|Theme: Confidence in God in Prayer
|Focus on: Hezekiah
|Reading Portion(s): Isaiah 36,37; 2 Kings 18,19 & 2 Chronicles 32:1 to 22.
|– Important Background Information
|– Helps you find strength in God
|What this article teaches you
|Insults will come to the Christian who places his confidence in God. These insults come when circumstances surrounding us look very threatening. Then people will ask us whether God will be able to deliver us this time. They would ask us the futility of keeping on believing in God when the situations around are dark, negative and discouraging.
When such insults come it is time to pray. Tell God all that others are saying about Him. Then tell Him what you think of Him. In other words express your confidence in Him and His ability and willingness to save you out of the trouble surrounding you now. You can tell God that you are not afraid of the defeats that others faced in similar circumstances; for they had not relied on God. You can further tell God that you trust in Him because He is the living God and wish to see Him exalted. To such a prayer expressing confidence in God; He will answer with encouraging messages and victory over evil spiritual forces
.King Hezekiah was a righteous king. As soon as he became king he repaired the temple, purified it with the help of Levites and priests and sacrificed the prescribed offerings. He thus reestablished the service of the temple of God. He also celebrated the Passover to the Lord. All this was done faithfully and with a right heart.
When Hezekiah had finished all this work faithfully, Sennacherib king of Assyria invaded his kingdom of Judah. King Hezekiah immediately repaired the broken walls and made a large number of weapons. He had great confidence in his God. So he encouraged the people to be strong and courageous and not be afraid of the king of Assyria or his vast army. He told the people that there was a greater power with them and added that with the enemy was only the arm of flesh but they had God with them to help them and fight their battles. This confidence spilled over to the people and they gained confidence from what the king said.
But such confidence in God is always ridiculed by the enemies of God in this world. Here too it happened exactly like that. King Sennacherib was laying siege to Lachish. So he sent his officers to Jerusalem with a message to King Hezekiah and the people. It was based on one question: “On what are you basing this confidence of yours?”The Assyrians wanted to know on whom the people of Judah were depending and why they were remaining in Jerusalem under siege without surrendering? The message further insulted the God of Israel by saying that He is just like the gods of the other peoples of the world. It was meant to terrify the people by making them think that since other gods could not stand against Sennacherib they also would not be able to do so.
The commanders of the Assyrian army came and shouted to the people of Judah not to allow Hezekiah to persuade them to trust in the Lord. They asked the people to come out and surrender and be taken into exile in a peaceful manner. They told the people that Hezekiah was misleading them to trust in God. To support their view they also mentioned that no other gods could save their people from the hands of the king of Assyria. But the people did not make any reply because Hezekiah had asked them not to reply.
Now Hezekiah tore his clothes and sent an official delegation to Isaiah the prophet with the request to pray for the people. The king hoped that God would rebuke the Assyrian king and his messengers for ridiculing the living God. To the officials who came to him Isaiah told to tell Hezekiah not to be afraid of the words with which they had blasphemed God. He added that the king of Assyria will return to his own country on hearing a certain report and will be cut down with the sword.
Now Sennacherib again sent a message to King Hezekiah with similar insults to the earlier messages. This time Hezekiah took the letter from the messengers, read it and went up to the temple of the Lord; spread it out before the Lord and prayed. His prayer demonstrated his confidence in his God. He prayed that the Lord God of Israel who was enthroned between the cherubim in the temple was alone God over all kingdoms of the earth. He therefore asked God, who created heaven and earth, to hear and see the words Sennacherib had sent to insult Him. Hezekiah added that it was true that Sennacherib had thoroughly destroyed the other nations. Hezekiah also reasoned with God by telling that those were not gods but wood and stone fashioned by men’s hands. Finally, the king asked God to deliver them. He wanted all the earth to know that their Lord alone is God.
This prayer is a simple straightforward proclamation of Hezekiah’s confidence in his God. He takes the insulting message to God in prayer. He makes a clear-cut distinction between the living God and the idols. He acknowledges the fact that other gods and their people had fallen before the Assyrian king. But he is not frightened about that because he knew that his God alone was God, the only God and the living God. So he wanted God to deliver them so that God may be exalted as the living God.
Confidence in God should always be expressed in prayer. It is a confession of our inward faith and confidence in God. It is also an expression of our ability to distinguish between the living God and worthless idols; thus drawing a clear line of separation. Thus we should be able to reaffirm our confidence in God in our prayer when people send us insulting messages by word of mouth or in print questioning our confidence in God.
Confidence in God in prayer comes through a right relationship with our living God and confidence in His power. Confidence in God in prayer also teaches us not to fear seeing the defeat of others who rely on worthless idols. Confidence in God in prayer comes when our motive in prayer is to see God exalted as the living God who alone is God.
In answer to this prayer God sent an encouraging message through Isaiah. It prophesied that Sennacherib will return by the way he came. It also foretold goodness from the land in increasing measure in successive years as a sign for Hezekiah that the Lord will indeed deliver them. And that night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. Sennacherib therefore broke camp and withdrew and was killed by his own sons while worshipping in the temple of his god.
So God gave a great deliverance for the Israelites without one arrow being shot! Amazing are the ways in which God answers prayer which expresses confidence in Him!