S170P12 – Behind closed doors: Hezekiah

2Kgs. 19:14-16

Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD and spread it before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said: “O LORD, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God.”

Hezekiah was a special king of Judah.  This book tells us that no king before or after him in Judah trusted the Lord as he did. [18:5]  His prosperity came from his relationship with God, which was founded on dependence.  When Hezekiah received the letter from Sennacherib, he could have taken its meaning more than one way.  He might have been concerned primarily for the fate of Judah as the letter predicted their defeat.  Anyone would care about the safety of their nation and of themselves, and it was indeed a threatening message.  However, Hezekiah’s response indicates that he took this message not as a threat to Judah but as a threat to God.  That is what caught his attention.

The end of this prayer says it all.  Assyria had defeated other nations because their gods were manmade trinkets that could be tossed in the fire.  Judah’s God, on the other hand, was real.  Hezekiah’s appeal for Judah to be protected and led to victory was in the name of glorifying God.  He knew what the real issue was here.  Sennacherib’s conflict was with the God that Judah served and represented.  His pride would not let him accept that this God, who had shown his power many times already throughout history, could defeat him.  What appeared to be a physical battle was really a spiritual battle.  This was not about losing to Judah but about losing to the Lord.

What Hezekiah would not have heard then, but what we know from the scriptures today, is that our battle is not against flesh and blood. Despite this, he knew enough to discern the real conflict here. He was not distracted by the real physical threat of danger but focused on its root. Those who oppose the children of God really oppose God and his ways. When we pray, we ask for real solutions to real problems, but we must remember that we always are in a spiritual battle. Our focus must be for the spiritual result the Lord desires. Father, remind us that our warfare is not physical and that our prayers are to glorify You and advance your kingdom.