Lessons from Hezekiah – The False Peace
2 Kings 18:31-32
“Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then every one of you will eat from his own vine and fig tree and drink water from his own cistern, until I come and take you to a land like your own, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Choose life and not death!” NIV
One of the most powerful armies ever to besiege Jerusalem stood at its gates. Hezekiah, king of Judah, was surrounded and outnumbered. The people were understandably fearful and anxious. The Assyrian commander sensed it and made them an offer of peace that was suspiciously like the promise of God; in effect he offered them a promised land just like the one they had, overflowing with bread, vine and honey.
That is the way of the enemy. He always tries to substitute false promises in place of the eternal Word of God. It was that way with Adam and Eve and now he was offering it to the people of Jerusalem.
And if that doesn’t work, he’ll claim that it is somehow God’s plan that terrible things happen. The Assyrian commander, for example, also declared to the people of Jerusalem that the Lord told him to attack them and destroy the city. The same man who had previously boasted that not even the God of Israel could stand against the might of Assyria was now claiming to be obeying Him!
Hezekiah knew the Lord his God enough to stand strong and to trust God no matter how bleak or difficult the situation was. And God came through for him and the people of Jerusalem. In the end, the mighty Assyrian army fled in disarray and its king was cut down by his own sons. Had the people of Jerusalem put their trust in the false promises of Assyria, they would have been enslaved and their city destroyed.
Lies, half-truths and deception have always been the enemy’s strategy. And it is a strategy that often succeeds. Too many are ready to give up on the promises of God for the false promises of peace, security and abundance that the world readily offers. In the end, they discover that false promises only lead to false peace. The victims are everywhere – the father who bought into the lie that an affair would not hurt anyone; the businessman who thought no one would discover his cheating; the young person who thought a little cocaine won’t be addictive….
“There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death” (Proverbs 14:12) – the death of hopes and dreams, the death of peace and joy, the death of purpose and destiny. The enemy always comes to “steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10).
Hezekiah’s encounter with the Assyrians is a reminder to us of just how deceptive the enemy can be, especially at those times when we are vulnerable, under pressure, challenged by difficult situations or circumstances. Ways that are contrary to the Word of the Lord might seem appealing, might seem workable, might seem a viable alternative but make no mistake, it always takes us away from God’s best for our lives.
For us, there can be only one choice – we choose life in Christ Jesus and in Him alone! We must decide beforehand then, that no matter what happens, no matter what we have to face, no matter what the consequences, we will hold fast to the Lord and to His Word. We will not compromise and neither will we turn aside from following Him. Our peace will be on God’s terms or not at all.
Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). We are more than conquerors. There is no enemy that can overcome us. And there can be no greater promise than that of abundant life in Christ Jesus.
Jesus loves you. Be blessed this day. And may the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7) now and always.