2Kings 18-19 tells the story of Hezekiah’s stand-off with Rabshakeh, field commander of Assyria’s army. Three important contextual observations lead us to a spiritual lesson:
- the crisis was preceded by Hezekiah’s idol bashing reforms
- Rabshakeh’s psychological warfare referenced that reform and used it as a means of intimidation
- Hezekiah saw the crisis as a challenge to God’s glory and God’s response concurred with that assessment
Set in the context of Hezekiah’s reforms, Rabshakeh’s challenge, and the dialogue between Hezekiah and God, I hear this message:
Exuberant idol bashing is followed by a tormenting fear of reprisals.
Hezekiah models practical advice for mastering that fear. But I really felt the central message God was leading me to preach was “be ready!” or “don’t be surprised when . . . .” This message fits in your mental theology files under “spiritual warfare.” Rabshakeh serves as a stand-in for that relentless tempter of our souls when he sneers: “On what are you basing this confidence of yours?”