Hezekiah became king of Judah at the age of twenty-five and reigned for twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. He was a faithful servant of God, and did many things to keep his people on the right path. For instance, when the people of Judah set up places to worship idols and false gods, Hezekiah broke the pillars of the places of assembly and tore down the idols. The scripture tells us he trusted the Lord “so that there was none like him” either before or after, and that he “held fast to the Lord” and “did not depart from following Him” (2 Ki. 18:5-6). As a result of his faith, God made Hezekiah prosper. As he stood firm in his faith and trust in God, he was able to defeat the Philistines and refuse to serve Shalmaneser, king of Assyria.
Over a period of about ten years, two kings of Assyria began to make war with the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. King Salmaneser conquered Samaria and took captive Israelites back to Assyria, then King Sennacherib made war with the fortified cities of Judah and took them. It is apparent at this point that Hezekiah began to lose his nerve. In order to preempt an attack on the city of Jerusalem, Hezekiah attempted to compromise with the Assyrian king. He sent an apology to the king, offering to do anything he required. Sennacherib demanded three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. Hezekiah was forced to strip the gold from the doors and doorposts of the temple and empty the king’s treasury to meet the enemy’s demands. After the demands were met, the apologies were offered and the gestures for peace were extended, things were settled, right? Wrong. Bad things were just beginning. The Assyrian army didn’t slow down in its march across the land of the Israelites. Almost immediately, representatives of the Assyrian king were outside the gates of Jerusalem and demanding surrender or face siege, death and destruction.
Fortunately for the people of Judah, Hezekiah came to his senses. First he sought good advice and counsel from the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah sent a message to Hezekiah, telling him to rely on the Lord and He would destroy the Assyrian king. Then, Hezekiah prayed to the Lord and asked Him to save the people of Judah from the hand of Sennacherib. God sent His response, by the mouth of Isaiah, telling Hezekiah He would defend Jerusalem. That very night, an angel of the Lord struck down 185,000 Assyrians, causing Sennacherib to flee to his home of Nineveh. Shortly thereafter, the sons of Sennacherib murdered their father.
Although the outcome seems positive for the people of Judah, we need to be aware of the mistake this servant of God made in dropping his guard and depending on his own abilities to stave off the enemy. When Hezekiah depended on the Lord, he prospered. But, when he leaned on his own understanding and confidence, he began to compromise with the enemy. His actions almost brought destruction to the people of God. If we are not careful, we can employ the same tactics of compromise when we deal with our adversary the devil. We are fooling ourselves if we think we can make apologies to the enemy and expect peace and acceptance.
In this age of political correctness and tolerance, Christians must never face our enemy with apologies and compromises when it comes to standing for the truth. God’s Word is truth, and it stands with or without our help! But, we must be willing to teach that those who practice sexual immorality, idolatry, homosexuality, thievery, drunkenness, etc. will not inherit the kingdom of God (see 1 Cor. 6:9-10) and be unapologetic about it. Doctrines of truth such as repentance of sin, baptism for forgiveness and purity of life need no apologies from us. Making deals with the enemy will never bring peace. Remember that Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Mat. 10:34).