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HEZEKIAH’S DELIVERANCE FROM SENNACHERIB
2 Kings 19:30-31. The remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of Mount Zion: the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this.
GREAT and mighty conquerors have at all times been ready to ascribe their success to their own wisdom and prowess: but in no case have they been any thing more than the sword which God has used for the effecting of his own purposes [Note: Isaiah 10:5; Isaiah 10:15.]: and when he has accomplished by them his own designs, he not unfrequently punishes their pride and cruelty by some signal judgments. Thus he acted towards the boasting and blasphemous Sennacherib. He raised up that monarch to subdue mighty kingdoms, to lead into captivity the ten tribes of Israel, and to inflict a heavy chastisement on the two remaining tribes of Judah and Benjamin. But, when the victorious monarch arrogated to himself all the glory of his conquests, and poured contempt upon Jehovah, whose instrument he was, God “put a hook in his nose and a bridle in his jaws,” and turned him back with shame and ignominy; assuring at the same time his oppressed people, that, notwithstanding their present weakness, they should speedily be delivered from their insulting foe, and again be raised to stability and honour.
The words which we have now read are a part of the answer given from the Lord to the supplications of Hezekiah: and we shall find it not unprofitable to consider,
The promise contained in them—
[The tribes of Judah and Benjamin were reduced to the lowest state of desperation. But God had yet mercy in store for them; and promised, that he would once more establish them in peace and prosperity, so that, instead of being shut up, as now they were, they should be at liberty to return to their own possessions; and, instead of being reduced in number, they should multiply and fill the land.
This seems to be the primary meaning of the words: but they undoubtedly contain a promise of spiritual prosperity to that nation in the Apostolic age.
The terms in which the promise is expressed, are taken from the preceding verse; wherein it is declared, for their comfort, that the desolation which Sennacherib’s army had occasioned, should not issue in a famine; but that sufficient corn should spring up, from what had been spilled in the fields, to support them this year, and the year following (which was the sabbatic year); and that in the third year they should be supported by the labours of husbandry, as in former times. From thence God takes occasion to say, that the remnant which should escape the present desolations, should at a future period be a source of comfort and benefit to the whole world.
That this is the true meaning of the words, appears from similar expressions used by the Prophet Isaiah, and quoted by St. Paul in the very sense here affixed to them [Note: Compare Isa 10:21-22 with Romans 9:27.]. In preserving a remnant, it was God’s intention that they should be witnesses for him to every nation under heaven; and that by the ministration of his Gospel they should “blossom, and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit [Note: Isaiah 27:6.].” The events which took place in the Apostolic age, when the Apostles and others went forth to publish the glad tidings of salvation, precisely corresponded with this prophecy: they went from Jerusalem, and diffused the knowledge of a crucified Saviour throughout the earth.]
Let us attend to,
The instruction to be derived from it—
We may particularly learn from hence,
The interest which God takes in his Church and people—
[Not only from the time that these words were spoken, but even before the foundation of the world, God had an eye to his chosen people, to deliver them from their spiritual enemies, that they might “walk in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of their life.” On his Jewish Church he yet looks, in order to “engraff them yet again on their own olive-tree,” when the appointed period for their restoration shall arrive. And on the least and meanest of his people at this day does he still cast an eye of love and pity: he “has thoughts of love and peace towards them,” and “is not willing that one of his little ones should perish.” If enemies assault them, he considers himself as struck through them [Note: Acts 9:4.]: he feels as if the apple of his eye were touched [Note: Zechariah 2:8.]: he regards them as “his first-fruits,” which if any dared to alienate and consume, he did it at the peril of his own soul [Note: Jeremiah 2:3.].]
The efficacy of believing prayer—
[Low indeed was the state of the nation at that time: it seemed as if there was no possibility of escape for them from their conquering enemies. But behold, how speedily and effectually prayer prevailed! Isaiah lifted up his voice to God in prayer [Note: ver. 4.]; Hezekiah also spread before the Lord the letter that Rabshakeh had sent him [Note: ver. 14–19.]; and scarcely had the pious monarch finished his prayer, before the prophet was sent to him from the Lord, with assurances of immediate and complete deliverance [Note: ver. 20.]: and that very night was an angel sent from heaven to destroy a hundred and eighty-five thousand of the Assyrian army. Thus shall all God’s enemies, and ours, perish, if only we cry unto God for help. We may even now adopt the exulting language which God ordered Hezekiah to use in reference to the Assyrian monarch, “The virgin, the daughter of Israel, hath shaken her head at thee.” Only spread all your wants and difficulties before the Lord, and there is no lust, no enemy, that shall stand before you; but “Satan himself shall be bruised under your feet shortly.”
“The zeal of the Lord of Hosts is pledged to perform this” for all his believing people. You may therefore go to him and plead, “Where is thy zeal, and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies towards me [Note: Isaiah 63:15.]?” And his answer to you shall speedily arrive, “I will rejoice over you to do you good, and I will plant you in the heavenly land with my whole heart and with my whole soul [Note: Jeremiah 32:41.].” Only believe in him; and “according to your faith it shall be unto you.”]
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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on 2 Kings 19". Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Sunday after Epiphany