2 Kings 18:13–19:37; Acts 21:1-17; Psalm 149:1-9; Proverbs 18:8
Praises in Their Mouth, and a Sword in Their Hand
Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints. Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp. For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand; – Psalm 149:1-6
That All the Kingdoms of the Earth May Know
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. 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. 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. Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands, 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, 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. – 2 Kings 19:14-19
In yesterday’s reading, the Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom of Israel and sent ten of the ancient tribes into exile. In today’s reading, the Assyrians attempt to overthrow the kingdom of Judah. Assyria’s king Sennacherib sent officials to intimidate them into surrender. The officials taunted Jerusalem saying: “Who are they among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of mine hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand? – 2 Kings 18:35.
King Hezekiah took off his robes and put on a sackcloth. He went to God’s Temple and dispatched messengers to find the prophet, Isaiah. Isaiah’s message was that the Assyrians would withdraw because they would hear a rumor of threats from another army. Sennacherib sent a threatening letter to Hezekiah, recounting all of his conquests and telling Hezekiah that Jerusalem would fall next.
Here was Hezekiah, with the enemy there threatening and taunting. Finally, Hezekiah took Sennacherib’s letter into the temple, laid it before the Lord, and confessed his powerlessness. Then – God wiped out the Assyrian army. Sennacherib withdrew to Nineveh, the capital city of his kingdom. There he was killed by two of his sons, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah that we also read in these passages today.
There is a lesson here for times that we feel intimidated and backed against a wall. Sennacherib’s letter was meant to scare Hezekiah into defeat, but the intimidation was nothing more than idle words next to God’s mighty power. When we find ourselves in these situations, we have a choice—we can believe the threats of the enemy, or we can believe and act on God’s holy Word – casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. – 1 Peter 5:7
For I Am Ready Not to Be Bound Only
And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done. – Acts 21:10-14
The Words of a Talebearer are as Wounds
The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly. – Proverbs 18:8