What’s your response when things seem to be falling apart around you? Sometimes it’s tempting to lash out at others ,who may or may not be contributors to our trouble, as if seeing their pain will somehow soothe ours. Other times it’s tempting to run and hide from our problems, hoping they’ll go away by the time we emerge. To be sure, there are times to flee from danger and times to stand our ground, but in reading 2 Kings 19, we see a crucial step that we often leave out in the heat of our emotions and our rush to respond. Confronted by the menacing threat of Sennacherib and the Assyrian army, Hezekiah’s first instinct is toward prayer.
Hezekiah wasn’t like a computer or a robot, programmed to respond in prayer to every situation. He was profoundly emotional, tearing his clothes and putting on sackcloth in response to Sennacherib’s threats. He grasped the seriousness of the threat and the weight of his own responsibility, calling it a “day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace.” But instead of driving him to despair, it drove him to prayer. First, he went to the house of the Lord and called upon Isaiah to pray, receiving reassurance that the Assyrians would be defeated. However, that reassurance alone did not eliminate the threat. In fact, Sennacherib’s defiance of the Lord and threats against Hezekiah grew louder. So, once again, Hezekiah went to the house of the Lord, spreading out the letter defying the Lord before God and praying to the Lord. In his prayer, Hezekiah acknowledges the holiness of God, His sovereignty over all the kingdoms of the earth, and His hand in creation. Hezekiah understood what Sennacherib did not. The Lord was not, is not, and will not be like the gods of the nations he had previously defeated. Hezekiah trusted that his God was able to save when others could not, and he was right.
What’s your response when things seem to be falling apart around you? Let’s cultivate a thriving prayer life, so that when distress, rebuke, and disgrace come, we know where to turn…to the living God who sees and hears and saves His people.