Summary: How to prepare for the threat of future events (written before Y2K)
“Preparing for an Uncertain Future”
Intro: Let’s talk for a little about preparing for an uncertain future. Let’s look in 2 Kings 18.
In this chapter, we see a godly king of Judah. His name is Hezekiah. In verse 5 we see he is a godly king. Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no-one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses. And the LORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him.
In verse 13, we see, In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.
So, how does a godly king repond to crisis? Hexekiah was a man who responded with faith and trust. We find him resisting the Assyrian king. We see him having a strong confidence in God. The Assyrians mocked his faith in God. Look at verse 19, The field commander said to them, "Tell Hezekiah: "`This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: On what are you basing this confidence of yours? You say you have strategy and military strength--but you speak only empty words. On whom are you depending, that you rebel against me? Look now, you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces a man’s hand and wounds him if he leans on it! Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who depend on him. And if you say to me, "We are depending on the LORD our God" --isn’t he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah removed, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, "You must worship before this altar in Jerusalem"?
In chapter 19, we see he turns to the Lord for deliverance. When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the LORD. They went to the prophet Isaiah who inquired from God. Look in verse 6 - Isaiah said to them, "Tell your master, `This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard--those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Listen! I am going to put such a spirit in him that when he hears a certain report, he will return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.’"
Hezekiah knew that God was going to work on his behalf: he prayed and heard his prayers answered. Yet Hezekiah also took practical steps himself. You may have heard the phrase, “Pray like everything depends on God, but work like everything depends on you.” That’s what Hezekiah did!
*Hezekiah paid tribute to the king of Assyria 18:14 - So Hezekiah king of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria at Lachish: "I have done wrong. Withdraw from me, and I will pay whatever you demand of me." The king of Assyria exacted from Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold.
*Hezekiah prepared the city - 2 Chron. 32:1-8
After all that Hezekiah had so faithfully done, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah. He laid siege to the fortified cities, thinking to conquer them for himself. When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come and that he intended to make war on Jerusalem, he consulted with his officials and military staff about blocking off the water from the springs outside the city, and they helped him. A large force of men assembled, and they blocked all the springs and the stream that flowed through the land. "Why should the kings of Assyria come and find plenty of water?" they said. Then he worked hard repairing all the broken sections of the wall and building towers on it. He built another wall outside that one and reinforced the supporting terraces of the City of David. He also made large numbers of weapons and shields. He appointed military officers over the people and assembled them before him in the square at the city gate and encouraged them with these words: "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles." And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.
Hezekiah is a wonderful example for us in facing uncertainty. We trust fully in the Lord, we pray for him to work, but at the same time, we need to take steps of personal preparation that we can to be ready.