Friday, November 29, 2019
Eight years ago, near the end of the winter, we had warm weather that was melting some of our snow. The end of my driveway was filled with slush. I took the shovel and went out to remove it. After four or five exertions of my muscles to lift that heavy wet mess and toss it aside I felt a little twinge in my chest. I took a break, and it seemed to be okay, so I finished the job.
When I got into the house, I called the doctor and made an appointment. The next day I had an EKG at his office, and when that turned out normal, he scheduled a stress test. A week later I was on a treadmill having my heart function analyzed, and I praise the Lord that everything is fine. But that first twinge of pain, which was probably just muscles screaming from inactivity, was a real wakeup call.
Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, had invaded Judah. King Hezekiah had tried to be a faithful king. He had destroyed all the places of worship in the land that were primarily used by the people to worship idols. He had asked people to focus their worship on the one true God by coming to Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem. But the people were rebellious and wanted what they wanted when they wanted it. Doesn’t that sound familiar?
When Sennacherib sent his envoys to Hezekiah with another letter defaming the name of God, it was a wake-up call for the King of Judah. This time he did not seek after the prophet Isaiah to try to re-connect with God. This time he went directly to God. He had been encouraged by Isaiah’s words that the Lord was going to deal with this attack. That encouragement motivated him to begin anew his own relationship with the Lord.
Isaiah 37:15-16 And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD: “O LORD Almighty, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.”
Hezekiah humbly approaches God. He went to the temple and spread his problems out before the LORD. How often do we go to the Lord in a time of distress and ask for help but we never really release the control of the problem to Him? Hezekiah laid everything on the altar and gave it all to Him. He showed great faith and trust in the Lord’s outcome.
Read Hezekiah’s prayer, and notice the honor and awe he expresses towards God.
“O LORD Almighty, 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, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God. It is true, O LORD, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples 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, O LORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God.”
Our prayers to God for every problem, every issue, and every need should be encapsulated in this kind of praise and worship to Almighty God.
Not only should our prayers be bathed in praise and worship, but the ultimate request we make, no matter what the issue, should be for the glory of God to be revealed on the earth. Hezekiah acknowledges his fear over the facts of his circumstances. Sennacherib has already been successful over every other nation that worshiped other false gods. But Hezekiah knows that the will of God is for all men to know Him and connect to Him, so that is the basis of His request.
Friends, we get pretty selfish in our prayers don’t we? We want God to bring us glory. We ask Him to meet our needs or solve our problems according to our projected outcomes that we believe will benefit us the most. But when we pray according to the will of God – that the people who see what God does in our lives will have to acknowledge that He alone is God – then we will be praying correctly.
So what wake-up calls has God sent into your life recently? Are you responding according to His will and glory or your own?