Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I have heard your prayer concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria. This is the word that the LORD has spoken against him:
“‘The Virgin Daughter of Zion
despises you and mocks you.
The Daughter of Jerusalem
tosses her head as you flee.
Who is it you have insulted and blasphemed?
Against whom have you raised your voice
and lifted your eyes in pride?
Against the Holy One of Israel!
By your messengers
you have heaped insults on the Lord.
And you have said,
“With my many chariots
I have ascended the heights of the mountains,
the utmost heights of Lebanon.
I have cut down its tallest cedars,
the choicest of its pines.
I have reached its remotest parts,
the finest of its forests.
I have dug wells in foreign lands
and drunk the water there.
With the soles of my feet
I have dried up all the streams of Egypt.” (2 Kings 19:20-24)
Why so down cast, oh my soul? Hezekiah was trapped in his city, besieged by a superior force. Hezekiah could see no hope; defeat seemed inevitable, both because he could count the number of forces against him and because he knew what Sennacherib had already done. In his march south, the Assyrian army had defeated every city, every nation that he had gone to war against. When Sennacherib had sent his message demanding surrender and boasting of his might, his boast was not an empty one. It was based on firm, empirical evidence. He had a stellar resume, an impeccable and flawless track record. Hezekiah had no reason, humanly speaking, to hope.
But Hezekiah had prayed to God anyway, spreading the insulting letter he had received from Sennacherib out on the altar to show it to God. So God took a look and told him not to worry. In fact, God’s response to Sennacherib’s arrogant letter was arrogance doubled, laughing and mocking at the enemy. Sennacherib was, in fact, doomed.
God is never afraid; so it’s a wonder that we ever are.