In 2 Chronicles 32, there’s about to be a war and the people are afraid. The more I read the Old Testament, the more familiar this story becomes. That and the fact that a general pattern seems to be good king…son becomes bad king…son becomes good king…son becomes bad king…But back to the impending war. Let’s take a look at what King Hezekiah does to prepare and what we can do to imitate him. Oh wait, you did realize there is always an impending war, if not an active campaign against you all the time right? St. Paul reminds us in 1 Peter 5:8 our enemy is like a lion, roaming about, seeking someone to devour. St. Paul commands us to stay alert, this enemy is an ever present danger. Using King Hezekiah as an example, let’s look at the six things to do when the enemy is prowling.
1. He Consulted with His Officials and Military Advisers
He sought clear, sound, and trained advice. I’m not really sure the advice would have been as decisive if he would have thrown up a Facebook post asking for advice? I’m also not sure the advice would have been as clear had he asked his mom, his aunt, his sister, his brother, his hairdresser’s cousin, his best friend’s–brother-in-law’s–mechanic’s–cleaning lady’s–dental receptionist’s–nail tech’s Twitter followers. There are those you ask for a good restaurant recommendation and those you ask when you know the enemy is headed straight for you. Choose wisely. Running around seeking everyone’s advice makes you more vulnerable. It wastes your time and distracts you from the battle at hand.
2. They Cut Off the Water Supply to the City
“’Why should the kings of Assyria come and find plenty of water?’ they said.” When the enemy is prowling, why have a hospitable landing place for him? Remember we talked recently about the parable in Luke 11:25. A demon is driven out but he comes back around, he finds his former home swept clean and in better order than it was when he left. Because the place was so hospitable, he brings seven demons worse than himself to make themselves at home! The place was just so nice and inviting. So how do we make a comfy landing place for the enemy? How about a heart full of unconfessed sin or vices we no longer work on–we just say, “Oh, that’s just the way I am.” What about slipping out of intimate friendship with God because we’re too tired or busy, bored or distracted?
3. He Strengthened His Defenses
The Scriptures state, “…he further strengthened his defenses by repairing the wall wherever it was broken down and by adding to the fortifications and constructing a second wall outside the first.” Did you catch the word “further”? Synonyms for further are: again, also, in addition to, on top of, over and above. Hezekiah wasn’t fooling around. He strengthened what was already in place. He repaired what had been torn down. He added strength to what was already there and he constructed a second barrier. Remember in Matthew 17 when Jesus tells His disciples about a certain demon that “…is not cast out but by prayer and fasting.” Sometimes, one barrier–prayer or one wall is not enough. Sometimes the wall needs to be fortified by another wall or the prayers need to be fortified with fasting when the enemy is prowling.
4. He Spoke Encouragement
King Hezekiah told the people, “Don’t be afraid of the King of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side! He may have a great army, but they are just men. We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!” And the Scriptures state, his words greatly encouraged the people. A couple of things here, he told the people–these were spoken words meant to encourage. There is power in what we hear and say. Let’s make those words count! Also, did you notice King Hezekiah didn’t play down the threat? He called it what it was–a mighty army and a great army. He also reminded the people, the army was just a bunch of men. And then he reminded them, they had God on their side to help them and fight for them. Did you notice he used the word “for” instead of “with”? That three-letter word makes a big difference!
5. He Did Not Listen to the Enemy
The enemy sent someone ahead to place doubt in the people’s mind. And then to mock God. And then stood outside the walls shouting trying to terrify the people, “…so it would be easier to capture the city.” Are you listening to the voice of doubt, criticism or confusion? Does it feel like the voices are becoming louder? That’s not by accident–that’s the beginning stages of war! The enemy doesn’t want to go hand-to-hand with you, he’s afraid of losing. But if he can stand outside and make all sorts of scary and distracting noise, he may never even have to fight. You might win the battle for him if he can get you listen to him.
6. He Cried Out to God
But let me point out, King Hezekiah had help. The Scripture states, “Then King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer to God in heaven.” Remember the Scripture about “where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am.” King Hezekiah fortified his prayer as well as the walls. He stood with Isaiah and they both cried out to the Lord. The other night a girl on Instagram messaged me with a Bible journaling question. I didn’t get the message until later that day because I was on a college visit with Veronica. When I apologized and explained to my Instagram friend the reason for my delay, she asked what school and if it had anything to do with soccer. Of course it had to do with soccer–we’re talking about Veronica here! I explained how Veronica just loves one particular school but financially it just doesn’t seem possible. I told my friend we had started praying for discernment and financial means to open up to her–quickly. I invited her to join us in prayer and she responded, “I’d love to!” I don’t know that this discernment and obvious financial roadblock is a war waged by the enemy? It very well could be considering the assaults on our kids today and the differences between an overtly Christian campus verse a local, small town Junior College? What I do know is this, there is no better friend than one who stands beside you in prayer.
I know you’re either in the midst of a battle or there’s one headed your way and I pray these examples from King Hezekiah give you some clear direction on what needs to be done when the enemy is prowling–prepare, fight and win. I’ll close with a quote from Matthew Henry on this passage of Scripture,
“Those that trust God with their safety must yet use proper means for their safety, otherwise they tempt him, and do not trust him. God will provide, but so must we also.”