Sennacherib’s Questions 2 Chr. 32:21 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
When Sennacherib laid siege to Jerusalem, Hezekiah had instructed the inhabitants to be strong and courageous. He assured them that, though they were outnumbered by Sennacherib’s army, they were superior in strength because they had God to help them fight their battles [2 Chr 32:7-8]. And Hezekiah was right. In one night an angel killed 185,000 leaders, captains and mighty men of valor. Sennacherib returned to Assyria in shame [2 Chr 32:21].
Between the time of Hezekiah’s speech and Sennacherib’s departure, Sennacherib tried to discourage the Jews who were in Jerusalem with demoralizing questions. He tried to frighten them and trouble them [2 Chr 32:18]. This is a skillful tactic in war to give the enemy an advantage. This is a tactic that is often used against us in our spiritual warfare.
Questions trouble you and make you afraid and dismayed when you need to be strong against an attack from your enemies: the flesh, the world and the devil. If you are not fully trusting in the Lord God, questions like these will break your fragile reliance upon the Lord and your enemies can defeat you. Notice that Sennacherib offered them conditions of surrender in 2 Ki 18:31-32. These are the conditions that your enemies offer you, a land like your own [the world rather than the church], a place where you can live and not die [a place of pleasures rather than the reproach of Christ Heb 11:25-26]. And lots of Christians fall for this offer.
Notice how these questions can discourage you and weaken you in your spiritual battle to stay separated from the world and the lusts of the flesh. Questions cause you:
To doubt your pastor’s preaching – 2 Chr 32:10 – Hezekiah told them to trust the Lord. And he was absolutely right. The Lord is the one who defeated Sennacherib’s army. If the Jews had doubted Hezekiah’s words, they would have doubted the Lord, and they would have made a deal with Sennacherib. In a spiritual attack, your enemy wants you to doubt the Lord. You know how he does it? He gets you to doubt your pastor and his preaching of the words of God so he can get you to doubt the Lord. As an example, there are untold thousands of Christians who are taught by professors in college to doubt what they learned in church. They offer you a new land and a new life to get you away from the Lord and the Bible.
To doubt the Lord’s provisions – 2 Chr 32:11 – Hezekiah believed that, no matter how long the siege lasted or how large Sennacherib’s army was, the Lord would deliver them. Sennacherib proclaimed that the Jews would die of thirst and starvation for believing this. When people get nervous about food and water [their basic necessities] they panic. That’s what Sennacherib wanted them to do. And that’s what your enemies want you to do. They want you to question God’s provisions. The world gets you thinking about the “necessities” of your flesh: a spouse, a job, a house, money, etc. and then gets you to panic. You worry that you’ll die before God can provide you with those things to your satisfaction. So, you take what Sennacherib has to offer.
To doubt God’s exclusiveness – 2 Chr 32:12 – Hezekiah consecrated the temple and restored the worship of God solely at the altar as before. Sennacherib scoffed that Hezekiah should have excluded the worship of other gods. And the world scoffs at you when you proclaim that the God of the Bible is the only true God and that Jesus Christ is the only way to him. The world preaches “inclusiveness,” and rejects you when you are exclusive. The ridicule is so intense that it causes Christians to back off and quit being so dogmatic about who can go to heaven. The enemy wins because you quit preaching the gospel. Yet the gospel is the exclusive power of God unto salvation.
To doubt the Church’s permanence – 2 Chr 32:13 – Sennacherib had a track record against all of the other nations he fought. None of them escaped. They were all defeated. Our enemies have certainly had lots of success against colleges that once taught the Bible, churches that once preached the gospel, organizations that once stood for God and Bibles that once preserved the pure words of God. And our enemies want us to believe that the Church cannot stand and that it will not work to deliver us, either. The Church is the only place where you can still be delivered from the ravages of the world, the flesh and the devil. If those enemies can cause us to doubt the effectual working of God in the Church, they can get us to quit going to church. And when we quit going, we lose.
To doubt God’s deliverance – 2 Chr 32:14 – Sennacherib wanted to discourage the Jews by getting then to doubt whether God would be able to deliver them. If they believed that God couldn’t then they would surrender to Sennacherib rather than fight. You and I know that God is greater than every god of man. So when our enemies attack us they just want us to question, not so much whether God can deliver us, but whether he will. Ultimately, they want us to not fight and to look to them, rather than God, for deliverance. How many Christians have turned to the world for help because they feared that God wouldn’t or couldn’t help them?
To doubt God’s record – 2 Chr 32:15 – Sennacherib boasted about his record against the gods of all of the other nations he had fought and defeated. Therefore, he assumed there wasn’t any God that he couldn’t defeat. By boasting of his own past performance, he was able to take their minds off of God’s past performance. That’s how the devil does it. He scares you into seeing how bad he is and you forget how good and successful God has been. God has never lost a battle and he never will. The funny thing about Sennacherib is that he didn’t realize that God was behind all of his former victories [2 Ki 19:25-28]. And you need to remember that the Lord uses the devil, as well. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God,” [1 Pet 5:6]. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you,” [Jas 4:7].
Conclusion: as long as we live in this world we are going to constantly face attacks from our enemies. When questions arise in your heart that cause you to doubt, you can’t let them shake your faith in the words of God, the provisions of God, the sole power of God, the church of God, the deliverance of God, and the record of God. He is the winner, he is the deliverer and he will provide.