We move from prophecy to history in the next few chapters.
Take a look at 2 Kings 18 and 2 Chronicles 29 and you’ll see what a good King Hezekiah was. He reversed a lot of the pagan practises that Ahaz had brought in.
“Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses.” 2 Kings 18:5-6
After 14 years of his reign, Isaiah reports the coming attack from Assyria. The King of Assyria, Sennacherib, thought that because he had been able to destroy the ‘gods’ of other nations, Judah would be no different. Hezekiah, being the faithful man that he was, prayed. See 37v14ff. His prayer does not deny the power of the enemy. His prayer is realistic — this is the situation, and on first glance, it looks bad! Unless of course, God delivers them from the hands of Sennacherib.
It struck me that some people who don’t believe in God, think believers use prayer like a false sense of security. But it was Assyria’s presumption that all gods are made of wood and stone — made by human hands and easily indestructible – which led to Sennacherib’s failure.
Prayer is not a talisman. Prayer is vital because we cannot rely wholly on ourselves. Relying only on what we think we know or what we are confident we can do, is more likely to send us down the wrong road. Sennacherib was relying on own strength and past success. He didn’t see the Kingdom of God’s people any differently than the other places he had ravaged and ruined.
In v21 b God responds to Hezekiah’s prayer – because you have prayed… this is the word the Lord has spoken against him…
We know there is a difference, and that prayer changes things – even if it’s only our attitude. As believers, we need to dig in in prayer, trust God to answer, and never fall into the trap of thinking we can do it all ourselves.
“I will defend this city,” said God in 37v35. Pray, and exchange the word ‘city’ for your particular issue. He will answer. He always does 🙂
A few thoughts next time from chapter 39 and then 40, will see the end of this series for now. I’ll be delving into NaNoWriMo in November, and launching a collection of short stories too, please God.
In December I’ll be welcoming some guest posts here on the theme of winter and Christmas. Do give me a shout if your interested in writing something.