“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 to the Lord: ‘O Lord of hosts, 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 all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire. For they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. So now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord.’” Isaiah 37:14-20
King Hezekiah was being threatened and taunted by Assyria’s Sennacherib, whose military swagger had swept through all the nations and their lands and now targeted Judah. He understood the gravity of his situation, and sought the Lord first through His prophet Isaiah, then approached His heavenly throne directly. He knew that their means of victory was only in looking up and clinging to the might of his Almighty, the Lord of heaven’s, the enemy’s, and Israel’s hosts. His confidence was in God’s rule, and his concern God’s renown. (Isaiah 36:1-37:13; Hebrews 4:16)
God makes clear that He does not act because of our goodness or smarts, and that we’re not delivered by our own power, chariots, and weapons. Before Him we are desperate, but He is great, full of lovingkindness and mercy and able to deliver. (Deuteronomy 7:7-8; 8:17; 9:4,6-7; Psalm 20:7-9; 103:6-7)
We face opposition every day- to our resolve, our intentions, our spiritual health, our purity. Enemies ridicule biblical beliefs and tightly held convictions, and even loved ones can inadvertently foment insecurity or loneliness. Ire rises, temptations taunt, and doubts assail. Our heavenly Father welcomes us to His throne to find grace and help in these times of need. When we approach, we must come confidently on the basis of all He is and can do, but humbly acknowledging we are weak against the foe. (Hebrews 4:16)
We must seek God on the basis of His righteousness, asking according to His upright standards and trustworthy promises to His people. He always fulfills His word, even if we cannot understand His timing, order, or methods. We beseech Him according to His character of mercy and justice. We must acknowledge and trust who He is, what He knows, and that He rules over all things with perfect precision and His ends in sight. We can then exalt His goodness and power as we look for His answers and His fame among the nations. (Deuteronomy 9:25-29)
When I receive the ‘challenging letter’- the harsh accusation or vile taunt- do I quickly react or thoughtfully respond? Would I resolutely make my way to the Lord’s presence, bow in humble submission and dependence, and earnestly pray, with eager expectation, that He will act?
Lord, please answer my pleas in such a way that You perform how and what only You can, so the world may know and be humbled before You in praise.