People love an underdog story, when a downtrodden person conquers great obstacles and transforms into a hero. In today’s passage, Hezekiah is the underdog. Assyria is set on attacking the city of Judah. They have been ruthless with other cities they conquered, treating them like animals. Now they were fixed on the people of Judah. In fact, they were overly confident that they could defeat Judah. They sent Hezekiah a letter mocking Yahweh: “Do not let the god you depend on deceive you” (v. 10), inferring that they have defeated other countries and their gods did not save them. But the Assyrians underestimated Yahweh; they did not realize that He alone is God.
Hezekiah went to the Temple, symbolically laid the letter before God, and prayed, “You alone are God” (v. 15), affirming God’s sovereignty and His supremacy. He passionately pleaded for deliverance from his enemy. Pointing to the letter he said, “Listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God” (v. 16). It is true Assyria had conquered other countries and had “thrown their gods into the fire” (v. 17), but Hezekiah rightly points out that those gods were “fashioned by human hands” (v. 18). Fourth-century bishop Athanasius of Alexandria suggests, “Instead of arming ourselves with swords, we ought to extend our hands in prayer.” That is exactly what Hezekiah did.
Hezekiah went beyond requesting relief and rescue because he was also concerned about Yahweh’s reputation. Therefore, Hezekiah prayed that through God’s deliverance, “all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, LORD, are God” (v. 19). Hezekiah may have seemed like the underdog to the Assyrians, but God was always on his side, and if “God is for us, who can stand against us?” (Rom. 8:31).
>> What seems to be standing against you today? I want to encourage you to write that obstacle down on paper, and, like Hezekiah, lay that down before the Lord, asking Him to rule.