Scripture: 2 Kings 18-19
How many of you like to read the headlines on magazines in the grocery store?
These magazines make a lot of money – in spite of the fact that very few of them tell the truth! Some magazines sell copies with stories about Bigfoot, UFOs, and the infamous Bat Boy. They scare people with prophecies about the end of the world. They spread all sorts of stories about famous people and celebrities. And like I said, most of what they say is wrong! Some of them exaggerate. Some of them simply reprint gossip without bothering to check if what they’re printing is true. And some just make stuff up. If you have any aspirations of being famous, you need to be prepared for someone to print some ugly, untrue things about you.
King Hezekiah was one such person. When Hezekiah was king of Judah, the king of Assyria decided to conquer Judah and its capital city of Jerusalem. But the king of Assyria didn’t just roll in with his soldiers and chariots. He first attacked Judah with gossip and rumours.
Do you know what the big rumour was? He tried to make the people of Israel believe that God was not going to save them! He told the people that Hezekiah was lying when he said the Lord would save them. He bragged about how many soldiers and horses he had. He bragged that the forces of Israel were no match for him.
Why would he do this? Because he wanted Hezekiah to surrender. The king of Assyria didn’t want to go to war. He wanted Hezekiah to give up without a fight. What better way to do that than to convince the people of Judah that their king was powerless to stop them?
But Hezekiah did not listen to gossip and rumours. Hezekiah was a good king, a godly king, and he knew better than to give in to fear and gossip. Hezekiah went to the Lord in prayer. God listened to Hezekiah, and through the prophet Isaiah, he told Hezekiah the truth: Assyria would not conquer Judah. God would save Judah, and the king of Assyria, not Hezekiah, would fall.
Gossip is a powerful and destructive force. But there’s one thing more powerful than gossip – and that’s the truth. When rumours and gossip try to make you give up, when they fill you with fear, follow Hezekiah’s example and take that fear to the Lord. Ask God to reveal his truth to you, and don’t give in to gossip.
Above all else, let gossip end with you. When there’s no one left to spread gossip, there’s no more gossip.