King Hezekiah was a godly king, whose reign was characterized by spiritual reformation, revival, and renewal. ln 2 Kings 18 we are given an impressive introduction to this outstanding man of God: “He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord ... He trusted in the Lord God of Israel ... He clave to the Lord, and departed not from following Him, but kept His commandments” (18:3-6 KJV). It is no wonder that “the Lord was with him; and he prospered whithersoever he went forth” (18:7). This king knew what it meant to get and stay in touch with his God. Then the assault of the enemy came. During the fourteenth year of Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib, the king of Assyria came up against Judah (18:13,17). Just eight years before, the Assyrians had conquered Israel, the other half of the divided kingdom of the Jews. Now the Assyrians began a direct attack upon the God of Hezekiah, seeking to disconnect the people from their God. Finally, in 2 Kings 19, a letter was sent to Hezekiah to convince him that his God would not and could not take care of him. Recognizing that this was not just a political but a spiritual battle, Hezekiah responded with prayer. Note the six key aspects of his prayer.
|1. A Place (2 Kings 19:14)
Hezekiah did not withdraw to his royal quarters in privacy, nor did he gather his leadership team in the national command center. Instead, he went right to “the house of the Lord” where he spread the letter out before Him. Earlier in the chapter he had gone to His house where he offered a challenge to lift up a prayer (19:1,4). Hezekiah understood that God’s house was a place to communicate with Him. How desperately the churches today need to recognize the same thing! The church willingly gathers for meals, concerts, special sessions, and work days, but struggles to gather to pray. The most poorly attended function on the church calendar is the prayer meeting. We must again place a high priority on making God’s house a house of prayer (Mt. 21:13).2. A Perspective (19:15)
As Hezekiah began to pray, he focused his attention on the God he was praying to. This was a God-centered prayer by a man who knew God. Note the things he emphasized about God. God was personal: “O Lord God of lsrael.” God was perfect: “Which dwellest between the cherubims.” God was pre-eminent: “Thou art the God, even Thou alone.” God was powerful: “Thou hast made heaven and earth.” It was absolutely essential for Hezekiah to begin his prayer this way. The enemy was attempting to disconnect him from God. Repeatedly in chapter eighteen the enemy had questioned the confidence of the people in the God they were trusting. Hezekiah recognized the desire of the king of Assyria to “reproach the living God” (19:4). If the Jews were disconnected from God, they would be pitifully vulnerable to defeat at the hands of this stronger enemy.3. A Plea (19:16)
Hezekiah was very clear in his desire for God to “hear” and “see” not just what Sennacherib was doing to Judah, but rather what he was doing to the living God. The ultimate focus of this assault by the Assyrians was not Hezekiah and Judah, but rather the God of Hezekiah and Judah. Hezekiah was appealing to God to come to His own defense.
4. A Problem (19:19)
5. A Purpose (19:19)
6. A Product (19:20)
This story ends with an awesome display of God’s power and supremacy. In 2 Kings 19:35, the angel of the Lord smote the camp of the Assyrians, destroying 185,000 soldiers. Hezekiah never drew a sword, shot an arrow, or threw a spear. God did it all by Himself. After viewing the corpses on the ground, Sennacherib returned to his home and to the house of his god. There he was smitten by his own sons. Not only had the true God destroyed his army, his own god was unable to protect him from his own children.
In reality this story is not about two kings or two armies, but about the true God and a false god. Hezekiah made the divine connection with his God, and his God proved Himself to be real. Sennacherib depended on his god, and his god failed. In times of need, you must depend upon the true God. You can safely depend upon a God who cannot and will not fail.
By Tom Palmer
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org