2 Chronicles 32:9-15
Beware when you are in the epicentre of success (9). It can warp your perspective and cause you to believe your own reviews. It can make your head expand. It may lead you to ‘shoot off at the mouth’, to make grandiose claims, and cause you to be over-confident. There is much danger in that. Just because you’re doing well in ‘Lachish’ it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will win in ‘Jerusalem’. No-one wants to fail, but we probably learn more from failure, disappointment and set-backs than we do from rip-roaring success.
Generations of Christians reading this verse (10) have laughed and shouted back at Sennacherib, ‘’We are basing our confidence on the living God who has never yet let His people down yet and who never will! That’s why we stay put when everything seems to say ‘run.’ That’s why we do these seemingly illogical things. Because we know our God is real, and He is with us, and He will bring us through.’’
Our enemy is a liar (11). Jesus spoke of him as: …not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44). Just like Sennacherib here, he will lie about God’s Word. He’ll contradict it in your mind. He will do all this to intimidate and weaken you with fear. You poor people – do you think you’re safe in that so-called fortress of Jerusalem? You’re sitting ducks. Do you think Hezekiah will save you? Don’t be stupid – Hezekiah has fed you a pack of lies. When he says, ‘GOD will save us from the power of the king of Assyria,’ he’s lying – you’re all going to end up dead. The Message. It’s interesting isn’t it how, in his lying, the devil will try to tell you God is lying?! He will also attempt to twist things and to get you to imbibe half-truths. He will bait you with the half that is true, in the hope that you will swallow the other half that is false. He catches many ‘fish’ that way. Here, Sennacherib referred to something that had happened (12), but what he said was only partially correct. Hezekiah had not removed God’s altar but in fact he called the people back to it. It was the pagan altars that he’d scrapped.
It is interesting to read the remaining verses of today’s passage in The Message: Do you have any idea what I and my ancestors have done to all the countries around here? Has there been a single god anywhere strong enough to stand up against me? Can you name one god among all the nations that either I or my ancestors have ravaged that so much as lifted a finger against me? So what makes you think you’ll make out any better with your god? Don’t let Hezekiah fool you; don’t let him get by with his barefaced lies; don’t trust him. No god of any country or kingdom ever has been one bit of help against me or my ancestors – what kind of odds does that give your god? The Message. We believers read this with a wry smile. We know that one day soon all mockers, like Sennacherib, will have those insolent looks erased from their faces. Sennacherib made the mistake of thinking that the God of Israel was just another god such as those he’d encountered before. But those idols were all dead. He was about to encounter the living God, and lose! The ‘score’ would be remarkably different this time.
Prayer: Lord enable me to see the truth and hold on to it. Thank you for its liberating power.