In Whom Do You Trust?
Rev. Regina Davis-Sowers, PhD
2 Chronicles 32
It is a question that we must all face at some point in our lives, for troubles will come. There is no one rich enough, powerful enough, young enough, or slick enough to avoid the trials and troubles of this life. Times of hardship come, bringing with them fear and uncertainty, and these are the times when we discover who we can really trust to answer when we call for help. In 2 Chronicles 32, the story of King Hezekiah and the troubles he faced due to the relentlessness of King Sennacherib of Assyria teaches us that no matter how big troubles may seem, it is God, the maker of the heavens and the earth, in whom we must place our full trust. Let me give some background on King Hezekiah.
Hezekiah became king at age 25, after the death of his father, King Ahaz, who was one of the most wicked of leaders, doing what was evil in the sight of God. Ahaz’s utter disregard and disrespect for God caused the Lord’s anger to fall on Judah and Jerusalem. Because Ahaz had placed his trust in times of trouble in the surrounding countries, and not in God, Judah had lost mightily in wars.
But, when Hezekiah succeeded him, he did what was right in God’s sight. Similar to his ancestor, King David, Hezekiah made a covenant with the Lord, to turn God’s fierce anger away from his people. Hezekiah reversed all that his father had done, beginning with the rededication of the Temple, the purification of the priests and Levites, and reestablishing the festivals that were required by Mosaic law. Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced because of God’s mercy and grace toward them.
The Scriptures do not tell us how a young man raised in such an ungodly home came to know God and trust in Him, but, somehow, Hezekiah knew that living right in the sight of God was the correct way to live. Maybe, someone in his past had taught him that God’s hand is on those who obey his commands. He understood that God was present in his life and in the lives of his people, and if they would just trust in Him in all the areas of their lives, God would be there when they called on Him. 2 Chronicles 31:21 states, “In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow God’s laws and commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result, he was very successful.”
But success does not mean that troubles will not come, even, or especially, for God’s people. Too many of God’s people today believe that believing in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, somehow protects them from suffering and pain or testing in this world. But that simply is not true, for John 16:33 reminds us that we will have trials and tribulations in this life, but we can still be cheerful, for Jesus has overcome the world. So, if you became a Christian to avoid troubles, then you are in for a rude awakening!
Even though he was a king with riches and honor, a time came when King Hezekiah found himself in a world of troubles. Having placed his faith in God, and not in human beings, King Hezekiah stopped paying tribute to King Sennacherib of Assyria, a much bigger and stronger country with a massive army. An angry Sennacherib conquered Judah, and then chose to attack and destroy Jerusalem, even though Hezekiah had paid him tribute to prevent the destruction of Jerusalem. In his fear, Hezekiah backtracked and tried to make a deal with an ungodly man.
Hezekiah discovered the hard way that if you say that you are putting your trust in God, then wait on God to act. Even today, when troubles seem so huge, we often try everything we can to fix the situation, calling on friends and experts for advice before we stop and call on God. But, we cannot take matters into our own hands, because neither our friends nor any experts have the power that God has to change circumstances. Proverbs 3:5-6 tell us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do and he will show you what path to take.”
King Hezekiah knew that God was able to help him, for in 2 Chronicles 32: 6-8 he encouraged his people with these words: “Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side! He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!” Of course, the kings of Assyria, including Sennacherib, had been successful in destroying every nation they had encountered. They were so successful and full of pride that they did not fear taunting and mocking Hezekiah’s God. Sennacherib even sent letters advising God’s people to not let Hezekiah deceive them into thinking their God would save them when no other gods had been powerful enough to stop them.
But, when Hezekiah read the letter and heard Sennacherib’s message, he and the leaders cried out in prayer to God in Heaven. In 2 Kings 19: 15-19, Hezekiah prayed to God. Part of what Hezekiah said to God was: “It is true, LORD, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations. And they have thrown the gods of these other nations into the fire and burned them. But, of course, the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all, only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands. Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you, alone, O LORD, are God.
God responded to Hezekiah’s request, and He promised that the Assyrian armies would not enter Jerusalem, and not one arrow would be shot. Indeed, in verses 21-22, we learn that the LORD sent an angel who destroyed the Assyrian army with all of its commanders and officers, forcing Sennacherib to return home in disgrace. And when he entered the temple of his god, some of his sons killed him. Just as Hezekiah believed, the LORD rescued him and his people.
So, we are reminded today that we need to know in whom we can trust or who to call in times of trouble. By trust, I mean whom or what do you believe has the power, ability, and willingness to help you when troubles come. We cannot place out trust in our jobs, or in our bank accounts, or in our BFF (best friend forever), or in our spouses or significant others, or even in our religious leaders. Trusting in these things or people would be just like trusting in idols. First Samuel 12:21 tells us not to go back to worshiping idols that cannot help or rescue you—they are totally useless.
I am a living witness that God hears and answers prayers. I have often tried to fix problems myself, not wanting to bother God with what I thought of as trivial things. I thought He had more important situations to deal with than take care of things for me. But, when I was a victim of domestic violence, I knew I had a problem I could not solve.
One night, I found the hands of someone I thought loved me around my neck, choking the life from me. I started to feel as though I was falling into a black tunnel. I called out to God, saying, “Lord, don’t let me die like a dog in the street.” God heard my cry, and my eyes came open, I looked the guy in the eyes, and I told him to go ahead and kill me because I would rather be dead than live with him. He let go of me, saying that he wouldn’t give me the satisfaction of dying. As we were going home, he said that he was going to beat me every day until I learned to respect him. When we arrived home, he went to sleep, and I, with blood still on me, reached into his pockets and took $20, called a taxi, went to the Greyhound bus station, and took the first bus leaving to Atlanta, where I ultimately found a job and was successful. I never experienced that kind of violence again.
I did not call on my mother, because I knew she could not help me. I did not depend on one of the many people standing by and watching, because they ultimately could not help me. I put my trust in God, because He had proven himself faithful to rescue me once before. I can say like David writes in Psalm 18:46-49: “The LORD lives! Praise to my Rock! May the God of my salvation be exalted! He is the God who pays back those who harm me; he subdues the nations under me and rescues me from my enemies. You hold me safe beyond the reach of my enemies; you save me from violent men. For this, O LORD, I will praise you among the nations; I will sing praises to your name.”
Also, do not put your trust in politicians or anyone else in these times of divisiveness and trials for our nation. You need someone more powerful than any politicians to call on and trust in when times get hard in your lives. Psalm 146:3-5 reminds us, “Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. When they breathe their last, they return to the earth, and all their plans die with them. But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the LORD their God.”
Whatever the situations in your life today, follow the example of King Hezekiah. First, put aside your pride and cry out to the one who will never leave you or forsake you. Second, when new trials and tribulations come, remember all the times God has come to your rescue or you have seen Him rescue others, and call on Him again. There is no limit to the times you can call on God for help, and no problem is too trivial to take to Him. Third, human beings will fail you, mainly because they lack the glorious power of God. So, if someone asks you today in whom do you trust, tell them Jesus Christ, your Savior and Lord, Immanuel, which means God is with us. Relate to them 1 Chronicles 29:11: Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O LORD, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. May God bless you mightily and amazingly today!