This Week's Story

Disaster is not the next step for Hezekiah or his nation.

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

Hezekiah: Sackcloth and Ashes, part five

A coarse rough sackcloth hung from King Hezekiah’s body. Ashes were dusted on him. People did that in Judah when they were sad, desperate, and humbled.

Hezekiah prayed, “O Lord, we need you. We cannot defend ourselves against the Assyrians. We will die, unless you rescue us.

“Only you can help our nation. Our enemies surround us. King Sennacherib’s messenger shouts contempt at you. Our people listen from the city walls. Lord, what should we do?”

He turned to Eli and Shebna, his trusted staff, and to leading priests standing nearby. “Go to God’s prophet Isaiah with a message from me.”

The men went and told Isaiah, “King Hezekiah’s words are, ‘We are in a day of terrible trouble and disgrace. It is like a day when a baby is ready to be born, but the mother has no strength to give birth to her little one.

“Perhaps the Lord has listened to King’s Sennacherib’s messenger and will punish him. Isaiah, pray for us.”

Isaiah answered, “Tell your master King Hezekiah that this is what God says, ‘Do not be troubled by cursing against me. Listen! I will send a report to the king of Assyria that he is needed at home. The king of Ethiopia is leading an army against him. Sennacherib will return to his land and be killed by sword.’”

Assyria’s king sent a message to King Hezekiah. “Do not let your god deceive you into thinking that your capital city Jerusalem will not be captured. The Assyrians crush all who are in their way. You are no different!”

When Hezekiah received the letter, he took it to the Lord’s temple. He prayed, “You alone are God of all the nations of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.

“Listen to Sennacherib’s rebellion against you. It is true that Sennacherib and his warriors have destroyed nations and burned their gods. Of course, they could. They were not gods; they were idols of wood and stone made by human hands. Now, O Lord our God, rescue us. Then the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone are God.

Isaiah sent a message to King Hezekiah. The Lord declares, “I have heard your prayer about the king of Assyria. Here is my message to him, ‘Whom do you think you are mocking? It is the Holy One of Israel!

‘You boast about what you have accomplished. It was I, the Lord, who decided long ago that you should crush cities into rubble. That is why their people are little prey for you.

‘I know all you do. I will make you return by the road on which you came.’”

That night the angel of the Lord went to the Assyrian camp of warriors outside of Jerusalem. The angel killed 185,000 warriors. King Sennacherib returned to his land where his sons killed him with their swords.

This is Barbara Steiner with a story of the highest power.

Much more about King Hezekiah’s reign can be found in II Kings 18 through 20, II Chronicles 29-32, and Isaiah 36 through 39 of the Bible.

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