Lately I’ve been reading 1&2 Kings and 1& 2 Chronicles and I’ve been thinking about the leadership and example of the various kings in these accounts. One account that stood out to me is in 2 Chronicles 32, where Sennacherib, king of Assyria, is attacking Jerusalem during the reign of Hezekiah, and was threatening the people that their God would not deliver them. Sennacherib says, “On what are you trusting, that you endure the siege in Jerusalem? Is not Hezekiah misleading you, that he may give you over to die by famine and by thirst, when he tells you, “The LORD our God will deliver us from the hand of the king of Assyria”? Has not this same Hezekiah taken away his high places and his altars and commanded Judah and Jerusalem, “Before one altar you shall worship, and on it you shall burn your sacrifices”? Do you not know what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of other lands? Were the gods of the nations of those lands at all able to deliver their lands out of my hand? Who among all the gods of those nations that my fathers devoted to destruction was able to deliver his people from my hand, that your God should be able to deliver you from my hand? Now, therefore, do not let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you in this fashion, and do not believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to deliver his people from my hand or from the hand of my fathers. How much less will your God deliver you out of my hand!’”
This long accusation from an enemy king reminds me of the accusing attacks of our spiritual enemy, who wants to convince us that the Lord will not deliver us or care for us when we are in a difficult situation. The enemy is planting seeds of doubt and distrust, and causing the people to not trust their leader, Hezekiah, and our enemy is causing us to doubt the character of our Lord.
Hezekiah and Isaiah’s response is so good for me to hear, though. Often, when I am concerned about a situation, I start coming up with possible solutions (i.e. worrying!). But what do Hezekiah and Isaiah do? “Then Hezekiah the king and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, prayed because of this and cried to heaven.” (2 Chronicles 32:20). Instead of trying to figure out this impossible situation, they cried out to the one who could intervene for them.
And what do we see God do next? “And the LORD sent an angel, who cut off all the mighty warriors and commanders and officers in the camp of the king of Assyria.” God did something totally outside the box, something that Hezekiah and Isaiah probably would not have dreamed up.
What are the situations or circumstances in life that seem impossible to me? In what ways am I tempted to believe that God is going to let me down or not come through?
Lord, give me grace to pray and seek your face instead of going into the “worry cycle”, trying to figure out a solution by myself. I need to remind myself that God may decide to answer my prayer in a way that is totally outside the box.
And when my enemy accuses me in the midst of uncertain circumstances, I can know that no matter what the outcome of my present circumstances, Jesus’ victory over the cross demonstrates that he has already won, and my eternal circumstances are secure with him.