Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, sent word to Hezekiah, the king of Judah, of his intent to overthrow and capture Jerusalem. Isaiah 36 gives a detailed account of the threats he used to intimidate and bring fear to Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem. He even went as far as questioning Hezekiah’s confidence in the Lord and ridiculed the living God. Up to this point, Sennacherib had attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them (Isaiah 36:11). He also blamed Hezekiah for misleading the people and tried to put doubt into their hearts.
In the light of these serious threats, Hezekiah tore his clothes and went into the temple of the Lord. He sent word to the prophet Isaiah and asked for help. Hezekiah’s officials came back with word from the Lord, “This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard” (Isaiah 37:6).
When Sennacherib sent Hezekiah another message to threaten him, Hezekiah took the letter and spread it out before the Lord, as we read in today’s verse. He acknowledged the truth in the message that the Assyrian king had laid waste to peoples and their lands, but he then asked the Lord to deliver them from the enemy “so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You, Lord, are the only God” (Isaiah 37:20). The rest of Chapter 37 is wonderful to read and is about how the Lord responded and brought an end to Sennacherib’s terror. Everything Sennacherib had believed to be his own doing had in fact been ordained by God (verse 26).
This brings me to today and the threats we are all facing - every accusation, all the uncertainties and every form of fear the enemy is using in an attempt to weaken and deceive us into thinking we are heading for disaster. He uses partial truths and tries to convince us that we aren’t strong enough. But our confidence is in the Lord, not in ourselves! The Lord answered Hezekiah in Isaiah 37:21 with His promise of deliverance, ‘Because you have prayed to Me …’. This is our strength, and this is the truth we need to stand in the face of the storms and threats in our lives.
Let us turn to the Lord in humility and spread our concerns and fears before Him. He is able and willing to deliver us.
Prayer: Father, we are facing so many threats at the moment. Let us, as Your people, unite in prayer and not in fear. We come before You, Lord, and spread out all our fears and concerns - our loved ones, our physical health, our finances and … (mention whatever comes to mind). Lord, deliver us so all the nations of the earth may know that You, Lord, are the only God. Amen.
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