Hezekiah’s believing loyalty toward Yahweh earned him many blessings. The Lord in 2 Kings 18:5 even went so far as to say:
He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him.
High praise indeed to be compared with King David! However, initially it appears as if the trust Hezekiah placed in God would come to nothing. He rebelled against the king of Assyria sometime after that wicked nation had overrun Israel and transported many of its people to foreign lands. Through that victory, Assyria thought it could defeat anyone, Judah among them, because no nation seemed able to stop them.
When the Assyrians came up to Jerusalem and challenged Hezekiah, they made a fatal mistake, they mocked Yahweh. They lumped Him in with the feckless gods of other nations, even the ones the Northern Kingdom of Israel had served in place of Him. In speaking their disdain for Yahweh, and thus those who followed Him, the Assyrians were simply practicing the tactics of their father – Satan – who always sows doubt and fear. They taunted Hezekiah and the people of Judah, saying they shouldn’t think that Yahweh would help them in any way; why listen to Him and be deceived?
Just like Satan, the Assyrians made empty promises of the good life ahead should they just surrender. The assurances sounded attractive, just like those of Satan. For a season the people of Judah would have all their hearts desired. Hezekiah had instructed his people well, however. They remained silent and didn’t take the bait (2 Kings 18:36).
When the threat was overwhelming, Hezekiah inquired of the prophet Isaiah, who came back with a Word from the Lord in 2 Kings 19:6:
Isaiah said to them, “Say to your master, ‘Thus says the Lord: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me.”
The servants of the king of Assyria had ticked off God, and He didn’t like it! Soon thereafter, Hezekiah went up to the temple himself to seek a Word from Yahweh. It came again through Isaiah, and through His response, we get a glimpse into how God sees, and His intentions. Listen to what He says in 2 Kings 19:22:
“Whom have you mocked and reviled?
Against whom have you raised your voice
and lifted your eyes to the heights?
Against the Holy One of Israel!”
How dare Assyria say such things to the One true God! Then we see something interesting. Yahweh repeats statements that the king of Assyria has made. Just like we see similar hubris in other portions of Scripture, such as the king of Tyre in Ezekiel 28 and the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14, this king of Assyria thinks he is a god. Perhaps, just as the Lord speaks to Satan behind the kings through the passages in Ezekiel and Isaiah, He may also in a sense be doing the same here in 2 Kings 23-24. The king has declared how he did such mighty works. In these two verses look at how his I-I-I statements; his self-exultation is off the charts:
“By your messengers you have mocked the Lord,
and you have said, ‘With my many chariots
I have gone up the heights of the mountains,
to the far recesses of Lebanon;
I felled its tallest cedars,
its choicest cypresses;
I entered its farthest lodging place,
its most fruitful forest.
I dug wells
and drank foreign waters,
and I dried up with the sole of my foot
all the streams of Egypt.’ “
But then God sets the king straight. It is He, and He alone, who is above all things. For this mocking derision, Yahweh declares in 2 Kings 19:28 that this king’s might will come to nothing:
“Because you have raged against me
and your complacency has come into my ears,
I will put my hook in your nose
and my bit in your mouth,
and I will turn you back on the way
by which you came.”
Notice what God will do to this king. He will put His hook in his nose to drag him away from Judah. Isn’t it interesting that we see similar language in Ezekiel 38:4 with Gog, the king of Magog, in which the Lord will actually do the opposite? In that case He puts His hook in Gog’s jaw to drag him toward Israel to attack it:
“And I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great host, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords.”
God will accomplish His purposes, whatever they may be. In the case of Assyria, the end result is that the angel of the Lord struck down 185,000 of their troops, completely destroying all who were there to come against Jerusalem. In the future Ezekiel scenario, God likewise destroys the coalition armies in spectacular fashion so as to uphold His holy Name. Isn’t that what he likewise does here?
The Lord’s response to Hezekiah in protecting Judah from Assyria and the mockery with which they came reminds us of Psalm 2:1-4 which says:
Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
All the kings of the earth and the rebellious host in the heavens above are as nothing before the power of God Almighty. He simply laughs at their futile plans.
These dark days in which we currently live have many God haters declaring they will prevail through their evil plans. Let’s not forget who sits in the heavens and truly reigns. God has already won the war. We have victory through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.