Chapter 19 continues the story with Hezekiah’s response to the verbal abuse and physical threats from the Assyrians. All wearing sackcloth, they know they are doomed without God’s help. Hezekiah sends a team to Isaiah, heads down, they are completely humbled and ask merely that he would “pray for the remnant that still survives” (2 Kings 19:4). Isaiah’s response is assuring:
This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard — those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Listen! When he hears a certain report, I will make him want to return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword. 2 Kings 19:6-7
The king of Assyria continues his battle of words through messengers so Hezekiah does what we all need to learn from: he put the entire matter before the Lord and prayed. He asks the Lord for deliverance not for himself, not for personal glory, rather:
so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God. 2 Kings 19:19
Even today as we fight our own personal battle, I believe the Lord hears those who pray such earnest prayers. Our needs may not be so desperate as Hezekiah–he was surrounded by an army that had no issue with slaughtering every single person they met–but God hears the prayers of those who love him above all others!
Through the prophet Isaiah, the words of the Lord are strong and clear:
Because you rage against me and because your insolence has reached my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will make you return by the way you came. 2 Kings 19:28, Isaiah 37:39
Then the Lord provides a sign, a profound prophesy that we should be excited about even today:
For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. 2 Kings 19:31
The concept of the remnant is so encouraging to me as we hear and see churches dying, how Christ is removed from courthouses and schools. Slowly, it seems, those who choose to follow the Lord are being reduced to a mere remnant. But God loves his own and if we truly believe God is the Creator of all things who loves his people, we should rest assured he will prevail.
For Hezekiah, deliverance is swift: that very night “the angel of the Lord” killed 185,000 Assyrians. Sennacherib woke up surrounded by death. He decided to leave and return to Nineveh. Later, his own sons killed him while he worshiped one of his gods. Sennacherib is dead as Isaiah foretold. End of chapter 19 and the Assyrian attempts to oust the remnant of the Lord.