9During the fourth year of Hezekiah's rule, which was the seventh year of Hoshea's rule in Israel, King Shalmaneser of Assyria led his troops to Samaria, the capital city of Israel. They attacked 10and captured it three years later, in the sixth year of Hezekiah's rule and the ninth year of Hoshea's rule. 11The king of Assyria took the Israelites away as prisoners; he forced some of them to live in the town of Halah, others to live near the Habor River in the territory of Gozan, and still others to live in towns where the Median people lived. 12All of that happened because the people of Israel had not obeyed the Lord their God. They rejected the solemn agreement he had made with them, and they ignored everything that the Lord's servant Moses had told them.
King Sennacherib of Assyria
(2 Chronicles 32.1-19; Isaiah 36.1-22)
13 In the fourteenth year of Hezekiah's rule in Judah, King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded the country and captured every walled city, except Jerusalem. 14Hezekiah sent this message to Sennacherib, who was in the town of Lachish: “I know I am guilty of rebellion. But I will pay you whatever you want, if you stop your attack.”
Sennacherib told Hezekiah to pay ten tons of silver and one ton of gold. 15So Hezekiah collected all the silver from the Lord's temple and the royal treasury. 16He even stripped the gold that he had used to cover the doors and doorposts in the temple. He gave it all to Sennacherib.
(Editor’s comment: astute readers will notice that verses 13ff. are nearly identical with Isaiah 36-39, which theStory covered last month. We have included them here with a different person’s comments as a reminder of what happened in the story.)
Usually, when everything around us is going crazy, our first thought isn’t “What did I do to bring this on myself?” Rather, and unfortunately, our human nature (and especially our pride) often leads us to point the finger and lay blame at the feet of others. However, the example of King Hezekiah offers us a different picture.
Here in 2 Kings 18, we find God’s chosen people divided into two kingdoms – Israel and Judah. The author is intentional about highlighting in this passage the faithlessness and rebellion of Israel, and the resulting consequences of their disobedience (v.9-12). It is worth noting however, that the author, earlier in the passage, was just as intentional in highlighting the faithfulness and righteousness of King Hezekiah (v.3-6). This is important because it sets the stage for what will transpire later in this section and further justifies the two very different outcomes that befall Israel and Judah.
Specifically, while the House of Israel was carried off by the King of Assyria as a consequence of their opposition, King Hezekiah and the House of Judah were simply fined and taxed (at least at first) for their rebellion (vv 13-16). Furthermore, the author makes special note that King Hezekiah was not only self-aware enough to understand the consequences of his actions, but also humble enough to repent of his wrong doing (v 14).
This last part is especially relevant to each of us today. While our pride may lead us into trouble, often leaving us to deal with the consequences of our actions on our own, a truly repentant heart and humility leave us open and available for God to work through our troubles with us. While the consequences of our actions may still be unpleasant, with God by our side we can bear anything!
Heavenly Father, Please forgive me for allowing my pride to override your plans, and for allowing my lack of humility to lead me down paths you would have me avoid. Lord, help me today to have a repentant heart – one that seeks only you. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.