This week I want to look at the following phrase. God can’t. There are a few different levels to what I want to look at this week but starting out we’re going to visit Hezekiah one more time. You’re probably sick of hearing about this Old Testament king of Judah by now, but as you can see, God really showed me a lot of amazing things when I was studying about Hezekiah.
I’m going to do something interesting today as we look at an event that happened in Judah while Hezekiah was king. We’re going to bounce between the book of 2 Chronicles and the book of 2 Kings, as both books touch upon this event.
You can read this story in 2 Kings chapter 19 and 2 Chronicles chapter 32, but I’m going to break it down for you here. Sennacherib, which is probably one of the top 10 weirdest Bible names, was the king of Assyria, and he’s getting ready to attack Judah. Hezekiah was a king full of faith, and so he assures his people that it’s all going to be okay. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’re going to be uplifted when you see the first few words of what Hezekiah told his people.
2 Chronicles 32:7-8 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him. 8 With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people took confidence from the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.
Hezekiah and his people knew who they fought for and who they stood for and who stood with them (God), so they’re all good at this point. This is when Sennacherib takes it up a notch. He’s not just going to fight against them with swords and bows, he goes into some deeper warfare. He sends his servants and messengers to Jerusalem to taunt the people of Judah, saying he knows that Hezekiah is promising God’s gonna help out, but that he sees it going a different way.
2 Chronicles 32:13-15 Do you not know what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of other lands? Were the gods of the nations of those lands at all able to deliver their lands out of my hand? 14 Who among all the gods of those nations that my fathers devoted to destruction was able to deliver his people from my hand, that your God should be able to deliver you from my hand?15 Now, therefore, do not let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you in this fashion, and do not believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to deliver his people from my hand or from the hand of my fathers. How much less will your God deliver you out of my hand!’”
This was a few thousand years ago and it still makes me a little mad to read it. In a nutshell, Sennacherib said this. YOUR GOD CAN’T HELP YOU.
I just feel the Holy Spirit telling me that we need to stop right here and examine those two words. GOD CAN’T. Someone reading this feels like there’s something in their lives that God can’t help with. Maybe God can’t forgive you because you’ve seen and done too much. Maybe God can’t break that addiction that’s had its claws in you for years or even decades now. Maybe you think God can’t love you because you’re not deserving of his love. Maybe you think God can’t rescue you out of an impossible situation. I don’t know your specifics, but I do know this. If there’s even a tiny bit of God can’t in your life or in the life of someone you know, I want to urge you to make sure you read not only today’s blog but also tomorrow’s. Pay attention and see what happens when people start saying that GOD CAN’T.
I’m going to swap backwards in the Bible a little bit and go to where the book of 2 Kings talked about this event, because it has a detail that I love that’s not in the 2 Chronicles account. All of the servants and messengers of Sennacherib have come with their blasphemous message, and Hezekiah takes the actual written letter from them. You’re hearing these people say these awful things about your God, belittling your faith, blaspheming the Lord, and then you have it in front of you in writing. Look what Hezekiah did with the letter.
2 Kings 19:14 Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord.
This is so incredibly fascinating to me. He took this blasphemous, evil letter, marched it straight into church, spreads it out, then points at it and says “look at what they’re saying about you, God.” I’m fascinated by that! Because look, God already knew what the letter said. Hezekiah knew that God was all knowing, he knew that he wasn’t revealing some unknown information to the Lord. Yet he saw fit to bring the letter into the house of the Lord, and not only bring it in there, but he opens it up and spreads it out before the Lord. Then he proceeds to do what any smart person does when faced with a tough situation. He prayed. Look at the closing line of his prayer.
2 Kings 19:19 So now, O Lord our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Lord, are God alone.”
In closing for today, I want to just encourage you to find a way to make that prayer a part of your life. One of the most powerful prayers I’ve come into contact with is the prayer that God will be glorified in a situation. If you notice, Hezekiah didn’t say “save us so that we might have peace” and he didn’t say “save us so that we might live longer” and he didn’t say “save us so that we might go play ultimate frisbee with our friends.” Hezekiah prayed that God would save them so that all the kingdoms of the earth would know that God was the one true God. He prayed that God would save them not for the glory of Judah, not for the glory of Hezekiah, but for the glory of God. Let me tell you, I’ve seen a 6 year long disease disappear because of that prayer, I’ve seen a car be given to me over that prayer, I’ve seen a broken down vehicle roar to life over that prayer. If I’m sick, God I pray you find a way to be glorified in the situation. If I’m in distress, God I pray that you find a way to be glorified in the situation. Enough about us, turn it back to God. Make it about His glory and then sit back and smile as he does something that blows your mind.
Be sure to come back tomorrow, as we look at what happened next as Sennacherib mocked the people of Jerusalem and said that God can’t.
PRAYER AND CLOSING
Father God, I first want to pray for whoever it was that you were speaking to as I wrote this blog. You were all over me as I wrote, telling me to address them directly, and so right now I lift them up to you in prayer. There’s a “God can’t” in someone’s life right now, and God, I pray and say that today is the day they come to understand that God can, will, and does. Lord, let them see your power, let them experience your love on a new level. You’re the God that does not know the word impossible, and I ask that you please put that on display for whatever “God can’t” situation people might be facing in their lives. And Lord, I don’t want you to do it for my glory, I ask that you do it for your glory. Be glorified by this action, Lord, bring people to their knees in praise as they see your goodness and your power. I pray a new anthem into our hearts God, a new purpose, FOR YOUR GLORY. I ask that those three words become central in our lives, that every move we make, every decision, every action, we do them for your glory. You are deserving of all glory, honor, and praise, and I thank you for this recounting of what happened in Judah. I can only imagine what it must’ve been like for you, God, to hear this king of Assyria taunting your people and taunting you. God can’t help you, he said. hahaha. I love you God, and I’m so glad that I’m with you. I’m so glad that I’m not deceived into being against you, because as I’m going to write about tomorrow, you don’t exactly sit idly by when someone mocks you and your power. But Lord, right now I pray for the mockers, I pray for the modern day enemies of God. I don’t want to see people suffer an eternal punishment, Lord, I want to see them accept the glorious gift of salvation that you have offered to every one of us. I pray right now for those who mock believers, for those who stand opposed to you, God. I pray that their anger and hatred are met with peace and love, and that they come to understand who you are and repent of their sins and accept Jesus as their savior. Save the worst of the worst, God, for your glory. Turn them into the best of the best. Thank you for all that you do in our lives, thank you for the endless love that you pour out onto us. In the precious name of Jesus I pray, amen.
I love you guys. Another week is now underway, and I encourage you to make this a week dedicated to the glory of God. Let your anthem this week be FOR YOUR GLORY. Let’s be always mindful of our movements, words, and deeds, let us be people who honor God. He loves each and every one of you!