Recently, I was reading through the book of Isaiah, and was struck by the account of King Hezekiah. Sennacherib king of Assyria had come up against Judah, and was intending to invade and take it over. At that time, Assyria was a powerful kingdom who had defeated many peoples and lands; a dominating empire. Rabshakeh, the spokesman for the King of Assyria, tried to use intimidation tactics to get the people of Judah to compromise with the Assyrians, and surrender to them. He boasted of all of the other nations they had defeated, asking how could the God of Judah deliver them when all of the other gods of the other nations were unable to?
King Hezekiah’s response to these threats and boasts of victory is compelling. First, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth. That was the custom for mourning. Then he took the letter of response from the representatives of the Assyrian King, went to the house of the Lord and prayed this prayer:
Then Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it, and he went up to the house of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. Hezekiah prayed to the Lord saying, “O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, who is 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 listen to all the words of Sennacherib, who sent them to reproach the living God. Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have devastated all the countries and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. Now, O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, Lord, are God. (Isaiah 37:14-20)
First, it is worth noting that Hezekiah’s response to trouble was to turn to God in prayer. Second, he rightly recognizes God as sovereign over all the earth and all that is in it. And third, his foremost concern is for God’s reputation and glory.
Some things we can take away and contemplate from this account:
- To whom do you turn when trouble comes in to your life? Is your first response to turn to God in prayer, recognizing His sovereignty in all things? Or do you turn to a friend, or rely on yourself?
- Are you concerned for God’s glory and reputation, above all else? A Christian’s preeminent focus and concern should be for God and His truth and glory. An admirable example of this, in addition to the one above, is that when the nation of Israel repented, their concern was for God’s reputation.
When I read this account of King Hezekiah, my heart is prompted to glorify God. What a joy to read of this godly response of King Hezekiah, thousands of years later. Oh Lord, give me a heart like your servant Hezekiah! Cultivate in me a zealousness for your glory and name! Let my first response to trouble to be to turn to you in prayer, submitting to your sovereign control of all things!
Soli Deo Gloria!