicles 32:20–23–22

King Sennacherib of Assyria was perhaps overconfident in his ability to win a war, not just over Jerusalem, but over the God of Jerusalem. Forced to delay his planned siege of Jerusalem to fight the Ethiopians, King Sennacherib of Assyria sent his officers to the people of Jerusalem to shout insults, in Hebrew, to the people gathered on the walls of the city. The Bible records that they talked about the God of Jerusalem as though he were one of the pagan gods, made by human hands.

For example:

2 Kings 18:13-15 Surely you must realize what I and the other kings of Assyria before me have done to all the people of the earth! Were any of the gods of those nations able to rescue their people from my power? Which of their gods was able to rescue its people from the destructive power of my predecessors? What makes you think your God can rescue you from me? Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you! Don’t let him fool you like this! I say it again—no god of any nation or kingdom has ever yet been able to rescue his people from me or my ancestors. How much less will your God rescue you from my power!

The Bible tells us that the Assyrians further mocked God and his servant Hezekiah, “heaping insult upon insult”.

Hezekiah prayed, asked Isaiah for help, making the point that:

2 Kings 19:17-19 It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations. And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands. Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O Lord, are God.

Now it wasn’t just one country invading another. Both sides had invoked God’s name. The reply from Isaiah came (about the Assyrian king):

2 Kings 19:20-22 Whom have you been defying and ridiculing?
Against whom did you raise your voice?
At whom did you look with such haughty eyes?
It was the Holy One of Israel!’

It didn’t end well for Sennacherib.

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