Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said: “O Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. So now, O Lord our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Lord, are God alone.”
2 Kings 19:14-19
Hezekiah was in some serious danger. Sennacherib, king of Assyria was pounding on the doorstep after demolishing all the surrounding nations and was locked-in to destroy Hezekiah. He had surrounded the city, sent messengers and was threatening Hezekiah unless he surrendered. He was being ridiculed by Sennacherib’s messengers and they mocked him for even thinking about “trusting in the Lord”. The Assyrians were trying to intimidate them into submission.
Hezekiah, although desperate and fearful, decided his first, best, next step was to seek the Lord. He went to the house of the Lord, spread the letter before the Lord that outlined Sennacherib’s terms for surrender and sought God’s wisdom. You ought to notice that while he prayed for deliverance, his preoccupation was centered more on that the world would know that the Lord was indeed the true God.
When we face the pressures of life we like to handle them on our own. Sometimes, like Hezekiah, they are so overwhelming that we have no choice but to spread out our distress and circumstances before the Lord and plead for help. Hezekiah models for us what we should do more often regardless of how “serious” our situation is in our own mind. There are times that we feel like we are not given any opportunity to interact with the Lord to know how to respond. Other times we think we can handle things, so we just show our faith by jumping in to tackle the problem. We often think the most “common sense” solution is immediately obvious and we don’t even think about asking God’s help or seeking his wisdom. We don’t think we need God this time because we can handle things.
Hezekiah’s first and best step was to seek the Lord. Sounds easy and it makes sense. When life comes at us, we need to be on our knees before the Lord as our first step to know how He wants us to respond. Sounds logical but it is amazing how often we just lurch out into the world without seeking the mind of Christ. I am not sure if there is any situation that we do not need to consult with God. I love Hezekiah’s passion and persistence in seeking an audience with God.
Hezekiah’s perspective is wonderful. Notice that he recognizes God’s sovereignty, he invites God to hear his cry and recognize their circumstances. His first concern is not the threat Sennacherib poses to him and God’s people, but how he has mocked God’s name. He recognizes that the gods of the nations that Assyria has destroyed are not the true God, but those made of stone and wood. The difference is that Hezekiah recognizes God for who He is and invites Him to act so that He will be known. Hezekiah was not about just having God bail them out of a bad situation. He wanted God to be known and that was the basis of inviting God to act. What a great lesson to learn when we face any situation in life, much less when life is very overwhelming.
How much do we really trust that God has the right wisdom for our life? We say we believe in God, but do we truly trust His wisdom? Far too many times I trust my own wisdom and not His. Too often I think I have things figured out instead of seeking His face. If you were to jump to 2 Kings 20:1 we discover that Hezekiah finds out the Lord is going to take His life. Again, Hezekiah seeks the Lord and this time it is something very personal and affects him more than anyone. Again, he pleads with the Lord to spare his life (20:2-3). His transparency and honesty before the Lord is so authentic that God responds by giving him a fifteen year reprieve. What a lesson in depending on the Lord for everything. Unfortunately, I have not always sought the Lord when I needed to seek Him. But I am reminded that humility before the Lord is never rejected by our heavenly Father.
In His grace,