Sometimes, It's Best to Ignore the Squeaky Wheel
Read: 2 Kings 18:1-38
Years ago, we were at the mall with a couple we knew when we heard a loud scream. It wasn't the cry of injury or a wail due to some other kind of deprivation. No, it was a little guy who came up to his father's knees, and he was crying loudly about something he really believed he had to have. He even pounded on his dad's leg to make his point more succinctly. However, his little tantrum had no effect on his calm daddy who simply proceeded to check out without giving in to his demands. Guess what? When we went to a different location the same father and son were going through the same scenario with the same results. Sometimes, it is necessary to continue to ignore the squeaky wheel.
In 2 Kings 18:1-38, we are introduced to a squeaky wheel far more dangerous than a little one screaming out his desires. It is here that we are introduced to the enemy of both Israel and the Lord God. The Assyrians who have come against King Hezekiah and his people were fierce and wicked brutal followers of false gods. In the first part of 2 Kings 18, we read about Samaria's being conquered by this enemy, and they were advancing against Jerusalem. At first, King Hezekiah gave away silver and gold to appease the Assyrian king. He even bowed in his heart to them, saying that he had done wrong by not paying tribute to this wicked man. The two Southern tribes which Hezekiah ruled truly had a strong enemy in Assyria, and for a time, Hezekiah and his people forgot that though Assyria had indeed won many victories, Israel served a God Whose greatness was without measure. They gave in to the threats and the noise made by the squeaky wheel. Was the Assyrian king content to leave Hezekiah and his people alone after the king's acquiescence? No, he came with a huge army to harass and conquer God's people. Finally, Hezekiah took a stand. It was time to ignore the squeaky wheel.
Oh, the words spoken by the Assyrian king's chief of staff must have sounded so daunting. How he boasted that Judah, the two Southern tribes, could not count on Egypt for any help. That country would be useless against the Assyrians. He mocked at Judah's desire to trust The Living God, saying that Hezekiah had insulted Him by tearing down His altars. That was a lie, but it was spoken as if it were true. He boasted that other gods had already been defeated by the Assyrians and that Judah's God was no different. Another lie, but once again, it was spoken as if it were true. All of these brazen words contained grains of truth mixed with lies. They were spoken in the language that the people could understand. The Assyrians' goal was intimidation. The chief of staff even made false promises, telling the people that they would be coddled and taken away to a lovely land where they would live with plenty and in peace. They merely had to stop trusting their God. Another lie. What would the people do in response to the squeaky wheel? The answer is found in 2 Kings 18:36. The people were quiet and didn't say anything in response to the lies they were hearing. They obeyed Hezekiah and remained calm. When Hezekiah cried out to His Savior, the Lord delivered His people. They chose to believe what God told them, rather than believe the words of the squeaky wheel.
Although we don't have Assyrians surrounding us, we have a real enemy. His aim is to steal, kill and destroy, John 10:10. His allurements come into our minds. Often there is a grain of truth in the thought, but the lie that is mixed in is dangerous. The Evil One holds out a fleshly desire, promising us how good it might feel to carry it out. He fails to remind us the truth of the pain that we might bring others and the Lord by acting on his promptings. These lies come in other packages. We might have thoughts that tell us:
‘We can't share Jesus because of our past sin.’ Look what God did with the man formerly known as Saul, Acts 9.
‘God can't use us because we have no prestige or impressive family background.’ Look at the truth in 1 Corinthians 1:26-31.
‘We are disqualified because we failed the Lord and didn't speak up for Him.’ Look how He used a repentant Peter throughout the book of Acts, beginning in chapter 2 when he preached his powerful sermon.
Each of these people and myriads more could have listened to the lies that must have, at times, sounded like that squeaky wheel. However, they ignored those things they heard that stood in opposition to what God had said. Something we can also do.
Let's fix our thoughts upon truth and ignore the lies:
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8 (NLT)