Scripture: 2 Kings 18-19, 2 Chronicles 32, James 5
2 Kings 19:14-15 King Hezekiah took the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went to the Temple, placed the letter there in the presence of the Lord, and prayed…
King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded Judah and conquered some of her fortified cities. King Hezekiah of Judah was rightfully concerned—Sennacherib was undefeated; no one had been able to stop him. So Hezekiah offered submission and a monetary payment to convince Sennacherib to go away. It had the opposite effect! Evidently the money convinced Sennacherib that Jerusalem was filled with loot, so he proceeded to set up a siege. He sent an emissary and a letter, each dripping with psychological warfare, carefully calculated to inspire fear and submission.
But Hezekiah didn’t cave in. Instead, he went to the temple and spread the letter out before the Lord, and then he prayed. In his prayer, he acknowledged that God created and rules everything. Then he asked God to notice Sennacherib’s insults of the Lord Himself, followed by an honest admission that the Assyrian king had defeated every other nation (although their gods were not gods at all—just idols). Then he asked the Lord to rescue them so that all the world would know that He is God!
Faced with impossible odds, Hezekiah went to the Lord and prayed. He was honest, humble and trusting. And God answered! God laughed at Sennacherib’s insults, wiped out most of his army in a plague and sent him scurrying home where his own sons assassinated him!
What do you do when disaster looms? Where do you turn when all hell breaks loose?
Hezekiah went to the Lord and spread the problem out before Him and prayed. It seems simple and obvious. But so often my first response is to trust my own scheming, not the Lord. Or to look for human assistance, rather than turning to the Lord.
“Pray first” has been one of my mantras for years. Hezekiah did that. I want to be sure to do it too!
Prayer: Lord, remind me to pray first. When the storm breaks, when the enemy attacks, when the odds are overwhelming, remind me to do what Hezekiah did and go straight to You!