On test day when you were in school, did you long for the teacher to speed up her instructions and get quiet quickly so you would have more time to concentrate on all the test questions? As a former student, I understood that longing in my students, but as a teacher I wanted my students to be fully prepared to correctly answer every question. After all, the test designer had the answer key.
When faced with trouble it’s easy to wonder why God suddenly becomes quiet. You stayed close to Him through prayer and His Word, basked in His loving presence, felt Him guiding your every step, and enjoyed great victories. You heard His voice in every thought and you could eagerly recount all the ways you’d seen His hand at work in your life. But now, as one trial stacks on top of another, you find yourself straining to hear even a whisper. All you hear is crickets.
In 2 Chronicles 30-32, we read about a king who led the people of Judah to a great revival. King Hezekiah turned an idolatrous people who had forgotten God’s goodness into a nation who honored and rejoiced in the presence of God. But, even after honoring God so mightily, trouble still came. The sound of rejoicing from the lips of God’s faithful people enticed Satan to bear down at full throttle. The powerful King Sennacherib of Assyria placed Jerusalem under siege. However, Hezekiah stood tall against the satanic ruler with four actions we can also use against the attacks of Satan:
1) Hezekiah recognized his weaknesses, resisted being overpowered, and rebuilt the entire broken-down wall.
“Submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you… Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (James 4:7,10)
2) He heightened the towers and the other outside wall in order to stand guard.
“Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
3) He repaired the supporting terraces of Jerusalem.
“And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
4) He prepared for battle by making an abundance of weapons and shields.
“Take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.” (Ephesians 6:13)
Sennacherib, not to be outdone, then commissioned one of his minions to deliver a flurry of lies to Hezekiah and the people of Judah. He bullied them by saying,“Don’t believe [Hezekiah], for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to rescue his people from my power or the power of my fathers. How much less will your God rescue you from my power!” (2 Chronicles 32:15)
God saw Judah’s willingness to resist those lies and stand up to the evil king. He saw their unwavering trust in His ability to deliver them. So, “the Lord sent an angel who annihilated every valiant warrior, leader, and commander in the camp of the king of Assyria.” (2 Chron. 32:21)
All of Judah once again rejoiced in the Lord, and Hezekiah prospered greatly in riches and glory – all given to him by God, the great teacher. Hezekiah had been a good student. He arrived to class prepared and eager to learn. He listened to the Teacher, took good notes, and participated in all the learning activities. He watched the Teacher’s every move hoping to become more like Him. Then came time for the test, and the Teacher got quiet. Instruction time was over.
Hezekiah’s test wasn’t what he expected. In fact, he didn’t even realize the test had begun until it was too late. God didn’t want to find out what was in his head – He wanted to reveal the contents of his heart. He gave him a pride test, and Hezekiah scored a big fat zero. (You can read about his test in detail in 2 Kings 20:12-19.)
After winning a great faith victory, don’t be surprised if God suddenly gets quiet. Good teachers are quiet during the test. Good teachers also design tests that stretch your abilities. The more you’ve allowed God to prepare you, the more desperate Satan will become. He’ll reach back in his quiver for arrows that worked long ago. If those don’t find their mark, he’ll take aim with new and improved ones. Don’t panic. This is only a test. Resist the devil. Guard your heart. Accept help. And run straight toward the battle with all your armor on!
Before you know it, you’ll hear the whispers of God again as He prepares the much stronger version of you for the next victory! So gather up all those crickets you’ve been hearing, shew them into Satan’s bedroom, and run!