Some of the stories in my first grade children’s ministry curriculum seem kind of random. I’m not sure how they were selected. But one of these surprises has become my favorite this year.
When Hezekiah was king of Judah, Jerusalem was surrounded by the Assyrian army. They’d already wreaked havoc on surrounding nations, taken the Israelites from the Northern Kingdom into exile, and conquered the fortified cities of Judah (the Southern Kingdom). Hezekiah had already bought a little bit of time by handing over all of the gold from the temple. Now they were in dire straights. I’d encourage you to take time now to read this true story directly from II Kings 18-19.
The Assyrian king sent his army to the city wall. Hezekiah’s representatives came out to meet the Assyrians. The Assyrian field commander had a message for Hezekiah, and for all of the people of Judah who were listening in. He used every psychological weapon at his disposal. Hezekiah’s men asked the field commander to speak in Assyrian instead of Hebrew, to shield their people from his words, but the commander gloried in stirring up fear and temptation:
Guilt/Fear: Who can you trust in now that you have rebelled against the great king of Assyria? You can’t trust in Egypt. It’s a broken reed of a staff that will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it. (2 Kings 18:19-21) Judah claimed to be relying on the Lord, but they had actually went to a lot of effort to “guarantee” Egypt’s protection. This was foolish as God had delivered them from Egypt in the past. When the field commander brought this up, it could have stirred up both guilt and fear. Continue reading