Hezekiah Asks Isaiah
1As soon as Hezekiah heard the news, he tore off his clothes in sorrow and put on sackcloth. Then he went into the temple of the Lord. 2He told Prime Minister Eliakim, Assistant Prime Minister Shebna, and the senior priests to dress in sackcloth and tell the prophet Isaiah:
3These are difficult and disgraceful times. Our nation is like a woman too weak to give birth, when it's time for her baby to be born. 4Please pray for those of us who are left alive. The king of Assyria sent his army commander to insult the living God. Perhaps the Lord heard what he said and will do something, if you will pray.
5When these leaders went to Isaiah, 6he told them that the Lord had this message for Hezekiah:
I am the Lord. Don't worry about the insulting things that have been said about me by these messengers from the king of Assyria. 7I will upset him with rumors about what's happening in his own country. He will go back, and there I will make him die a violent death.
8Meanwhile, the commander of the Assyrian forces heard that his king had left the town of Lachish and was now attacking Libnah. So he went there.
9About this same time the king of Assyria learned that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia was on his way to attack him. Then the king of Assyria sent some messengers with this note for Hezekiah:
10Don't trust your God or be fooled by his promise to defend Jerusalem against me. 11You have heard how we Assyrian kings have completely wiped out other nations. What makes you feel so safe? 12The Assyrian kings before me destroyed the towns of Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and everyone from Eden who lived in Telassar. What good did their gods do them? 13The kings of Hamath, Arpad, Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah have all disappeared.
14After Hezekiah had read the note from the king of Assyria, he took it to the temple and spread it out for the Lord to see. 15 He prayed:
Lord God of Israel, your throne is above the winged creatures. You created the heavens and the earth, and you alone rule the kingdoms of this world. 16But just look how Sennacherib has insulted you, the living God.
17It is true, our Lord, that Assyrian kings have turned nations into deserts. 18They destroyed the idols of wood and stone that the people of those nations had made and worshiped. 19But you are our Lord and our God! We ask you to keep us safe from the Assyrian king. Then everyone in every kingdom on earth will know that you are the only God.
Have you ever gotten news that was so alarming that it cut you to the core? News that so overwhelmed you to the point that you didn’t know what to do? Undoubtedly, each of us has received news that left us utterly upset and distressed to the point that our world felt as if it simply dropped out from under us. The questions we must answer in these moments are, “Where will we turn?” and “What will we do?” in light of this news.
In this passage, we find King Hezekiah just having received horrific news from the officials he’d dispatched to negotiate with Assyria (v 1). However, instead of curling into a ball or reaching out to other nations for help, Hezekiah turns to the only person and the only source of strength he can imagine might offer some form of aid in light of their bleak circumstances – God and the prophet Isaiah (vv 2-7).
Reading on, though, we begin to see how the prophecy from God will play out in undermining the King of Assyria (vv 8-9). We also see that Sennacherib is all the more determined to shake the faith of Hezekiah and the people of Judah in their God (vv 10-13). Again, Hezekiah’s response is to turn to the only place and the only one he knows might offer a way out of this situation – God.
Each of us will undoubtedly face overwhelming odds and situations at different times in our lives. Similarly, we will each be faced with answering the questions, “Where will we turn?” and “What will we do?” in light of our circumstances. The example of King Hezekiah must serve as an example that no person can be there for us, nothing can save or deliver us, other than the Lord our God.
Heavenly Father, I am so thankful that no matter the situation or circumstance I might face, it is never bigger than you. I pray that you’d help me today to put my trust solely in you despite the solutions that the world might offer. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.