Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | March 30, 2009

Tel Lachish

Remnants of Lachish's ancient walls.

Remnants of Lachish's ancient walls.

On the morning of March 9 we headed to Tel Lachish. A “tel” is an archaeological term that means “mound” (see the introductory paragraph to my post on Tel Arad). The prominent mound at Lachish contains the remains of at least eight major cities, the earliest dating to 4000 B.C. We approached the ancient ruins by walking through a vineyard where we stopped to read and discuss John 15:1-11 — Jesus is the Vine and His followers are the branches. Jesus often taught profound lessons as He walked with His disciples through places like this. Looming in the background was Lachish, with the remnants of its walls and buildings standing patiently in the morning light, waiting for us to walk up the mound to learn their sad story. We walked the short distance from the vineyard up the rocky path leading to what once was the largest gate complex in Israel. I have thought much about Lachish since returning home from Israel and offer this simple primer to provoke your study of this ancient site.

L = Location | Lachish is located southwest of Jerusalem in the Shephelah, the area that separates the coastal plains to the west and the Mountains of Judea to the east. In Bible times, the Shephelah was the place where worldviews collided. The Shephelah is dissected by valleys running from the mountains to the coastal plain. Prominent cities developed in each of the Shephelah valleys. The city of Lachish stood over the Lachish Valley and guarded the southern approach to Jerusalem from invaders. As long as Lachish stood, Jerusalem remained safe.

Learning about Lachish.

Learning about Lachish.

A = Archaeology | Archaeological excavations have peeled back layers of history at Tel Lachish to reveal what life was like for the inhabitants of the city. During the conquest, Joshua defeated the king of Lachish and apportioned the city to the tribe of Judah. Perhaps the saddest archaeological discovery from this period is evidence that the inhabitants of Lachish embraced pagan idol worship in violation of God’s commands. At some point in their history, the people of Lachish stopped looking to God and turned to pagan religions and idols for answers.

C = Call | God did not let this gradual departure from Him go unchallenged. Instead, He faithfully sent His prophets to call His people to repentance — to change their ways and to loosen their grip on the things that were causing their love for Him to grow cold. God’s prophets warned His people about the high cost of disobedience. He gave His people ample warning and sufficient time to repent of their disobedience.

H = Held | In spite of repeated warnings by God’s prophets, the people held on to their sinful ways. Instead of worshiping Him, they worshiped other gods. They tightened their grip on sin, turned their backs on God, and continued down a path that the prophets warned would lead to destruction. They failed to take God seriously. Perhaps emboldened by any apparent consequences to their actions, they forgot that the wheels of God’s justice may move slowly, but when they come they grind finely.

I = Invasion | God’s people finally exhausted His patience and He used the Assyrians as His instrument of accountability and punishment. The Assyrians invaded and destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C. Emboldened by their successes the Assyrians turned their sights to the southern kingdom of Judah.

S = Sennacherib | The Assyrian King Sennacherib systematically attacked all of the fortified cities of Judah (2 Kings 18:13), including Lachish. The Assyrian army was known for its brutality. When they arrived at Lachish, even the massive gates and fortified walls of the city could not stop the Assyrian army. Sennacherib brutally tortured and killed as many as 50,000 people at Lachish. His conquest is commemorated in an elaborate bas relief on the walls of the royal palace in Nineveh. Archaeological discoveries have revealed the unmerciful brutality Sennacherib unleashed on his victims. Sadly, the godly people living in Lachish suffered the same terrible fate as the ungodly.

Leaving Lachish.

Leaving Lachish.

H = Hezekiah | After defeating Lachish, Sennacherib marched toward Jerusalem. He sent a demoralizing letter to King Hezekiah in which he defied God and boasted that he would be victorious over Jerusalem (2 Kings 19:8-13). However, Sennacherib underestimated King Hezekiah and his faith in God. Hezekiah had instituted much-needed religious reforms and had taken practical measures to prepare Jerusalem for Sennacherib’s attack. Hezekiah took Sennacherib’s letter “and went up to the house of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord” (2 Kings 19:14). He prayed, “And now, O Lord our God, I pray, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that Thou alone, O Lord, art God” (2 Kings 19:19). God heard and answered Hezekiah’s prayer and gave him victory over Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:20-37).

God is still looking for people like Hezekiah — those who remain faithful to God and who live and work to impact the world for Him so that the world may know that He alone is God. Can He count on us?


Responses

  1. You have finished with a great important question, “can He count on us?” This question will help us to sanctifying our self, this would help to purifications each person, to finding my self, could I go before God, to pray as Hezekiah prayed for!

    This is the day, to think about, where I am!

    Thanks, for posts-
    Mortuza
    Bangladesh


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