And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD…
It is said of Hezekiah that "he trusted in the Lord God of Israel." Let us with reference to this side of his character notice some lessons suggested by this story of his trouble and his deliverance.
I. FAITH DISCOVERS GOD. The king of Judah needed such discernment to be sure that God was on his side. He must have been surprised when the Assyrian commissioner said to him, "Do not believe that Jehovah will take your part; this is my master's message to you: 'The Lord said to me, Go up against this land to destroy it.'" That was not the first time nor the last when bad men have claimed Divine authority.
II. FAITH ASKS GOD FOR DELIVERANCE. The army of Judah understood very well that they were no match for the Assyrians: they were far weaker in numbers and were demoralised by a long experience of defeat and servitude. Sennacherib had taken pains to increase this impression. When this letter reached Hezekiah, he "went up unto the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord." That was his privilege — that is the right of every one who believes; it is our prerogative as God's children. He offers us help in every extremity, only requiring that we feel our need.
III. FAITH INSPIRES FAITH. Hezekiah "trusted in the Lord," but not always. Like most men he found it easier to believe when he could see the way. When the Assyrian army was moving toward Jerusalem, in the early part of his reign, he was frightened: he forgot his God and so forgot himself, even sending to the invader this humiliating message: "I have offended; return from me: that which thou puttest on me will I bear (2 Kings 18:14). And his unbelief spread. The people, who had little enough of spirit at the best, now, following their leader, gave up in despair. But there came to the king in his distress an inspiration — a friend had been raised up for his deliverance. It was the prophet Isaiah; a man who knew how to trust in the Lord at all times; when the sky was darkest he could see the stars beyond. When, after Samaria fell, leading men proposed an alliance with the Egyptian king, "No" he said "woe to them that go down to Egypt for help." "As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also He will deliver it." That faith inspired Hezekiah, giving him a reinforcement of courage which he very soon needed. He rallied and organised his forces for defence, and then went personally among the people, with the cheering exhortation, "Be strong and courageous," &c. His faith inspired faith in them.
IV. FAITH OVERCOMES (vers. 33-36). What delivered Hezekiah? Not his generalship; not his army. it was "the angel of the Lord.
(T. T. Holmes.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up unto the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.