Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
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. Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God. (2 Kings 19:15-16)
Hezekiah was a king of Judah with faith. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. He followed God wholeheartedly. He smashed the scared stones, and cut down Asherah poles that people worshiped. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, which became an idol. The Israelites had been burning incense to it.
He held fast to God and did not stop following him; he kept the commands God had given through Moses. The Bible recorded “There was no one like him among all the king of Judah, either before him and after him.” (2 King 18:5) God was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.
The fourteenth year of his regime, Sennacherib king of Assyria invaded all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. So Hezekiah king had to send a message in humiliation: “I have done wrong. Withdraw from me, and I will pay whatever you demand of me.” The Assyrian King demanded three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. Thus, Hezekiah gave all the silver found in the temple of God, and in the treasuries of the royal palace. He also stripped off the gold from the doors, doorposts of the temple of God. What a pain and humiliation!
However, the Assyrian king did not stop. He sent his troop again and pressured on Hezekiah and his people. For this time, the Assyrians called on the God wrongfully. Even they justified their invasion by telling: “Furthermore, have I come to attack and destroy this place without word from the LORD? The LORD himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.”
Hezekiah and his officials begged not to speak in Hebrew because ordinary Hebrew people could not understand Aramaic. The Assyrians did not hear, and called out loudly in Hebrew: “Do not listen to Hezekiah.” Not just once. They repeated in Hebrew. Hezekiah and his official tore their clothes, and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the Lord to pray to God. God answered the prayer. God sent Prophet Isaiah, and told “Do not be afraid of what you have heard—those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Listen! When he hears a certain report, I will make him want to return to his own country,”
The Assyrian army left as told by God. Hezekiah and his people could have peace again, and they could have thought that it would be no more Assyrian’s terrifying and humiliating invasion. However, it was not the case. Soon Sennacherib the Assyrian King sent a letter to Hezekiah. In the letter, Sennacherib told that Jerusalem would be given in to the hands of the king of Assyria, and would be completely destroyed as he did to other countries.
Upon reception of the letter, Hezekiah could not stand. He went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. 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. Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God. It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations 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 alone, Lord, are God.” (2 Kings 19:15-19)
Hezekiah was in real distress. In his distress, he came to God, and humbly bowed down before God. He spread out the Assyrian King’s letter, and prayed. He prayed first by confessing his faith in God – the creator of heaven and earth. Then with his heartbreaking pain, he carefully presented the blaspheming words of Sennacherib. He honestly shared his fear about the Assyrian King: “Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them.” Even so, Hezekiah clearly declared that those gods destroyed by the Assyrian king were mere creation of human hands. He, then, called on God by asking His deliverance with the mighty hand of God, One and Only True God. Although Hezekiah was experiencing the insurmountable difficulty, he was able to see the end. God would deliver him and his people, and “all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, LORD, are God.”
Upon Hezekiah’s faithful and authentic prayer, God answered. That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. Sennacherib king of Assyria withdrew and returned to Nineveh. While he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisrok, his sons Adrammelek and Sharezer killed him.
God has never stopped caring His people. He always and carefully listens prayers of His people. Sometimes, we confront at unexpected hardship and trail, but at the end, surely we will know. God will deliver us, and God’s name will be glorified. As Hezekiah and his people did, we need to faithfully cling to God, and prayed even under the situation that they could not understand why painful things are happening to us. Yes, God is always faithful, and His mercy, grace and love will be with us forever.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
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