“The field commander said to them, “Tell Hezekiah:” ‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: On what are you basing this confidence of yours? You say you have the counsel and the might for war—but you speak only empty words. On whom are you depending, that you rebel against me? Look, I know you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces the hand of anyone who leans on it! Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who depend on him. But if you say to me, “We are depending on the Lord our God”—isn’t he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah removed, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, “You must worship before this altar in Jerusalem”? – 2 Kings 18:19-22
The Bible is one continuous story, and yet a story made up of smaller, pivotal stories. Many of the stories involves God providing a way out of the difficulties of His people. One of those is the story of Hezekiah. Hezekiah was one of the few kings of Judah who was constantly aware of God’s acts in the past and His involvement in the events of every day. The Bible describes Hezekiah as a king who had a close relationship with God, one who did “…what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God.” (2 Chronicles 31:20).
Because King Hezekiah put God first in everything he did, God prospered him. “Hezekiah held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.” (2 Kings 18:6–7).
But Hezekiah and all of Judah had a big problem. The Assyrians, the world power at the time, invaded Judah and marched against Jerusalem. The Assyrians had already conquered the northern kingdom of Israel and many other nations, and now they threatened Judah (2 Kings 18:13). In their threats against the city of Jerusalem, the Assyrians openly defied the God of Judah, likening Him to the powerless gods of the nations they had conquered. (2 Kings 18:28–35; 19:10–12)
God through the prophet Isaiah, reassured the king that Assyria would never enter Jerusalem. Rather, the invaders would be sent home, and the city of Jerusalem would be spared (2 Kings 19:32–34).
God kept His promise to protect Jerusalem. “That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies!” (2 Kings 19:35). The remaining Assyrians quickly broke camp and withdrew in abject defeat. “So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem. . . . He took care of them on every side” (2 Chronicles 32:22).
There are many such stories in the Bible where God is the way out of the situations people find themselves in. In truth, Jesus is the only way. John 14:6 tells us, “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” As the way, Jesus create a path for us, a way out. The truth is we can never make it, do enough spiritual, moral or social good to impress God. We can’t make it up the path. We all fail to love and serve God to some degree.
Jesus hikes down into our sin, our rebellion and our failures, and He heaps them all on His back and climbs on a cross, where He is punished for our crime, a bloody gruesome death. The innocent punished for the guilty. This is what it means for Jesus to be the way. He is the redemptive way. He takes our place. There is no other way.
- In what ways do we still try to find a solution or a way out in times of trouble?
- Hezekiah was said to have trusted God like no other man. What does his life tell us about what it looks like to trust God?
- Read Isaiah 37:14-20. From this prayer, what would you say are Hezekiah’s motives and desires?
- What does the story of Hezekiah tell us about finding a way out?