In today’s First Reading the king of Assyria, Sennacherib, emboldened by his victories, makes the mistake of not just taunting and calling out King Hezekiah of Judah, but the Lord himself. As we saw yesterday, the Assyrians had completely conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel and now they had invaded the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
Any general will tell you that expanding your war is foolish. Sennacherib declared war on the Lord, obviously to demoralize Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem. Unlike the Northern Kingdom, King Hezekiah took it to the Lord and entrusted his kingdom to the one who could save it and would save it, because it was the Lord’s Kingdom, and Hezekiah was simply its steward. Just as the prophet Isaiah brought a word of encouragement to Hezekiah, the Lord sent a message to Sennacherib by striking down a huge portion of his army and forcing his retreat.
The moral of this story is that if you wage war on the Lord, you will lose. If you ally yourself with him, no matter how dire the odds, he will defend you. Entrust yourself to him. He gave you life itself, and he will defend and bless it if you let him.
Readings: 2 Kings 19:9b–11, 14–21, 31–35a, 36; Psalm 48:2–4, 10–11; Matthew 7:6, 12–14. See also 12th Week in Ordinary Time, Tuesday.