Victory is sweet. Whether it’s your son’s football game, your favorite team, making it a week with no failures on a diet plan, paying off nagging debt, closing a business deal—success brings a tremendous joy and sense of fulfillment.
The amount of joy is directly related to the size of he enemy and the scope of the conflict. A small victory is satisfying, but when a victory is won that dramatically affects your life and the lives of those you are responsible for, it is overwhelming.
How do we win the battle over our greatest enemy? What do we do when faced with opposition from Satan and his minions? How do we defeat those demons?
Hezekiah had no small problem. Surrounded by an imposing army of 185,000 Assyrians who had a track record of victories, he was scared. The enemy’s messenger had used every trick in the book to bring them down and seek to get Hezekiah to roll over and surrender before the battle even began. So, what did Hezekiah do? And, in doing, give us a clear path for spiritual victory EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES?
“As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the Lord. 2 And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz…Isaiah said to them, “Say to your master, ‘Thus says the Lord: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. 7 Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.’” (2 Kings 19:1-7)
The enemy’s main tactic is to create fear and doubt in our mind and heart. There is one primary remedy for this: God’s Word. You can get counsel from others (which is good if they’re counselors who will give you God’s Word), but there is absolutely no substitute for going to God’s Word and hearing from Him directly. The Word is God’s voice to you and renews and reconfigures what you’re thinking and feeling (your mind and heart, which is where the battle exists). “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” When you face a battle, the first line of defense is to get God’s perspective—His promises about the situation—and plant your feet IN FAITH on what He has said.
Almost immediately after Hezekiah had received God’s promise about the situation, the enemy came again with another taunt. Remember: he is relentless. He will come through the back door, side door, any point of access he can find. This is why you must be constantly watchful. Hezekiah had heard God’s Word, but the enemy’s continued intimidation caused him to wonder. What did he do? He went to prayer.
“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. And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord…” (2 Kings 1:14-15)
I love the response of the Father to Hezekiah’s fervent petition. “Because you have prayed to Me about Sennacherib, king of Assyria, I have heard you.” (2 Kings 19:20). There are some things God doesn’t plan to do any other way than through our prayers. God wanted Hezekiah. He wanted his king to experience HIM and to “know Him” as Paul describes in Philippians 3. We draw near, we feel His heartbeat, He communes with us, through prayer. God longs for us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and He allows the enemy’s attacks to push us towards that end, knowing full well that He has victory for us if we will operate in His realm.
Battles bring us to Christ, which is where we should have been all along. When you are facing an enemy, you must stay close in constant prayer. Prayer is what makes you aware of the enemy as your spiritual senses are heightened. Prayer is what brings God into the equation and leads to certain victory. (Notice that in the great battle instructions in Ephesians 6, Paul tells us to put on the armor and stand, but his main instruction is simple in battle array: PRAY).
It seems that there should be some greater formula. But Hezekiah discovered in his life exactly what you need to see in yours: victory is in the LORD. He is the One—the only One—who can defeat the enemy. His methods for us are to do that which bring us into dependency on Him through the Word of God and prayer. The end result of a victory that is won by God through these means is that He alone receives the glory.
The results for Hezekiah? After two chapters of attack by the enemy and then the process of connection through God’s word and prayer, the Bible records this paragraph almost as a P.S.
“And that night the angel of the Lord went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went home…” (2 Kings 19:35-36) with his tail between his legs! (I added that last part, but it’s true!)
God did exactly what He promised. He ALWAYS defeats our enemies when we trust Him.
(copyright 2011, Bill Elliff)
2ProphetU is an online magazine/website, started by Warren Wiersbe and Michael Catt, to build up the church, seek revival, and encourage pastors.