Now therefore, O LORD our God, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD God, even thou only. — 2 Kings 19:19
During World War II, while on a special mission Eddie Rickenbacker was in an airplane that crashed in the Pacific Ocean. For twenty-four days, the eight men from that plane drifted in three rafts. At the outset, they had just four oranges, so food and water were soon critical issues.
One of the men had a New Testament. In his book Seven Came Through, Rickenbacker wrote, “Watching him read it, the thought came to me that we might all profit by his example . . . With the New Testament as an inspiration, we held morning and evening prayers.”
From the second to the eighth day, the sea was perfectly calm, and the sun burned down on them relentlessly. It became clear that unless the weather changed or they obtained food and water soon, death was imminent.
About an hour after their devotions on the eighth day, as Rickenbacker was dozing with his hat pulled over his eyes, a seagull landed on his hat. Very carefully he reached up and grabbed the bird, which they used for food and bait to catch two fish.
That night, there were indications of rain and they felt a few drops. Then they saw a squall and paddled toward it. Rickenbacker wrote, “I prayed to God to put us in its path.” God answered, and that night the rain poured down upon them.
Through these and a number of other miracles, seven men lived through the experience. They honored God, and He rescued them marvelously. In our text today, King Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem were being threatened by the King of Assyria, and avoiding disaster seemed impossible. Yet, they cried out to God for help, and He gave them a miraculous deliverance.
At times in our lives we may face situations that appear to have no possible or good resolution. However, by considering God’s intervention for the men in the rafts and also for the people of Jerusalem, we are reminded that God can do the impossible. Miraculous help is within His power. Like the people of old, we want to take our problems to God, and let Him resolve them.
Chapter 18 closes with the verbal harassment of the Assyrian emissaries against the people in Jerusalem. When Hezekiah heard about Rabshakeh’s blasphemous speech, he was deeply distressed. He put on sackcloth (coarse fabric made from camel or goat hair that was worn to indicate grief and humility) and went to the Temple. He sent Eliakim and Shebna, who had heard Rabshakeh, and some of the priests to Isaiah the prophet to petition his prayers.
“The remnant that are left” (chapter 19, verse 4) refers to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. The ten tribes making up the Northern Kingdom of Israel had been conquered and taken into captivity. Assyria had also overcome many of Judah’s outlying cities.
In verses 6-7, Isaiah responded to Hezekiah’s messengers with a promise from God for deliverance.
Because he had heard rumor of an attack by Ethiopia, Sennacherib sent Hezekiah a blasphemous letter in an effort to make him surrender (verses 10-13). By mentioning both conquered locations and kings, it was implied that Hezekiah was personally in danger. Even more importantly, he intimated that God himself was weak and unable to deliver His people.
Hezekiah responded by going to the Temple and spreading the letter before the Lord. His prayer was profound and exemplary.
God’s reply, delivered through Isaiah, is recorded in verses 21-34. It included a rebuke to Sennacherib — quoting his own words (verses 23-24), reminding him that his victories were allowed by God (verses 25-26), and predicting his judgment (verses 27-28). The Assyrians were known for their cruelty and they intended to abuse the Jewish people, but God said He would turn it around and put His “hook in thy nose.”
Verses 29-34 contain the promise to Hezekiah and the people of Judah. God promised to deliver the city without an arrow being shot in it.
The conclusion of the chapter tells how an angel from God slew 185,000 men of Assyria’s army. And Sennacherib’s sons killed him after he returned home to Nineveh.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The reigns of the kings of Judah
3. The siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib
d. The counsel of Hezekiah with Isaiah (19:1-7)
(1) Hezekiah’s message to Isaiah (19:1-5)
(2) Isaiah’s reply (19:6-7)
e. Sennacherib’s message to Hezekiah (19:8-34)
(1) The message (19:8-13)
(2) The prayer of Hezekiah (19:14-19)
(3) The answer through Isaiah (19:20-34)
f. The defeat and death of Sennacherib (19:35-37)
Whatever circumstances we may face, we can pour out our pleas to God and know that He is able to work marvelously in our behalf.