6 He appointed military officers over the people and assembled them before him in the square at the city gate and encouraged them with these words: 7 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. 8 With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.
In the beginning of the chapter, Sennacherib, king of Assyria, had invaded Judah and was intending to conquer Jerusalem as well. Hezekiah made decisions with his military advisors to reinforce the city walls and divert sources of water around the area so the Assyrians would have a difficult time finding water for their troops. Hezekiah made sure his troops were armed and ready in case of attack.
But Hezekiah did something even better. He encouraged the people of Jerusalem to find their strength in God. We may delude ourselves in thinking that if we are faithful, trials and problems won’t come our way, but that’s not true. Hezekiah was faithful, but he understood that life carries no guarantees of smooth sailing.
Hezekiah wanted to be sure the people of Jerusalem were prepared to make a good defense, but they could not depend solely on walls and towers and shields and a good water supply. They need to depend on the strength of God. God’s power is beyond our own. God offers us strength in the face of danger, and a calm assurance that we are never left alone with no resources. We can forget in the midst of a crisis that God is with us.
We can allow fear and worry to invade and overwhelm us. But what does Jesus say? From Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Lord, I give to you whatever is burdens me today, whatever challenge before me that I cannot face on my own. Remind me again that you are beside me, your footprints are evidence that you carry me when I cannot stand. Let me praise you and find comfort in you today and always, in Christ’s name. Amen.