1 During the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, King Sennacherib of Assyria marched up against all the armed cities of Judah and captured them. 2 This king of Assyria sent his chief consultant from Lachish to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem, along with a large army. The chief consultant stood at the conduit of the upper pool which is located on the road to the field where they wash and dry cloth. 3 Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace supervisor, accompanied by Shebna the scribe and Joah son of Asaph, the secretary, went out to meet him. 4 The chief adviser said to them, “Inform Hezekiah: ‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: “What is your means of confidence? 5 Your claim to have a plan and military strength is just empty talk. In whom are you trusting, that you would dare to rebel against me? 6 I see, you must be trusting in Egypt, that splintered reed staff. If someone leans on it for support, it punctures his hand and hurts him. That is what Pharaoh king of Egypt does to all who trust in him. 7 Perhaps you will tell me, ‘We are trusting in Yahveh our God.’ But Hezekiah is the one who destroyed his high places and altars and then told the people of Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship at this altar.’ 8 Now you should make a deal with my master the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses, provided you can find enough riders for them. 9 Certainly you will not refuse one of my master’s petty officials and trust in Egypt for chariots and horsemen. 10 I remind you that it was by the command of Yahveh that I marched up against this land to destroy it. Yahveh told me, ‘March up against this land and destroy it!'”‘” 11 Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the chief adviser, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, because we understand it. Don’t speak with us in the Judahite vernacular in the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” 12 But the chief consultant said, “My master did not send me to speak these words only to your master and to you. His message is also for the men who sit on the wall, because they will be eating their own excrement and drinking their own urine along with you!” 13 The chief consultant stood there and called out loudly in the Judahite vernacular, “Listen to the message of the great king, the king of Assyria. 14 This is what that king says: ‘Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you, for he is not able to rescue you! 15 Don’t let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in Yahveh by saying, “Yahveh will certainly rescue us; this city will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.” 16 Don’t listen to Hezekiah!’ Because this is what the king of Assyria says, ‘Send me a sign that you will submit and surrender to me. Then each of you may eat from his own vine and fig tree and drink water from his own cistern, 17 until I come and take you to a land just like your own–a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards. 18 Hezekiah is misleading you when he says, “Yahveh will rescue us.” Has any of the gods of the nations rescued his land from the power of the king of Assyria? 19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Exactly…, did any gods rescue Samaria from my power? 20 Who among all the gods of these lands have rescued their lands from my power? So how can Yahveh rescue Jerusalem from my power?'” 21 They were silent and did not respond, for the king had told them, “Don’t respond to him.” 22 Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace supervisor, accompanied by Shebna the scribe and Joah son of Asaph, the secretary, went to Hezekiah with their clothes torn and reported to him what the chief adviser had said.
challenged by superior strength
Perhaps today you are discouraged because you have taken a look at your track record, and you seem to be on the wrong side. Maybe you feel like these citizens who were told by their king to trust Yahveh. Then you listened as all the reasons you should not trust the LORD were laid out before you. You feel disheartened, because although you want to trust God, you are tempted to find a team with a better track record. After all, lots of losers who came before you trusted their gods to save them.
I am not going to try to convince you. You know the right thing to do. You know that times like this are the very reason for your existence. The world and God’s heaven are watching to see if you will trust God. Goliath has said his bit. It’s time for you to run, or pick up some rocks.
LORD, give us all the courage to side with you, regardless of what challenges we face.