Lord, thank You for the encouragement found in Your Word.
Read 2 KINGS 19:1–19
Jerusalem’s Deliverance Foretold
19 When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the Lord. 2 He sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary and the leading priests, all wearing sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. 3 They told him, “This is what Hezekiah says: This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the moment of birth and there is no strength to deliver them. 4 It may be that the Lord your God will hear all the words of the field commander, whom his master, the king of Assyria, has sent to ridicule the living God, and that he will rebuke him for the words the Lord your God has heard. Therefore pray for the remnant that still survives.”
5 When King Hezekiah’s officials came to Isaiah, 6 Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard—those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. 7 Listen! When he hears a certain report, I will make him want to return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.’”
8 When the field commander heard that the king of Assyria had left Lachish, he withdrew and found the king fighting against Libnah.
9 Now Sennacherib received a report that Tirhakah, the king of Cush,[a] was marching out to fight against him. So he again sent messengers to Hezekiah with this word: 10 “Say to Hezekiah king of Judah: Do not let the god you depend on deceive you when he says, ‘Jerusalem will not be given into the hands of the king of Assyria.’ 11 Surely you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the countries, destroying them completely. And will you be delivered? 12 Did the gods of the nations that were destroyed by my predecessors deliver them—the gods of Gozan, Harran, Rezeph and the people of Eden who were in Tel Assar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath or the king of Arpad? Where are the kings of Lair, Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah?”
14 Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.
17 “It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. 18 They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. 19 Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God.”
a 2 Kings 19:9 That is, the upper Nile region
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7).
Trusting God amid difficult circumstances is a recurring challenge for all of us. Today, we see how Hezekiah’s trust evolves. At the beginning of the chapter, as he responds to the arrogance of Assyria and sends a distressed message to Isaiah the prophet, he sounds already defeated (“children come to the moment of birth and there is no strength to deliver them”; 3). Given his earlier wobble of faith (2 Kings 18:14,15), he may not feel worthy to pray himself and asks the prophet to intercede (4). His hope “Perhaps the Lord… will hear” (4, NASB) sounds tentative. Nevertheless, he has made the first step towards deliverance in that he has turned to the one who truly can help. Our own prayers may follow a similar pattern, where we pray without much hope but our trust grows as we see God respond.
The Lord’s answer to Hezekiah is a message of encouragement and ultimate victory (6,7). Whether it is a specific promise in Scripture or a more general reminder of God’s character and faithfulness, we need to recall consciously the hope we have in him. Hezekiah’s ordeal is not over yet, however—just as our own challenges may have their ups and downs. Isaiah’s prophecy and the signs that Assyria will have to fight against an Egyptian coalition led by Tirhakah may reassure the king (Lissa M. Wray Beal, 1 & 2 Kings, 470), but then additional threats arrive from Sennacherib (9–13).
Faith is like a muscle that needs exercising if it is to grow. Hezekiah demonstrates strengthening faith as he now appeals directly to God and spreads out the Assyrian threats before him (14). Compared with his initial indirect and timid approach, his prayer here is bold and confident. His engagement with God has brought a deeper spiritual perspective as he affirms the reality and power of the Lord his God compared with the fecklessness of the gods of the defeated nations.
Consider if there is any situation where you need to renew or keep growing your trust in God.
Lord, help me to fully understand during my hour of need that there is no power on earth which can overpower You.