2 Kings 19:32-37
One of the most incredible things about Assyria’s defeat is that the history books actually attest to the impossibility of the event. We do have extra-biblical accounts of this event from both the Assyrian and Egyptian perspectives; which when combined, will attest to the likeliness of the biblical narrative. Such a powerful and numerous army was defeated without anyone lifting an arm and in a single night (19:33-36). And God’s punishment for Sennacherib’s insolence apparently doesn’t end there, as 20 years down in history (681BC), he would be assassinated by two of his eldest sons (19:37), thus ending his proud reign in a shameful manner.
Although he came prepared; with his great army at his beck and call, the Lord assured Hezekiah that he (Sennacherib) will not enter this city or shoot an arrow here. He will not come before it with shield or build a siege ramp against it. By the way that he came he will return, He will not enter this city. "I will defend this city and save it, for My sake and for the sake of David my servant” (19:32-34). It's like God is saying to Judah, “Take a seat, and witness My work.”
So that None can Boast. God then defeated Assyria through His angel, who killed 185,000 soldiers in the Assyrian camp within one night; leaving Sennacherib defeated before he began to fight. His insolence is met with God’s showcase of might. God would not allow Judah even to lift an arm to defeat the enemies so that they would know for sure that this superpower was defeated not by their contribution; so that they could not boast. And is this not how God works for us also? “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Judah was commanded to gloat (19:21). But this was not a self-confident gloating because of one’s assurance of his own powers. It was a boasting of God’s power and His ability to save. And we, too, are allowed only this kind of boasting: We “serve God by His Spirit; we boast in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3).
Vindication of the Faithful. How would such a story be of relevance to us? Well, for one, we are reminded today of how God allows trials to happen to His elect so that we could witness His faithfulness. And despite the fact that our commitment to live righteously might invite mockery and scorn at this present time; we know for certain that God has foreordained our victory in Christ from days of old. In such an understanding, we are “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37). Such a vision and hope should inspire us to endure even the harshest persecution. The faithful will be vindicated; and one day we will be able to gloat because of our faith in Christ. Soli Deo Gloria!