After Hezekiah had faithfully carried out this work,
King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded Judah.
He laid siege to the fortified cities, giving orders for his army to break through their walls.
2 Chronicles 32:1 NLT
One of the biggest lies I fall into believing is that God will keep trouble from me if I’m faithful to him. I do realize how ridiculous that sounds – just looking at the words written out makes me SOL (Snort Out Loud) at myself. Unfortunately, it is not the first ridiculous lie I’ve let myself believe and it won’t be the last. They somehow float in undetected and latch themselves onto a part of my brain that is on auto-pilot. I don’t even realize there is a lie there until it has become a part of my daily operating system.
The truth didn’t even dawn on me until I read the rest of Hezekiah’s story. I was literally shocked by everything I read from the last verse of chapter 31 all the way through the end of 32. Then I became shocked at how shocked I was; that was what clued me into there being a misalignment between my faith and my actions. If what I believed lined up with how I am living, I should not be shocked by this. Yet here I was. Shocked. Let me explain with a little less abstract lingo.
Hezekiah had spent his entire time as king cleaning up the country, renewing God’s covenant with his people, and offering himself and his country to God, just as God asked of him. (Check out Hezekiah’s Revival if you are curious!) The last verse of chapter 31 summarizes it perfectly:
“In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow the law and the commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result, he was very successful.” (2 Chronicles 31:21)
So, if this were a movie, you would cue the majestic string section right now to signify the Happily Ever After part had arrived. *Insert buzzer noise* Surprise #1: this is not that moment. Here is what happened in the very next verse:
“After Hezekiah had faithfully carried out this work, King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded Judah. He laid siege to the fortified cities, giving orders for his army to break through their walls.” (2 Chronicles 32:1)
Whaaa?! Rockstar King Hezekiah sought God wholeheartedly and faithfully carried out his work then GETS INVADED?! What’s going on here, God? For once the king in charge of your people actually gets it right and you let an invasion in? It didn’t make sense. Then, surprise #2, I read on to see how much more integrity Hezekiah carries himself with; not once does he question God’s love for him. Verse after verse in this chapter details how terrifying the opposing threat is and not even once does Hezekiah express doubt, anger or fear at God. On the contrary, he assembles his people to encourage them by reminding them that, since God is on their side, there is no reason to fear!
Surprise #3 is even more amazing. Check out the battle (it’s only two verses long):
Then King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer to God in heaven. And the LORD sent an angel who destroyed the Assyrian army with all its commanders and officers. So Sennacherib returned home in disgrace to his own land. And when he entered the temple of his god, some of his own sons killed him there with a sword. (2 Chronicles 32:20-21)
BAM! That is how God cares for his children! YEAH, GOD!!!!!!!!!
In this world there WILL be trouble. God warned us. He didn’t say trouble would only fall on the “naughties.” But, He is with us in times of tribulation and peace. He is with the sinner and the saint. He will never leave us nor forsake us.
We are safe because of whose we are, not what we are.
Dear LORD, you are so awesome! I love learning about how you have loved us for so many centuries. Forgive me for defining your love in my human terms and conditions. Thank you for being with me no matter how well I plan or behave. Amen.
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