Wednesday, August 29, 2018

spreading out the bad news (Hezekiah and prayer)

I love the Old Testament. Partly because it has such great stories about prayer. 

Here's one that struck me lately, in Isaiah 37.* Jerusalem is under threat from the Assyrians, who've been striking down their enemies right and left. Destroying everyone. Winning every battle. Terrifying their enemies.

And then Hezekiah, the king in Jerusalem, receives a letter from the Assyrians, talking about all the people they've destroyed, and about how Jerusalem is next, and so don't think your God can save you.

Hezekiah, true son of David that he is, knows that the enemies of God are especially in trouble when they defy God (think Goliath). And so this is what he does:

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.
He takes the bad news, and he spreads it out in front of God.

I love that.

Hezekiah also (again, true son of David that he is), pleads for God to help for God's own great name's sake.

Lord, the 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 the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations 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. Therefore they were destroyed. So now, O Lord our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Lord, are God alone.
You and I are not Hezekiah. But we do follow the even greater, even truer Son of David. And I think that when we get bad news, Hezekiah's example is not a bad one to follow. 

We are also not God, and so we don't know which outcomes will most glorify His great name--maybe what we ask for isn't what He wants. (To quote another good example, "But if not..."

But we are God's people, and so when we get bad news, we can spread it before Him, and beg Him for His help.

And we can trust in Him who alone can save us.

Peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell

*The story is also recorded in 2 Kings 19.