2 Kings 19:14-19

Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; then 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, who are enthroned above the cherubim, you are 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; 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 hurled their gods into the fire, though they were no gods but the work of human hands—wood and stone—and so they were destroyed.

So now, O Lord our God, save us, I pray you, from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Lord, are God alone.” 2 Kings 19:14-19

The heart of the story of King Hezekiah of Judah runs from 2 Kings 18-20. He was a good and consequential king. He came to rule at a time when 2/3’s of the land of Israel, the northern kingdom, had fallen to the Assyrian armies. A time when idolatry had turned the heads of the people of Israel. When faith in the living God had been traded for faith in idols made by human hands. It was a dark time.

But King Hezekiah was a man of faith. He tore down the sites of idolatrous imagination. He even destroyed the pole and bronze serpent that took the people back to the time of Moses, signs that were no longer signs of the power of God but signs that had become ends unto themselves.

When the scene opened captured in the verses above, the Assyrian army stood ready to attack and destroy Jerusalem. For a time Hezekiah had held them off by paying the tribute they demanded. But feeding idols is a waste of time. They are never satisfied. The Assyrians weren’t satisfied and now warned King Hezekiah that the time was near when they would finish off Jerusalem once and for all.

So what did King Hezekiah do? In 2 Kings 19:1, he went to the temple to pray. And now here in these verses, he again prays to God for protection. Again and again, the voice of the Assyrians mocked God and mocked King Hezekiah’s naïve faith that God would act. God would intervene. God’s will would be done. The idols and enemies would be swallowed up and God’s people would survive and prosper.

Again, as the Assyrian leader sent Hezekiah with mocking reminders of Assyrian power, Assyrian success, Assyrian dominance, Hezekiah turned again to prayer in our verses for today.

Hezekiah relied, not on the help of friends for Egypt proved untrustworthy, but on the help of God, the Lord of Lords. He relied on prayer, not to escape the darkness but that through his prayers, God might open the eyes of the blind, thwart the evil designs of the wicked, and save those destined to carry the story to the generations to come.

It was prayer, trust in God, that turned the tables. The Assyrian leader went home and met an untimely end. The Assyrian army was overcome by the supernatural power of God. In the end, God’s story continued and Hezekiah came to the end of a long and fruitful life.

I’m reminded here again of that great line from Psalm 37:4, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Every time we read that line we should take not that it is not saying that God will give us everything our heart desires, but that God will implant in us godly desires themselves. That God’s will might become our wills. That God’s ways might become our ways. This was Hezekiah’s hope and realized dream. It is our hope as well.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, you are 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… As your ears open to us, open our ears. As your eyes open to us, open our eyes. May we remember today that the future is yours and that we shall not be moved. Your will, your ways, seen most clearly in the death and resurrection of Jesus, are the hope of the world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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