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Summary: Although faced with both opposition and intimidation. Hezekiah prayed and the seemingly impossible happened, Jerusalem was delivered.

Isaiah 37:20

Introduction: Opposition and intimidation are oftentimes used by Satan to defeat the believer.

These same two tools were used by the Assyrian armies as they laid siege to enemy cities and fortresses.

Hezekiah was a good king, who followed the 16 year rule of a bad king, his father Ahaz.

Now this good king was faced by opposition and intimidation at the hand of the Assyrian King Sennacherib, but rather than surrendering, Hezekiah went to God and prayed.

How did the prayer of Hezekiah bring about deliverance?

1. The Reason for the Opposition and Intimidation.

A. Under Ahaz, Jerusalem the capital city of the Southern Kingdom of Judah was a city under siege by the intimidating presence of the Assyrian armies (Isaiah 8).

B. The city was so much under their control that the altar in the temple of God was replaced by altars to various pagan gods worshiped by the Assyrians.

C. Now enter a good king, Hezekiah, who wished to right the wrongs of his father, and turn the minds and hearts of the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the Southern Kingdom of Judah back to God. He therefore removed the altars to pagan deities and replaced them with an altar to the true God of Judah.

D. Since he did this, the Assyrian King Sennacherib threatened to destroy Jerusalem and all of it's inhabitants. Assyria was known for doing this to others who did not conform to their demands and did not bow to it's power.

E. Sennacherib sent his messenger, Rabshakeh, to deliver an ultimatum to Hezekiah and to demand his allegiance to the Assyrian way. After belittling Jerusalem by saying that they would not have enough warriors to outfit 2,000 horses, that even the God of Judah could not stop the Assyrians from attacking, and that the faith of Hezekiah was unfounded (Isaiah 36), Hezekiah became angered by Rabshakeh's lack of respect for God and this alone strengthened the confidence and faith of Hezekiah in God's ability to deliver Jerusalem.

F. A little later, Hezekiah received a letter from Sennacherib which once again repeated God's inability to deliver Jerusalem from the hand of the Assyrians. Hezekiah knew exactly what to do in the face of this opposition and intimidation, he would go to God in prayer. Therefore, he took the letter and spread it open in the presence of God and asked for God's assistance (Isaiah 37).

G. Through Hezekiah, God would fulfill the prophecy of delivering Jerusalem from the invasion and siege by the Assyrians under the reign of Sennacherib. This came about because Hezekiah had great faith in God.

H. Despite the fact that Sennacherib had laid siege to and destroyed walled fortresses built during the reign of Hezekiah, this did not diminish Hezekiah's resolve to see God once again worshiped in Judah.

2. The Reason for Hezekiah's Prayer.

A. Once again, the letter from the Assyrian King Sennacherib, called God a deceiver and repeated the threat of destruction unless the inhabitants of Judah surrendered to the wishes and will of the Assyrians (Isaiah 37:10).

B. Hezekiah immediately took the proper course of action by coming to the house of the Lord and praying for God's intervention on behalf of Judah (Isaiah 37:16).

C. Addressing specifically the contents of the letter, Hezekiah asked God to deliver them on account of the threats of Sennacherib (Isaiah 37:17).

D. The prophet Isaiah came to Hezekiah and delivered unto him the answer of the Lord (Isaiah 37:21ff). His answer was that because Hezekiah sought God's help, God has promised that He would deliver Judah from the hand of the Assyrians.

3. The Outcome of Hezekiah's Actions.

A. By the words of Isaiah, despite the power and strength of Assyria and despite the seeming weakness of the people of Judah, God would bless Judah and she would grow, prosper and bear much fruit to God's glory (Isaiah 37:31).

B. By the words of Isaiah, God would deliver by His power the remnant of the people and the Assyrians would have no power over them (Isaiah 37:32).

C. By the words of Isaiah, God's power would be shown to the extent that the Assyrians would not even be able to shoot a single arrow within the city, nor bear their shields, nor even cast a single stone against the city (Isaiah 37:33).

D. According to Isaiah, the Assyrians would not be given the opportunity to attack the city, and just as God promised, an angel of the Lord destroyed the armies of the Assyrians. In one night 185,000 soldiers were slain (Isaiah 37:36).

E. Finally, while worshiping in the house of the Assyrian god Nisroch in the city of Ninevah, Sennacherib's own sons Adrammelech and Sharezer assassinated him with a sword, and then they escaped into the land of Armenia, and then Esarhaddon the son of Sennacherib came into power (Isaiah 37:37-38).

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