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King Sennacherib in Royal Dress
This painted sketch is of the mighty Assyrian king Sennacherib relief which was discovered on the walls of his palace in Khorsabad, near the ruins of ancient Nineveh.
The ancient Assyrian ruins reveal much about the wealth of this powerful monarch. Sennacherib reigned from 720 BC to about 683 BC. The Bible reveals that during the reign of the Jewish king Hezekiah, Sennacherib came to conquer Jerusalem and the Angel of the LORD (The Lord Himself) slew 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When he returned to Assyria his own sons murdered him.
Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them.
2 Kings 18:13
"Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD. For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake. And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead."
2 Kings 19:32-37
Imagine living within the city of Jerusalem during the siege of Sennacherib. (700BC) He has already conquered the northern kingdom of Israel, (722BC) and many of the fortified cities of southern Judea. Talk about a panic attack! Sennacherib's armies were full of blood lust, and they loved to torture. Skinning people alive was one of their specialties, nailing the human skin to walls as warning to others who might rebel from his control.
Imagine now that you are the King of Judah, and you must decide what to do when the massive Assyrian army is outside your gates. The threats of Sennacherib as read by his general were not idol.
"Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew: "Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you from my hand. Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the LORD when he says, 'The LORD will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.' "Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then every one of you will eat from his own vine and fig tree and drink water from his own cistern, until I come and take you to a land like your own, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Choose life and not death! "Do not listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, 'The LORD will deliver us.' Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah? Have they rescued Samaria from my hand? Who of all the gods of these countries has been able to save his land from me? How then can the LORD deliver Jerusalem from my hand?" (2Kings 18:28-35)
What would you do? Could you make a stand? In the natural it would seem suicidal. But to surrender meant deportation, slavery, and who knows what horror. Resistance however, seems to mean certain death.
Perhaps you have lived through "no win" situations? Perhaps you face extreme difficulty now. Sometimes, for whatever reason, we find ourselves at the end of ourselves, at the end of our own resources, where few if any, can understand the personal despair and fear of the choices that must be made.
King Hezekiah chose to take the written threats of Sennacherib's General and spread them out before the Lord.
"Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD . And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD : "O LORD , God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, O LORD , and hear; open your eyes, O LORD , and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God. "It is true, O LORD , that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by men's hands. Now, O LORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LORD , are God." (2Kings 19:14-17)
Perhaps this is a good place to spread your collection notices, the threats of others, your divorce papers, your pink slip. Perhaps you could write down the situation and offer a prayer of desperation to the Lord. God defeated the dreaded Sennacherib, and He will defeat your enemies as well. Place the results in His hands with the rest of your entire life. Be ready to change when God makes His will known. And prepare for a glorious praise and worship when you realize that the Lord God has delivered you in a truly unimaginable way. Have faith dear one and pour out your heart to the Lord.
2 Kings 19:16 - 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.
Isaiah 37:17 - Incline thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open thine eyes, O LORD, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God.
2 Chronicles 32:9 - After this did Sennacherib king of Assyria send his servants to Jerusalem, (but he [himself laid siege] against Lachish, and all his power with him,) unto Hezekiah king of Judah, and unto all Judah that [were] at Jerusalem, saying,
2 Chronicles 32:22 - Thus the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all [other], and guided them on every side.
Isaiah 36:1 - Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, [that] Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the defenced cities of Judah, and took them.
2 Kings 18:13 - Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them.
2 Kings 19:20 - Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, [That] which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard.
2 Chronicles 32:1 - After these things, and the establishment thereof, Sennacherib king of Assyria came, and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fenced cities, and thought to win them for himself.
Isaiah 37:21 - Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent unto Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Whereas thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria:
2 Chronicles 32:10 - Thus saith Sennacherib king of Assyria, Whereon do ye trust, that ye abide in the siege in Jerusalem?
2 Kings 19:36 - So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.
Isaiah 37:37 - So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.
2 Chronicles 32:2 - And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come, and that he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem