Summary: It is by faith that we face our spiritual foe, and fight our spiritual battles. No other reliance will prevail for us.
FIGHTING THE FOE BY FAITH
Text: Isa.36: 1, 2; Isa.59: 19
Intro: Inherent in the life of the child of God are the inevitable trials, tribulations, and battles that seem to dog our steps. Jesus Himself said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16: 33b). Jesus was simply saying that the trials of life are inevitable. However, we can learn to be overcomers by learning to trust He who overcame the world, and all that it could throw at Him.
Standing at the ready in the very midst of our battles and trials are two highly interested entities. Satan, on one hand, stands ready to discourage and defeat us, while God, on the other hand, stands ready to encourage and empower us for victory.
The battles of life may take many forms, but Satan uses them all to accomplish one initial reaction in the heart of the Christian—FEAR. You see the devil knows that if a child of God is living in fear, he cannot be living by faith. One cancels out the other. Those two principles cannot coexist. Satan knows that if a saint lives in fear, their defeat is a foregone conclusion. The outcome of every conflict in life is determined by whether one responds to it in fear or in faith. Outlook determines the outcome.
In today’s text, we have an excellent example of Satan’s strategy against the saints. Hezekiah was faced with a grave dilemma. The nation of Assyria was threatening to attack Jerusalem. The cities around Jerusalem had already suffered defeat, resulting in the capture of over “200,000 prisoners,” according to secular history (Leon Wood, A Survey Of Israel’s History: published by Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan; pg. 361). The situation was such that anyone would have been a little anxious, to say the least.
Though King Hezekiah experienced some anxiety over the probability of battle, he did not allow his anxiety and fear to rule him. He responded to his initial fear with determined faith toward God. This response opened the way for God to bring about deliverance. Faith in God will accomplish the same for us.
Theme: Hezekiah’s battle with the enemy had three phases.
I. THE FEAR ENGENDERED BY THE ENEMY’S THREATS
A. There Was A Verbal Threat.
1. Hezekiah was told not to count on the strength of his allies.
Isa.36: 4 “And Rabshakeh said unto them, Say ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this wherein thou trustest?
5 I say, sayest thou, (but they are but vain words) I have counsel and strength for war: now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me?
6 Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.”
NOTE:  The word “Rabshakeh” is actually a title, not the messenger’s name. It is the “…title of a high court official (originally a royal cupbearer, since the name means ‘chief wine-pourer’)” (Charles F. Pfeiffer and Everett F. Harrison, The Wycliffe Bible Commentary: published by Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois; pg. 634).
 It is interesting to note that twenty-three years earlier, Hezekiah’s father, Ahaz, had to make a decision at this same aqueduct mentioned in verse two. Unfortunately, King Ahaz decided to trust the armies of Assyria to fight his battles, rather than God. Now, the ally of Ahaz had become the attacker of Hezekiah. Be careful what you rely on in times of trial. Trusting anything other than God will likely be your undoing. As the old song says, “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand/All other ground is sinking sand” (“The Solid Rock,” by Edward Mote).
 The obvious intent of this Assyrian military official was to knock all the props out from under Hezekiah and his people. In reality, Judah could not trust Egypt for deliverance because Assyria had already captured and controlled the road to Egypt.
2. Hezekiah was told that his army lacked sufficient military ability.
Isa.36: 8 “Now therefore give pledges, I pray thee, to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them.
9 How then wilt thou turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master’s servants, and put thy trust in Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?”
NOTE:  In verse eight, the Assyrian messenger basically makes fun of the obvious military weakness of Judah. In essence, he said, “Look, I’ll make you a deal (“give pledges”). If you can find riders for them, my master will give you two thousand horses to help your war effort.”