2Kings 19

Sunday Morning Bible Study

September 15, 2002

A Time of Trouble

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  That’s an example of what life seems like when you’re a kid, but when you’re grown up, it’s even worse.

A mother has breast cancer.

A man is suddenly and unexpectedly laid off of work.

The doctor tells a father he has cancer.

A family member is told they only have two months to live.

Parents get a divorce and a family is torn.

A loved one is taken to the hospital.

These are just some of the things happening right now to folks in our church. These are some of the very real things that happen to real people each and every day.

Where do you go when life overwhelms you?

Hezekiah has been threatened by the Assyrian king.  His city is soon to be wiped out.

2Kings 19

:1 Hezekiah …went into the house of the LORD.


Run home to Jesus

I have these vague memories of not being very happy in kindergarten.  My parents tell me that it was a pretty traumatic time for me because my mom had spent a lot of time in the hospital.  One thing I do remember was running home from school.
Hezekiah is running home to the Lord.
There is no other place to go.

(Psa 46:1-5 KJV) God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. {2} Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; {3} Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. {4} There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. {5} God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

When we are in deep times of trouble, we must develop that knee-jerk reaction of being able to run to the Lord.

:3 for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth

The picture is that of a woman delivering her baby, and having a long, painful, exhausting labor, and has finally run out of strength.  There are no doctors to deliver the baby.  In ancient times, women died because of this.

The idea is that the people are at the end of their rope.


God specializes in rope ends.

Sometimes we have to get to the point where we run out of strength before we finally come to God for help.
If there were no Egyptian armies closing in behind us, then we’d never see the Red Sea part.
If there was no awesome Assyrian army strangling the city, then there would never have been the great deliverance they’re going to see.
Paul wrote:
(2 Cor 12:9-10 KJV) And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. {10} Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

:4  wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that are left

Hezekiah has been faced with the demands of the ambassador of Assyria.  He sends his delegation now to another ambassador, God’s ambassador, the prophet Isaiah.


Ask for prayer

When you’ve got tough times, ask others to pray with you.
The awesome apostle Paul often asked for prayer:
To the Romans:

(Rom 15:30 NLT)  Dear friends, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit.

To the Ephesians:

(Eph 6:19-20 NLT)  And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words as I boldly explain God's secret plan that the Good News is for the Gentiles, too. {20} I am in chains now for preaching this message as God's ambassador. But pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.

To the Philippians:

(Phil 1:19 KJV)  For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

To the Colossians:

(Col 4:3 NLT)  Don't forget to pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to preach about his secret plan--that Christ is also for you Gentiles. That is why I am here in chains.

To the Thessalonians:

1Th 5:25  Brethren, pray for us. (AV)

2Th 3:1  Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have [free] course, and be glorified, even as [it is] with you: (AV)

If the apostle Paul felt like he needed others to pray for him, how about us?

:8  Rabshakeh returned …

Sennacherib had moved his armies from Lachish to Libnah in his campaign against the cities of Judah. He’s getting closer.

:9 And when he heard say of Tirhakah  …he sent messengers

Tirhakah – king of "Cush".

Cush covers modern-day southern Egypt, Sudan, and northern Ethiopia.

Apparently, this was the king of Egypt that Rabshakeh had taunted Judah with before:

2Ki 18:21  Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, [even] upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so [is] Pharaoh king of Egypt unto all that trust on him. (AV)

Messengers arrive from Sennacherib with a letter.

:13 Where is the king of Hamath …

I imagine that for a few weeks or months, things might have calmed down for Hezekiah.  Rabshakeh had backed off.  But now another threat has developed and things are scary again.


Fear doesn’t stay away

I find that there are times in my life when things terrify me. And I will sometimes do the right thing and run to the Lord. The Lord will comfort me. And then a few hours later, the fear is back.
What do you do?
You keep praying.  You keep going to the Lord.

:14  and spread it before the LORD.

To me it’s kind of like Hezekiah is taking his big problem to His friend and showing Him the problem.


If you got a huge bill from the phone company, and you just can’t believe it, so you take your phone bill over to your friend’s house and sit down at the kitchen table and spread it all out for him to see.

Hezekiah doesn’t see prayer as some kind of irrelevant religious thing.  He’s taking this thing to God.


Real prayer

I sometimes get to feeling that some people think prayer is some kind of ritual that is nothing but a bunch of words you speak when you’re in a religious place, like church.
Corrie Ten Boom wrote, “Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?”
David writes:
Ps 34:4  I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. (AV)

:15 …thou hast made heaven and earth.


Is your God big enough?

He is after all VERY BIG. The problem is that sometimes we get our eyes off of Him.
Our problems can seem very big at times. And if we’re not careful, we can get overwhelmed with the fact that our problems are bigger than we are.
But God is BIGGER.
Isaiah, the same prophet that Hezekiah worked with wrote this about God:
Isaiah 40:12-17  Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? 13  Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? 14  With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding? 15  Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. 16  And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering. 17  All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.

When you begin to realize just how awesomely powerful God is, that He is in control, that you actually have access to Him through Jesus Christ, and that He is YOUR God, the problems don't seem quite so overwhelming anymore.

:17 the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands,

Yes, it’s true. Sometimes our problems are WAY bigger than we are.

:21 The virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee

NIV - The Daughter of Jerusalem tosses her head as you flee.

:25  ... how I have done it

The very things that Assyria was boasting about were only things that God had set up for it to do in the first place.

In Isaiah 10, we have a message given to the Assyrians in prophecy, saying much the same thing, that Assyria better be careful about thinking that it was great than God:

(Isa 10:15-16 NLT)  Can the ax boast greater power than the person who uses it? Is the saw greater than the person who saws? Can a whip strike unless a hand is moving it? Can a cane walk by itself? {16} Listen now, king of Assyria! Because of all your evil boasting, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, will send a plague among your proud troops, and a flaming fire will ignite your glory.


Watch out for pride.

All that we have is from the Lord.
Anything worthwhile we accomplish was done by the Lord.
There’s an old story about a proud woodpecker who was tapping away at a dead tree when the sky unexpectedly turned black and the thunder began to roll. Undaunted, he went right on working. Suddenly a bolt of lightning struck the old tree, splintering it into hundreds of pieces.  Startled but unhurt, the haughty bird flew off, screeching to his feathered friends, “Hey, everyone, look what I did! Look what I did!”
If we’re not careful, we can get all caught up in taking credit for some of the things that go on around us, things that God is clearly doing. Without the Lord no one amounts to anything, and in our own strength we cannot please Him.
Peter Marshall: “Lord, when we are wrong, make us willing to change.  And when we are right, make us easy to live with.”

:29 And this shall be a sign unto thee …

This sign is for Hezekiah, not Sennacherib.

This sign is one that lasts over three years, and the point is to encourage Hezekiah that not only is Sennacherib gone, but he's not coming back!

Because of the siege on the city, they had not been able to plant crops as they should have.

Yet God would wonderfully supply the needs of the people by allowing the ground to bring enough of a harvest to feed the people.

In the second year, perhaps the people were still too scared to go out and plant seed, but the ground would still yield crops.

In the third year, it will be life back to normal with planting and harvesting.

:30  the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward

Though the other nations were just like the grass that grows on the rooftops (vs.26), without many roots, and withering under the heat, the Judeans would have deep roots, and become fruitful.


Deep roots take you through tough times.

Jesus told a parable of four kinds of places that seed can get planted on:
The roadside, the stony soil, the thorny soil, and the good soil.
Of the stony soil, Jesus said:
(Mat 13:20-21 NLT)  The rocky soil represents those who hear the message and receive it with joy. {21} But like young plants in such soil, their roots don't go very deep. At first they get along fine, but they wilt as soon as they have problems or are persecuted because they believe the word.

A plant that doesn't have very deep roots will whither and die when the weather turns hot and dry.

It doesn't have the equipment to keep itself watered.

Dig your roots deep into Jesus.  He said,
(John 15:4-5 KJV)  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. {5} I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
One of the ways we dig deeper in our relationship with Jesus is through His Word. David wrote:
(Psa 1:1-3 KJV)  Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. {2} But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. {3} And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
When we walk away from the ungodly ways of this world, and instead make God’s Word the treasure of our heart, even meditating on it, our roots start to grow deeper.

A tree planted by a river never has to worry about the lack of rainfall, it is always supplied by the river.

If you make God’s Word your source of joy and strength, instead of circumstances, then you never have to worry about withering under trials.


Trials make us stronger

Though Sennacherib claimed in his own journals that by this time he had taken 200,000 Judeans captive, the nation would go on.
Those that remained wouldn't just cease to be a nation, but in fact would grow stronger and stronger, bearing fruit just like their land would be doing.
The trials that we go through are part of God's refining process.
God uses the trials to purge out the bad stuff, leaving only the good stuff in our lives.
Forest fires

They're often thought of as a disaster, yet they are a part of the life cycle of a forest. A fire clears out accumulated undergrowth, and even is the means where some species of trees spread. There are some tree seeds that are only released in the heat of a fire.

On our trip to Yosemite, we learned that the government is now learning to let some fires burn.  The ancient Indians knew this.  The Indians in Yosemite Valley even used to set the valley on fire every year before they left for the winter.  When they came back in the spring, it was easier to hunt deer because they couldn’t hide in the undergrowth.

You may be going through the fire now.
But there may be a time of bearing fruit coming.

:31  the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this

zeal - qin'ah - ardour, zeal, jealousy

This is a word often translated "jealousy", as when a man becomes jealous about his wife (Num.5), or when a woman becomes jealous of her man.

God too, is jealous over His people, like a husband who feels like his wife belongs to him, and everybody else should keep their hands off.

God's jealousy is a good kind of jealousy.

Because God cares so much for we don’t have to be afraid.

His people, everybody else had better keep their hands OFF!


God has a fierce passion for His people.

(Isa 42:13 KJV)  The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies.
You have someone who cares very deeply for you, and will certainly rise to your defense.


God isn’t finished with you yet.

You may be feeling that there is no hope.  But God is for you, not against you.  He will take care of all of His people.

:32  He shall not come into this city ...

The Assyrian army wouldn't be coming into Jerusalem.

:33  by the same shall he return

Sennacherib would be packing his bags soon for home.

:35  it came to pass that night

God doesn't wait around for this thing to happen.

:35  an hundred fourscore and five thousand

That’s 185,000! That’s one powerful angel!

:34  For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake

He wasn't waiting around to find out what else would happen.


God brings deliverance in different ways

It doesn’t always happen overnight. He doesn’t always make the problems disappear. But He is watching over you to take care of you.
(Psa 91:14 KJV) Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.