May 19, 2007
II Chronicles 32-34
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- After these things, and the establishment thereof, Sennacherib king of Assyria came, and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fenced cities, and thought to win them for himself.
- And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come, and that he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem,
- He took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains which were without the city: and they did help him.
- So there was gathered much people together, who stopped all the fountains, and the brook that ran through the midst of the land, saying, Why should the kings of Assyria come, and find much water?
- Also he strengthened himself, and built up all the wall that was broken, and raised it up to the towers, and another wall without, and repaired Millo in the city of David, and made darts and shields in abundance.
- And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city, and spake comfortably to them, saying,
- Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him:
- With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.
- After this did Sennacherib king of Assyria send his servants to Jerusalem, (but he himself laid siege against Lachish, and all his power with him,) unto Hezekiah king of Judah, and unto all Judah that were at Jerusalem, saying,
- Thus saith Sennacherib king of Assyria, Whereon do ye trust, that ye abide in the siege in Jerusalem?
- Doth not Hezekiah persuade you to give over yourselves to die by famine and by thirst, saying, The LORD our God shall deliver us out of the hand of the king of Assyria?
- Hath not the same Hezekiah taken away his high places and his altars, and commanded Judah and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall worship before one altar, and burn incense upon it?
- Know ye not what I and my fathers have done unto all the people of other lands? were the gods of the nations of those lands any ways able to deliver their lands out of mine hand?
- Who was there among all the gods of those nations that my fathers utterly destroyed, that could deliver his people out of mine hand, that your God should be able to deliver you out of mine hand?
- Now therefore let not Hezekiah deceive you, nor persuade you on this manner, neither yet believe him: for no god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people out of mine hand, and out of the hand of my fathers: how much less shall your God deliver you out of mine hand?
- And his servants spake yet more against the LORD God, and against his servant Hezekiah.
- He wrote also letters to rail on the LORD God of Israel, and to speak against him, saying, As the gods of the nations of other lands have not delivered their people out of mine hand, so shall not the God of Hezekiah deliver his people out of mine hand.
- Then they cried with a loud voice in the Jews' speech unto the people of Jerusalem that were on the wall, to affright them, and to trouble them; that they might take the city.
- And they spake against the God of Jerusalem, as against the gods of the people of the earth, which were the work of the hands of man.
- And for this cause Hezekiah the king, and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz, prayed and cried to heaven.
- And the LORD sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he was come into the house of his god, they that came forth of his own bowels slew him there with the sword.
- Thus the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all other, and guided them on every side.
- And many brought gifts unto the LORD to Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah: so that he was magnified in the sight of all nations from thenceforth.
- In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the LORD: and he spake unto him, and he gave him a sign.
- But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem.
- Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.
- And Hezekiah had exceeding much riches and honour: and he made himself treasuries for silver, and for gold, and for precious stones, and for spices, and for shields, and for all manner of pleasant jewels;
- Storehouses also for the increase of corn, and wine, and oil; and stalls for all manner of beasts, and cotes for flocks.
- Moreover he provided him cities, and possessions of flocks and herds in abundance: for God had given him substance very much.
- This same Hezekiah also stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works.
- Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.
- Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and his goodness, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, and in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.
- And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the chiefest of the sepulchres of the sons of David: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honour at his death. And Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.
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- Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem:
- But did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.
- For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.
- Also he built altars in the house of the LORD, whereof the LORD had said, In Jerusalem shall my name be for ever.
- And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD.
- And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
- And he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen before all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever:
- Neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from out of the land which I have appointed for your fathers; so that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses.
- So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel.
- And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken.
- Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon.
- And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers,
- And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God.
- Now after this he built a wall without the city of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entering in at the fish gate, and compassed about Ophel, and raised it up a very great height, and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah.
- And he took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the LORD, and in Jerusalem, and cast them out of the city.
- And he repaired the altar of the LORD, and sacrificed thereon peace offerings and thank offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the LORD God of Israel.
- Nevertheless the people did sacrifice still in the high places, yet unto the LORD their God only.
- Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and his prayer unto his God, and the words of the seers that spake to him in the name of the LORD God of Israel, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel.
- His prayer also, and how God was intreated of him, and all his sin, and his trespass, and the places wherein he built high places, and set up groves and graven images, before he was humbled: behold, they are written among the sayings of the seers.
- So Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his own house: and Amon his son reigned in his stead.
- Amon was two and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned two years in Jerusalem.
- But he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as did Manasseh his father: for Amon sacrificed unto all the carved images which Manasseh his father had made, and served them;
- And humbled not himself before the LORD, as Manasseh his father had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more.
- And his servants conspired against him, and slew him in his own house.
- But the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against king Amon; and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead.
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- Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years.
- And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left.
- For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images.
- And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust of them, and strowed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them.
- And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.
- And so did he in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali, with their mattocks round about.
- And when he had broken down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.
- Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land, and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of the LORD his God.
- And when they came to Hilkiah the high priest, they delivered the money that was brought into the house of God, which the Levites that kept the doors had gathered of the hand of Manasseh and Ephraim, and of all the remnant of Israel, and of all Judah and Benjamin; and they returned to Jerusalem.
- And they put it in the hand of the workmen that had the oversight of the house of the LORD, and they gave it to the workmen that wrought in the house of the LORD, to repair and amend the house:
- Even to the artificers and builders gave they it, to buy hewn stone, and timber for couplings, and to floor the houses which the kings of Judah had destroyed.
- And the men did the work faithfully: and the overseers of them were Jahath and Obadiah, the Levites, of the sons of Merari; and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to set it forward; and other of the Levites, all that could skill of instruments of musick.
- Also they were over the bearers of burdens, and were overseers of all that wrought the work in any manner of service: and of the Levites there were scribes, and officers, and porters.
- And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the LORD given by Moses.
- And Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan.
- And Shaphan carried the book to the king, and brought the king word back again, saying, All that was committed to thy servants, they do it.
- And they have gathered together the money that was found in the house of the LORD, and have delivered it into the hand of the overseers, and to the hand of the workmen.
- Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath given me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.
- And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes.
- And the king commanded Hilkiah, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Abdon the son of Micah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king's, saying,
- Go, enquire of the LORD for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do after all that is written in this book.
- And Hilkiah, and they that the king had appointed, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college:) and they spake to her to that effect.
- And she answered them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Tell ye the man that sent you to me,
- Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah:
- Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched.
- And as for the king of Judah, who sent you to enquire of the LORD, so shall ye say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel concerning the words which thou hast heard;
- Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD.
- Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same. So they brought the king word again.
- Then the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem.
- And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the Levites, and all the people, great and small: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of the LORD.
- And the king stood in his place, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book.
- And he caused all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers.
- And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel to serve, even to serve the LORD their God. And all his days they departed not from following the LORD, the God of their fathers.
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Thought for the day:
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The thought that stands out to me in today's passage is: Our God is Different. Sennacherib, king of Assyria, had laid siege upon Jerusalem. In
32:6-7 we read that Hezekiah
"spake comfortably to them, saying, "Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that [is] with him: for [there be] more with us than with him."
First of all I want you to see the assurance that Hezekiah had in Jehovah. He spoke to the Jews comfortably, which means that he had complete confidence in his message and in his God. He exhorted them to have courage, because the Lord would provide for them. Notice in
verse eight the basis for this confidence. Hezekiah states,
"With him [is] an arm of flesh; but with us [is] the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles."
Sennacherib may have been a great general, and he may have led a mighty army, but he was at his best only flesh and blood. He was simply a man. Hezekiah contrasts this with the divine power of Almighty God. Jehovah, the Self-Existent One, the One Who has always been, the One Who spoke the worlds into existence, would help Judah and fight for them. What a tremendous encouragement! Our God is far greater than anything that the world can throw at us, for it is only through His power that anything else exists at all. The people realized the implications of this message, and they "rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah" (
vs. 8). They put their trust in Hezekiah's message and in Hezekiah's God, and they found rest in spite of the danger that lay just outside their walls.
Sennacherib attempted to dismay the Jews. In
verse 10 he questions the wisdom of Hezekiah's convictions. He states that no other nation's gods have protected them, and thus there is no way that Judah's God will be able to protect her. He makes accusations against Hezekiah, and blasphemes the God of Israel. Note the area of his blasphemy: he says that the Jehovah is no better, nor more powerful, than any of the other gods that he has faced.
Verse 19 says that,
"they spake against the God of Jerusalem, as against the gods of the people of the earth, [which were] the work of the hands of man."
Over and over he and his people scream this message at the Jews, in the Hebrew tongue, in an attempt to discourage them from the fight so that Jerusalem might be lost. Yet Hezekiah and his people hold fast, and when the faithful king cries out to the Lord for help,
"the LORD sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria" (21).
Defeated and humiliated, Sennacherib returned home, only to be slain by his own offspring in the temple of his false god.
Sennacherib learned a hard lesson that each of us who are saved should remember every day: our God is different. He is not the same as the gods that the heathen worship. He is not the same as the gods that false western religions worship. He is not the same as the secularists worship, nor even the liberal "christian" religions who talk about the Bible but don't believe It. How often have we heard that a certain individual is spiritually beyond hope because nothing else that has been tried worked? The God of the Bible is not like everything else. The psychologist and sociologist tell us that there is nothing that can be done for the drug addict, the perverse, and the criminal. Modern psychiatry attempts to reform them through education or medicine,and then determines that there is nothing that can be done. In fact, in instances such as homosexuality, the psychologist decides that there is nothing really wrong with the behavior at all because it is "genetic". Imagine their shock when the above mentioned sinners have their lives changed by the power of Jesus Christ through the Word of God!
Never be discourage by what the world may do or say. Our God is different from the world, and He is different from any "god" that the world has to offer. Perhaps
I John 4:4 puts it best:
"Greater is He That is in you than he that is in the world."
Pastor Dr. Mark J Montgomery