All sin is ultimately rooted in pride, and this is because despite the fact that people are victimized by sin (and by their own sin), the fact remains that people choose to sin. You choose to snap at your wife. You choose to discipline your children in anger. You choose to complain about your home or your family. You choose to be bitter. You choose to ignore the neighbor in need. You choose not to give generously. You choose to have another beer, you choose to look at that porn, you choose to flirt with your coworker. That choice is rebellion. That choice is treachery. That choice is pride. It says I know better, I can see all things, I have accounted for all the details, and this is right. This is true. This is what I need; this is what I deserve. But this is to pretend to be God. This is arrogance and absolute folly.
When Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, comes against Jerusalem in our sermon text this morning, he boasts of all his conquests, all his victories, and mocks Hezekiah for his faith in God. The Assyrian king lists all of the gods that have fallen already and predicts that Israel’s God will be next. There is an Assyrian King in every human heart that mocks and ridicules the power of God. Sometimes you face that mockery because you’ve failed so often in a particular area that you come to believe that you cannot withstand temptation. Sometimes you face mockery from others who straight up despise Christian morality. And sometimes you simply succumb to the Assyrian arrogance and just pretend you can get away with sin. God will not see. Or we come up with some kind of pharisaical justification for our sin: It’s not a lie; it’s just a different kind of truth. It’s not a filthy movie; it’s artistic.
But wherever your Assyrian King shows up, the answer is always the same: He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, says the Lord, for I will defend this city, to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.
You are not a victim; you are a rebel. But there is grace for every rebel who clings to the cross of Christ.