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God To The Rescue. AG Sunday School Teachers




The events of 2 Kings 18 – 19 follow decades of spiritual dacay in Judah. King Uzziah, who ruled in the first half of the eighth century BC, had done right in God’s eyes, although he did not tear down pagan shrine (see 2 Kings 15:1-4), but his grandson, Ahaz, thoroughly turned his back on God and even made Judah pay tribute to Assyria (the nation that took the Northern kingdom into captivity during Ahaz’s reign). Tribute was a payment from one nation to another as a sign of submission or a plea for protection ( Note 2 Kings 16:8). The reign of Ahaz carried Judah to a low point of immorality and idolatry.


Then Ahaz died and his young son Hezekiah came to the throne. King Hezekiah led the nation into revival. But this revival faded, and many of the people returned to their sinful ways, which would ultimately lead to God allowing King Sen-nacherib of Assyria to attack Judah. But in the very attack of Sennacherib, the Judah stood firm in their trust in God and they became victorious in their challenges.




A. Whom Are You Trusting? – 2 Kings 18:17-27
B. Who Will Rescue You? – 2 Kings 18:33-36.


A. Hezekiah Responds In Humility – 2 Kings 19:1-3
B. “Perhaps The Lord Has Heard” – 2 Kings 19:4.


A. “Do Not Be Afraid” – 2 Kings 19:5-19
B. God Honoured His Promise – 2 Kings 19:32-37.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:
1. Recognise that there will be trying times as they move through the life of faith.

2. Understand that they need not fear their enemies as they trust in

3. Find comfort in praising God through the hard times of life.

The Holy Scriptures

2 Kings 18:18,25,33,35

[18]And when they had called to the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder.
[25]Am I now come up without the LORD against this place to destroy it? The LORD said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.

[33]Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered at all his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?
[35]Who are they among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of mine hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand?
2 Kings 19:1-3,6
[1]And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD.
[2]And he sent Eliakim, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz.
[3]And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and blasphemy: for the children come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth.
[6]And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say to your master, Thus saith the LORD, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me.

Commentary and Application

*1. God’s People Threatened*

*A. Whom Are You Trusting?– 2 Kings 18:17-27*
It is important to read 2 Kings 18 in light of the history surrounding these events. The northern kingdom of Israel had been overrun by the Assyrians and taken into captivity. And now, Judah, the Southern Kingdom, seemed to be facing the same future. King Ahaz, the predecessor to King Hezekiah, emptied Judah’s coffers (including the riches of the temple), to appease the Assyrian king.


But it wasn’t enough, and Assyria invaded Judah. King Hezekiah a good and godly king (see 2 Kings 18:1-4) was forced to strip off even the gold from the temple in an attempt to appease King Sennacherib (verse 16). To this, Sennacherib delivered a terrible message in verses 17-25, designed as an attempt to break down the people’s trust in the Lord. This was a frightening message from a human standpoint, as Sennacherib and the Assyrian Empire had immense power to overcome whatever nation they chose to conquer.


The passage opened with the chief advisors of Sennacherib confronting the representatives of King Hezekiah in Jerusalem (verses 17-18; note that “Rabshakeh” [KJV] is likely a reference to Sennacherib’s chief of staff). At this point, Assyria had demonstrated complete domination over other armies, and Hezekiah would have little reason to believe Judah could overcome him. Sennacherib was also aware of Hezekiah’s devotion to and trust in the Lord, although Sennacherib thought that the Israelites worshipped God at the pagan shrines that Hezekiah had torn down (see verse 23).



So this evil Assyrian king’s message begins with a question: “What are you trusting in that makes you so confident?” (Verse 19, NLT). Words could not defeat the Assyrians (verse 20). Alliances with other nations, such as Egypt, would fail Judah as well (verses 20-21). Then the chief of staff mocked Israel! He challenged them saying
that if he were to give Israel two thousand horses, even with the help of Egypt’s chariots, they could not defeat “the weakest contíngent of my master’s troops’ (verses 23-24, NLT).



Yet verse 25 was perhaps the most ominous and the most sacrilegious-of all the claims in Sennacherib’s message. It was common for ancient kings to claim that the gods of the people they attacked had sent them to do it. This served as a type of psychological warfare. But in this case, a pagan king claimed the one true God to be on his side. Thus, according to him. Judah could not even trust God.


It is understandable, then, that Hezekiah’s men wanted to use Aramaic in their conversation (see verses 26-27). While Aramaic was the language of commerce and communication between nations in Old Testament times, the people of Jerusalem listening to it would not understand what was being said. But Sennacherib’s men sought to make their sinister intentions clear: The people of Judah would be best served to succumb to the Assyrians. There was no use in even trusting.

God, they claimed, for He had Supposedly sided against His own people.

Questions for Application

*What are some ways that the powers of darkness seek to intimidate God’s people and send them into despair?*

*Have you ever been mocked in some way for trusting God? How did you respond, or how would you respond, in such an instance?*

*B. Who Will Rescue You?–2 Kings 18:33-36*
Assyria’s threats continued in 2 Kings 18:33. Hezekiah had tried to assure the people that they could trust in the Lord. This was the declaration of the prophet Isaiah, whose ministry was taking place at that time: “l will rescue you and this city from the king of Assyria. Yes, I will defend this city” (Isaiah 38:6, NLT; see all of chapter 38). Sennacherib mocked the notion that Judah’s God would be able to help them, pointing to the failure of the gods of nations he had conquered.



For instance, Hamath and Arbad were references to cities in what is now Syria, while Sepharvaim, Hena, and lvvah were cities in Mesopotamia. These population centres were conquered by Assyria.
(The great city of Babylon was even destroyed by Sennacherib in 689 BC.) It would have been inconceivable to the Assyrian king that the God of Judah could be greater than the gods of Assyria. No wonder Sennacherib felt at liberty to boast, “So what makes you think that the LORD can rescue Jerusalem from me?” (2 Kings 18:35).


As we move forward, it is important to keep in mind that the people representing Judah had no response. for Sennacherib’s men because Hezekiah had instructed them not to respond (verse 36). Their silence Would represent a new stand of faith. They would trust in the Lord God to rescue them. Moses gave a similar instruction to the people of Israel when they were caught between the Egyptian army and the Red Sea. “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today” (Exodus 14:13, NLT).

Questions for Application

How does adversity impact our ability to trust God? Explain.

Why was Sennacherib so confident that he could defeat the nation of Judah?

2. Hezekiah Turns to God

*A. Hezekiah Responds in Humility–2 Kings 1:1-3*
Clearly, the people of God acted in faith when they refused to bend to
the demands and arguments of Rabshakeh (thus, in essence, to Sennacherib himself). However, the king’s threats were certainly frightening, in light of the battles he had already won. Furthermore, Sennacherib had issued a terrible insult to God.


King Hezekiah responded
rightly, however, as he retreated to the temple the dwelling place Lord- having torn his clothes and put on sackcloth (2 Kings 19:1). Tearing his garments represented his grief over the blasphemy against God that he had just heard. And by covering himself with sackcloth, the king of the Lord’s people humbled himself before the Lord.


Apparently, God gave no direct answer to Hezekiah, so he sent officers and priests to the prophet Isaiah, telling him that this was a day of trouble (verses 2-3). Note that the latter part of verse 3 was a proverb of the time, which basically taught that all human power had been exhausted. Truly, if measured only by human strength and potential, Judah held no chance to defeat King Sennacherib and the Assyrians.

Questions for Application

Why might God sometimes allow His people to find themselves in a situation where there is clearly no hope within themselves?

Have you ever been in a situation where there seemed to be no hope? Explain. How did you respond?


B. “Perhaps the Lord Has Heard.”– 2 Kings 19:4

Clearly, King Hezekiah recognized that this crisis was ultimately rooted in spiritual issues. As a result, he knew that Isaiah, the great and influential prophet to the kings, would have a message for the king at this momentous time in history. Perhaps the Lord had heard the vile message of Rabshakeh, and indeed of Sennacherib himself, and
would enact judgment upon Assyria as punishment (2 Kings 19:4).


It is true that Hezekiah had restored the worship practices among the people back to the standard prescribed in the Law. However, the king may have fallen short in the way in which he pursued relations with other nations. Perhaps he had been too much like Ahaz, seeking human wisdom and military force to confront an enemy. Perhaps he had forgotten that God wins victories Over the enemies of His people. But now, Hezekiah clearly recognized the problem that he and the nation faced. And so, he asked Isaiah to seek the face of God on their behalf.


Questions for Application

Why is it sometimes hard for Christians to recognize that spiritual issues might be at the root of the battles they face?


How do you normally respond to difficult battles? Is God the first source of help that you seek? Explain.

3. Almighty God Responds

A. “Do Not Be Afraid,”– 2 Kings 19:5-19

King Hezekiah was rewarded for his confidence in Isaiah-which ultimately represented the king’s trust in God. Isaiah did indeed have a message for the king and for the nation: Fear was not the answer. They did not need to be dismayed nor intimidated by the blasphemous words of Sennacherib and his underlings (2 Kings 19:5-6). Instead, Israel could find great hope in the Lord, for He was about to do something amazing.


God told Hezekiah that He would intervene on behalf of His people by
“send[ing] a blast upon” Sennacherib (verse 7, KJV; “move against him,” NLT). The Hebrew word here is the familiar Hebrew term ruach, a word often translated “spirit” or “wind.”


Some Commentators see this as a reference to a spirit of fearfulness gripping Sennacherib. Regardless, it is most important to note that God intervened; Sennacherib’s flight would not be because of the might of God’s people, but because of the saving actions of the Lord himself.


Isaiah did not reveal how all this would take place. It was enough for Hezekiah to know that God was going to do a great thing on behalf of His people. He would deal with the Assyrian threat. Even yet, however, Sennacherib continued his psychological warfare, as revealed in the following verses. These same verses (8-13), clearly indicate that Hezekiah sent a negative response back to Sennacherib, The difference was that after the exchange found in these verses, King Hezekiah went to prayer (see verses 14-19), He had faith that God would deliver Israel. And, Hezekiah was not disappointed.

Questions for Application

Why might God have withheld telling King Hezekiah all the details as to how He would deal with Assyria?

What are some barriers you face in times when you need to place your faith in God to protect or provide during difficult circumstances?

B. God Honoured His Promise–2 Kings 19:32-37

In 2 Kings 19:32-34, the prophet Isaiah provided some additional words of hope and encouragement to King Hezekiah and the people.


Sennacherib’s army would not enter Jerusalem, or even fire an arrow upon the city. The king would instead return to Assyria. For the Lord’s own honour and for the sake of His promise to David, that his kingdom would continue (see 2 Samuel 7), for He promised that He would protect His people. That very night, the angel of the Lord brought sudden death to 185.000 of Sennacherib’s troops. While the means of their death is not described, we are told that the rest of the army awakened to find themselves surrounded by corpses (2 Kings 19:35). One can only imagine the terror that erupted among them amid this gruesome


It is noteworthy that this particular event is recorded in secular history, outside of Scripture, by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus. He attributed the shocking defeat of Assyrians to a multitude of field mice descending and destroying materials of war such bowstrings, leaving them vulnerable.


Some have concluded that Herodotus was alluding to a rodent-borne plague. But regardless of secular speculation, we know from Scripture that this was the hand of God at work through His angel. And while God does use natural means to enact His plans, this particular event was entirely supernatural, as seen in
its description.


In response to the horrors of seeing his army decimated, King Sennacherib immediately returned to the Assyrian capital of Ninevah (verse 36). We know from history that approximately twenty years later, the remainder of this prophecy of Scripture was fulfilled. On October 20, 681 BC, the mighty King Sennacherib of the powerful Assyrian Empire was murdered by two of his sons in a coup that left another son, Esarhaddon, as the new king (verse 37). This is a good reminder to us even today that while God’s programme may seem to tarry, even for years, His plans are ultimately accomplished.


And so, God did rescue His people, protecting His promise David as He answered the prayers of Hezekiah. Although we will never line up against the murderous forces of a pagan kingdom, we will face enemies that can seem insurmountable. In those moments, we do well to remember that the battle always belongs to the Lord. We can trust Him for the victory.

Questions for Application

God answered Hezekiah’s prayer in two phases–one immediately
and one approximately twenty years later. What were those two phases?

What are some other biblical examples you know of where God demonstrated His power over the enemies of the people of God?

Call to Discipleship

In a situation that seemed hopeless, with his enemies mocking him, King Hezekiah depended on God. He placed all his hopes, his confidence, and even his very life in the Lord’s hands. What pressures are you facing today? Do you have any difficult decisions coming up?


Are there conflicts, within your heart or with those around you, that need resolution? Always keep a proper perspective: God is there with you, ready to take on the battle you cannot face yourself. You can always be confident in entrusting your future to Him.

Ministry in Action

Seek God on behalf of your battles each day for the next week.
Encourage others by sharing God’s answers to your prayers.
Pray for wisdom to recognize spiritual battles for what they are.



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