by Cult associate Dave Halyaman
One of the severest trials Judah's King Hezekiah faced was the overwhelming invasion of Judah by the Assyrians. Toward Jerusalem alone King Sennacherib sent 185,000 battle-hardened veteran soldiers to surround the city and begin a siege. What's interesting about this story is that the Assyrians didn't attack. They mounted the siege, and then launched a propaganda and terror campaign to get the Jews to capitulate.
In 2 Kings 8, a military leader named Rab-shekah wanted to intimidate God's people with words in hopes of getting them to give up. The many arguments he uses are some of the same ones Satan uses today to get believers to quit. We can better resist evil when we are not ignorant of Satan's wiles. Let's consider three of his arguments:
Trusting the world instead of God
Rab-shekah first upbraided the Jews for seeking an alliance with Egypt(v.19-21). He said trusting Egypt was like leaning on "a bruised reed"---in other words, it was no help at all. This is certainly true! When--- ever--- has the "world"(which Egypt is a time of) helped God's people? The truth is, the world never has---nor will! It is an enemy of God(James 4:4). Yet when they face a trial, so many Christians today seek out the world's help, instead of God's. We ignore Bible principles on finance and instead seek out loans and borrowing. They seek so-called "Christian" psychiatrists instead of their pastor. They follow humanistic philosophy rearing their children instead of relying on God's Word for help. No wonder the pagan world "blasphemes" God today. Anytime God's people seek the world's help, they can expect to have that same world "blaspheme" God....just as Rab-shekah did here.
Being criticized for doing right
A second argument Satan uses to discourage us in in verse 22. Rab-shekah mocked Hezekiah because he cut down the groves and torn down the idols that dotted the land(v.4). Ridding the land of idolatry was a good thing...and commanded by God many times. Yet, God's man was criticized for doing what was right. The attack was for Hezekiah to doubt right actions. The world often mocks God's people who stand for right and take godly action. But sadly, many backslidden believers mock solid Christians, too. It is a common tactic of the devil to discourage the believer who decides to believe God and do right, and he'll often use other Christians to do it. One man said: Live according to the Bible and even the fundamentalists will call you weird".
Circumstances instead of God
Another argument was that the Assyrian army was huge...in fact overwhelming. This was true. In fact, humanly speaking, there was no way the Jews could survive an attack. Satan's ploy this time: look at circumstances instead of God. Satan wants us to take our eyes off God and on our problems. Does this really work? If you were really discouraged during your last trial, ask yourself: Where was I looking when I was most discouraged? If you think about it, you were probably focusing on the problem...instead of God. One of my favorite verses to dwell upon in a crisis is Deuteronomy 20:1 "When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt."
There were other arguments by Rab-shekah...each of which was designed to get God's people to surrender without a fight. More significant than the arguments, however, were the responses by Hezekiah in Chapter 19. Notice that Hezekiah first humbled himself before God(v.1a). He knew he was in trouble, and he knew humility was the first step toward God's help. When a trial hits a church, a family, and organization...even a nation, God's looks for it's leaders to humble themselves. What a difference that would make in America if our leaders humbled themselves before a holy and righteous God!
Don't go it "alone"
Secondly, Hezekiah went to God's house. Today, this could mean getting around Godly people of like mind. "Riding out the storm" alone is not always a good idea! Yes, our help is from the Lord...not men! But God may use Godly Christians to help us shoulder the burden. Even Moses needed an Aaron and Hur sometimes.
Bible has the answer
Thirdly, He sought the answer in God's Word(v.2). At that time, they sent to Isaiah the prophet because he spoke for God. Today, we must seek out help from the scriptures.
There is always an answer in the Bible! We may seek help from our pastor to find the answer, but the Bible always has something to say about our problem!
Helplessness vs. Confidence
Next, they acknowledged their helplessness(v.3). They were hopelessly surrounded. There was nothing they could do. And they admitted this to God, and this opened the door to God's action! I believe this: sometimes God doesn't help...until we realize we need His help! If God seems silent during your trial, could it be He senses too much self-confidence?
Who's getting the honor?
Lastly, Hezekiah put God's glory and honor above everything else(v.4). They wanted His honor and reputation vindicated, not their's! How often do we want God to act and help us because our honor and reputation is at stake? We are more concerned about getting what we want, that honoring the Lord. More than success in battle or answering our petitions, God is interested in His name being magnified. He is more interested in how we respond during a trial than delivering us from the trial!
Oh, how our feelings can be hurt! But keep in mind, if we are truly "dead in Christ", then it won't matter what people say or do to us in a trial. It will only matter how we respond.
Satan has some modern-day Rab-shekah's around...trying to disrupt and discourage. Respond with silence to them...but dependence toward the Lord.