“Stratego”

After these things and these acts of faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah and encamped against the fortified cities, thinking to win them for himself.

When you’ve been around church and church people for a while you can’t help but become fluent in “Christianese.” You learn all the catch phrases and all the theological presuppositions of the various camps within the Tribe. And sometimes, if you’re not careful, you can ignore a legitimate spiritual principle as a reaction to the abuse of said principle you have witnessed. Reading about King Hezekiah this morning, I was reminded that while no, there is not a demon behind every bush; there is an Enemy, and He does employ definite strategies to attack and discourage God’s people. Let’s talk about one of those.

If you’re not an astute student of the Bible you may have never heard of King Hezekiah. But way back, when Israel had been split into a Northern and Southern Kingdom, Hezekiah ruled the Southern kingdom of Judah(a southern man like me). He had been one of the few good kings who had followed the Lord with all of his heart. He cleansed the temple, organized the priests, and restored temple worship. And there had been, what we call in “christianese,” REVIVAL!! And then, “after these things and these acts of faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah and encamped against the fortified cities, thinking to win them for himself.

One of the things the Enemy loves to do is to attack immediately following times of spiritual renewal. So often, after God has brought revival into our lives or following a time of spiritual breakthrough or when prophetic words of promise and encouragement have been spoken in/to us; the Enemy will launch immediate “counter measures.” His hatred for God and we who bear his image is provoked when he perceives that spiritual renewal has “fortified our cities.” He comes like Sennacherib and blasphemes God, seeking to bring discouragement, doubt, and eventual demoralization. He tells us that our faith in God is misplaced, that we will fall before him like countless others have before us. But he lies!!

And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the Lord: “O Lord, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth. Bend down, O Lord, and listen! Open your eyes, O Lord, and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God.”

Through the cross of our Lord Jesus, God has disarmed all spiritual rulers and authorities. He has already won the victory, and in Him nothing can separate you from God’s love. “Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” And he will lead you into victory, fulfilling his words spoken in/to your life. Thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere!!

And the Lord sent an angel, who cut off all the mighty warriors and commanders and officers in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he came into the house of his god, some of his own sons struck him down there with the sword.  So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all his enemies, and he provided for them on every side.

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