I can't stand a bully. There's just something about a person picking on someone weaker that makes my blood boil. People were not created to walk on one another and stir up trouble amongst themselves. I guess my aversion to bullying is why I find such great satisfaction in the bully being set straight, like the situation that takes place in II Chronicles 32.
Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, was as mean as they come, and he was determined to destroy Judah. It wouldn't be his first conquest. According to his personal proclamation, he had invaded and annihilated many. Judah was just another puny land to be conquered.
But when Hezekiah, the king of Judah, heard of Sennacherib's plans, he fortified the city and gave the people hope by assuring them God was on their side and would protect them from the enemy. And we know his pep talk worked because the people relaxed and trusted in God for their salvation. That is, until the enemy started running his mouth.
Thus saith Sennacherib king of Assyria, Whereon do ye trust, that ye abide in the siege in Jerusalem? Doth not Hezekiah persuade you to give over yourselves to die by famine and by thirst, saying, The Lord our God shall deliver us out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Hath not the same Hezekiah taken away his high places and his altars, and commanded Judah and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall worship before one altar, and burn incense upon it? Know ye not what I and my fathers have done unto all the people of other lands? were the gods of the nations of those lands any ways able to deliver their lands out of mine hand? Who was there among all the gods of those nations that my fathers utterly destroyed, that could deliver his people out of mine hand, that your God should be able to deliver you out of mine hand? Now therefore let not Hezekiah deceive you, nor persuade you on this manner, neither yet believe him: for no god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people out of mine hand, and out of the hand of my fathers: how much less shall your God deliver you out of mine hand? (vs.10-15)
See what I mean? A bully through and through. Not to mention he had an ego the size of the city itself. Listen to this guy. "Don't you know what we've done to other lands? Their gods weren't able to save them. What makes you think your God will save you? You're dirt. You're scum. You're weak. Don't hold onto false hope. Your God can't help you any more than those other gods helped their people. You're done for!"
Hezekiah's response was to pray, which is an admirable response to such a threat. However, I do wish he would have also given a little speech of his own. I'd love to see Hezekiah stand up to King Bully and say, "Ah, but you see, you haven't met my God. My God isn't like these other gods who have no eyes to see or ears to hear. My God is mighty. My God is always present. He never leaves or forsakes me, and He has promised to protect me from fiends like you. So, if I were you, I'd take your army and run back home. We may be weak, but I assure you, my God is not!"
Maybe I've watched too many movies, but I like the idea of a showdown like that. However, Hezekiah didn't need to tell the enemy anything. God spoke loud and clear, and the Assyrians soon learned there was something different about Judah's God.
And the Lord sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he was come into the house of his god, they that came forth of his own bowels slew him there with the sword. (vs. 21)
You were saying, Sennacherib? What was it that you were going to do? Oh, yeah, you were going to prove that Judah's God was like all the rest. Hmm, how did that work for you? Well, seeing how an angel destroyed his army and his own sons killed him (in the house of his god no less), I'm guessing that wasn't exactly what the king had in mind. Talk about poetic justice! Not only did the one true God prove that He could and would protect His children, but he also confirmed to Assyria that their god wasn't even able to save their king from assassination and apparently could not be trusted. I think it's safe to say God doesn't like bullies either.
Perhaps you're facing a bully in your life. Maybe it's someone who is always putting you down, telling you you're not good enough. It could be that the bully has no physical form or even that the guilty culprit is yourself. Whatever the case, is there something within you that leaves you feeling incapable, insufficient and hopeless? Is there an inner voice telling you, "Don't cling to false hope. You'll never get out of here. The situation is inescapable. Not even your God can help you now."? If so, I urge you to remember this account of Judah and Assyria. Respond to that accusatory voice in confidence, "Ah, but you haven't met my God!" And spend some time reminding yourself (and your accuser) precisely who your God is and what He's capable of. Then allow God to fight the battle and destroy the enemy. There is no room for bullies in the life of a Christian.
God is in you. God is with you. God is for you. Cling to those truths today no matter what the enemy may say. Bullies seldom tell the truth, but God can always be trusted. Just ask Hezekiah.