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. Surely you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the countries, destroying them completely. And will you be delivered?(Isaiah 37:10-11)
This communication came in the form of a letter to Hezekiah. Clearly, it was intended to keep his heart fearful and anxious. It was a threat for the future, saying that although the king of Assyria was leaving for the moment, he would return again to wreak a terrible vengeance on Judah. Had Hezekiah taken the Assyrian message in that way, he would have lived in constant fear.
It is very important for Christians to understand that God does not want his people to live in fear. Fear is one of the great perils of our day. Anxieties beset us on every hand. We need to hear again the words of Jesus that we should not be anxious about tomorrow. Again and again our Lord told his disciples,
Fear not. Paul told us that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and a sound mind. It is not within our power to remove these threats to us, but we can meet them with faith. This is what Hezekiah 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.
Have you ever gone into your bedroom, knelt beside your bed, and spread your problem before the Lord? That is the only proper response to a threat to your person or faith. Here is the king’s wonderful prayer.
Lord Almighty, 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. Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God. It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands. 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. Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Lord, are the only God. (Isaiah 37:15-20)
Notice how accurate this prayer is. Hezekiah acknowledges the facts as they are. Assyria is a powerful force that had already swept other kingdoms away before it, but these nations were depending on idols to protect them, while Hezekiah’s and Judah’s dependence is on the Lord of heaven and earth. To him Hezekiah prays, simply and plainly, for help.
Lord, I come to you now and spread before you all the troubles that I face. I confess that without you I am completely helpless, but you are the God who had made heaven and earth. Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord and see.
Life Application: Fear is a normal response as we walk day-by-day in this earth’s shadowland–so are we developing a new ‘norm’ to spread our fears before our Sovereign King who is ‘ruler of everything’?