Our inner “Sennacherib”

Even if you are not familiar with stories in the Old Testament, this one has profound implications.  I like to use biblical stories because I enjoy seeing how ideas of long ago are still being told today in different ways. I also do so because most modern people read the bible and are like “WTF?”, because the nuggets are obscured by the fact that the biblical worldview seems all but extinct in our lives. But consider this. Here’s the quick backstory.

Hezekiah was a king of Judah who was a great leader by comparison to most of the flunkies around him. He wasn’t perfect, but he really tried to get things on track and bring their people back to focusing on God (modern people might say focusing on the right things). He wasn’t a complete stickler for the rules but was going after sincerity of peoples heart (2 Chronicles 30:19-20), and it really worked out well for the people.

Along comes the king of Assyria in chapter 32. He was the massive power of the day. The superstructure. He had social power, economic power, military power, he was a real force.  Also, his plan is to take out Judah along with Hezekiah.

Now think of this in terms of modern mindsets in business, politics, sports, or any cultural paradigm. Even today, we always assume the bigger the entity the more correct they must be. The more cultural power they have, the less any individual has.

So the Sennacherib (king of Assyria) invades and finds that Hezekiah has dammed up all the water, which was like trying to ward off a modern military strike with an umbrella.

Sennacherib asks Hezekiah: “ON WHAT ARE YOU TRUSTING?”

When all the big forces seem to be standing in our way, our inner Sennacherib comes out and asks the same question, but it sounds more like this:

  • “Do you know how hard it will be to break into the music industry?”
  • “Do you really think you have what it takes to compete in sports like the pros?”
  • “Haven’t you learned your lesson that your businesses will never get off the ground?”
  • “You may as well just quit dreaming and park your butt in some cubicle for the next 30 years.”

Some people call these defeater beliefs.

Others call them our inner critics.

I’m calling them the inner Sennacherib.

The point is that the force you are depending upon is called hope. Most religious people call this God. Unbelievers define it differently but recognize its power just the same. As long as you have hope, you can go one more step. The moment its gone, so are all your dreams, all that is left is despair.

In the end Hezekiah sends Sennacherib home with his face hung in shame (v21). Why?

The power of God is with the humble and the sincere, not the prideful and those who are arrogantly displaying power. This is a life principle that is found in nearly every world religion and is a part of most Hollywood movies. It’s the underdog story that captures the hearts of all people. It’s the truth. It’s God’s voice in the world.

You don’t have to call yourself a Christian or Jew to see this, to experience this, or to acknowledge this reality. Like mathematics, it just is.

Everyday you will have an inner Sennacherib who will criticize you, try and keep you small, stuck, or discouraged. Your odds against the billions on earth seem petty, but that is part of the deception. Whatever you do, DON’T BELIEVE HIM! It’s a lie, to keep you in many prisons.  See them all not as competition, but as people whom you can serve with your unique gifts, and Sennacherib will die.

God’s voice says to hope and not quit. Following it, will liberate you and you will be among the many Hezekiahs of the world who have sent their prideful enemies home in shame.