II Chronicles 32-33
We get the Sennacherib attack from a different perspective.
The Assyrian army has overtaken several nations in the area, and they surround Judah. The first thing Hezekiah does is cut off water to the surrounding troops. He has some natural options in place for the defense of his country. But his primary hope is in God, as he proclaims to the people.
Gathered around the square, the citizens hear the king’s message. “Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria, not because of all the multitude which is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one 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.”(32:7-8).
As we saw in II Kings 18, Sennacherib’s men try to turn Hezekiah’s people against him by shouting taunts in Hebrew. But the Jews stand firm, and God sends an angel to wipe out the armies. Then upon his shameful return to his land, Sennacherib is killed by his own children.
So Hezekiah’s reign finishes with great pomp, riches , and success.
Now his son Manasseh is another story. Manasseh starts out rebuilding all of the altars, and worshiping other gods. He “passes his sons through the fire,” engages in witchcraft and sorcery, and generally “does mush evil” in the sight of the Lord. “Thus Manasseh misled the sons of Judah to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the sons of Israel.” (33:9) They paid no attention to the Lord.
The king of Assyria threatens again, and Manasseh is carried off to Babylon. But Manasseh prays to the One true God and is delivered back to Judah.
Manasseh has a turnaround. He now believes in God, and starts turning his people back to him. We have seen kings turning away from God in their old age, but this is different. We see someone turning to Him. And we see that God forgives and blesses this king. The nation is saved from destruction because of God’s forgiveness.
This forgiveness is one of the attributes of our Father which has always been there. It was there for Jacob, for David, for Manasseh, and for you. Whatever you have done, whatever you have said, whatever you have been a part of, the Lord is ready to forgive you and set you on a new path.
Your humility is the key. You have to repent and turn around. But if you do that, God is always ready to forgive you and restore you.
God’s perfect Lamb is on trial. The Romans can find nothing wrong with Him. (Of course not, since he is a perfect Man).
Because of their ambition, greed, and jealousy, the priests want Him killed, but they have to manipulate to have their job done. They don’t have the authority to put Him to death.
The Romans have a custom of releasing one prisoner from execution in honor of the Jewish Passover. So the priests induce the crowds to ask for Barabbas to be released in the place of Jesus.
These Jewish leaders (and Satan who is stirring them up) think that they are winning, but God is the One who wins. He has planned from the beginning to have His Lamb slain by the High Priest at Passover time. Through the centuries, as the priests have slain the Passover lambs, they have been pointing to this day: the day when the final, perfect Lamb would be slain.
Make no mistake about it, when God has a plan, He wins – every time. Now you and I have the right given to us by Him not to be in on the plan, but if we won’t be a part of it, He will find someone who will.
God’s overall plan will be done. It was true on this Passover, and it’s true today.