7 “Be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him; for there is one greater with us than with him. 8 With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” The people were encouraged by the words of King Hezekiah of Judah.
Sennacherib King of Assyria (ruled 705-681 BC) was not accustomed to being defeated in battle. He was not accustomed to being second best. The Neo-Assyrian empire was the largest the world had ever known. And yet one king between Mesopotamia and Egypt stood firm and refused to be conquered: Hezekiah of Judah.
Sennacherib boasted in his records that he “shut up Hezekiah in Jerusalem like a bird in a cage,” a reference to the Assyrian siege against the city in 701 BC. According to the scriptures, he asked the officials of Jerusalem: “whose God has saved any of the cities I’ve gone to war with before? What makes you think your God is any different?” (2 Chronicles 32:13-15)
Clearly, the siege was difficult. It was a time of tremendous struggle for Jerusalem’s entire population. There was simply no way to keep a walled city fed. In a semi-arid climate, water also became very scarce.
And yet, God continued to stand with the people. God continued to stand with Hezekiah. The defenses held. Jerusalem was spared.
How do we find strength and courage in the face of overwhelming odds? How do we find peace when war is at our doorstep?
We find our encouragement by trusting in the One who is greater than our troubles. We place our trust in the God who will never abandon us. God’s power was enough to save Hezekiah and Jerusalem. No other God can do this: not money, not power, not military might. Our trust is in One much greater: the Creator of everything!
By Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
Prayer: Most gracious God, when we are at our weakest and worst, comfort, console and care for us so that our strength might be restored. Grant us encouragement in the face of trials today, Lord. Amen.