"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 to the LORD..." (Isaiah 37:14-15)
Have you ever been presented with a report or news which floored you? Has an impossible situation ever been thrown in your lap? Have you ever been given news, a bill, a task, a responsibility, that you could never in a million years handle?
If you have, you are in Hezekiah's company. He also, as Israel's ancient king, received impossible news. The Assyrians were planning an attack and sent him threatening letters. A superpower, Hezekiah's little Israeli forces were no match for this Assyrian army. No one was. At the time, all other nations had folded in their presence. What in the world would Hezekiah do?
1. Hezekiah Went Up to the House of the Lord
His first move was to go up to God's house to seek his face. Modern believers have no temple to pilgrimage to, but we are now the temple of the Holy Spirit and can cry out to God from any place and at any time. Sadly, though, many of us do not take the opportunity to seek God in this way. Though we have full access given to us by the blood of Christ, we are often negligent or hesitant to enter into his presence to seek his aid and help. But he invites you! He says, "Come boldly to my throne of grace, to find mercy and receive grace to help you in your time of need" (Hebrews 4:16). He has shed his blood that you might come into his "house" into his presence.
2. Hezekiah Spread the Letters Before the Lord
Those letters presented a problem, and Hezekiah didn't act as if they didn't exist but instead laid them before God. He did not pray a pious-sounding utterance, but instead took the issue at hand and put it before the God who could do something about his problem. Where else could he go? To whom else could he turn? In his mind, God was his only option, so he spread this issue out before God. We must do the same. Too often, we give ourselves to flowery speeches before God and never get to the point, when, all the while, a major issue is breathing down our necks. God knows, so lay it all before him. "Cast all your care on him" (1 Peter 5:7). Let him hear about it. Give it to him. Detail it to him.
3. Hezekiah Placed His Hope in God
When he approached the Lord, Hezekiah said, "You are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth." He knew another king and kingdom was threatening Israel, but Hezekiah truly believed God was bigger and stronger than the Assyrian forces. He placed his hope in God and his kingdom. He thought only God could do a work such as this. When we place our hope in Christ and his kingdom, rather than the kings and kingdoms of this world, we are safe. Hezekiah felt only God's kingdom would last eternally, so rather than spend his life fretting about the kingdoms of man, he put his hope and desire on the kingdom of God.
4. Hezekiah Placed His Faith in God
Related to hope, but different from it, Hezekiah also placed his faith in God. He felt only God could deliver them, and he trusted in God's ability to get them through that particular trial and battle. He was not sure how God would get the job done but believed God would get the job done. When God eventually manifested his aid to Israel and Hezekiah, it was help of the most glorious and powerful variety, for he sent one angel to destroy the Assyrian army. Hezekiah's faith was well-placed. Perhaps you have wondered if your faith and trust, when directed at God, is directed at the right place. I assure you, it is.
5. Hezekiah Loved God and God’s Kingdom
Hezekiah prayed to his God who was "enthroned above the cherubim." "You are God," he prayed, "You alone." It becomes clear, when reading and following Hezekiah's life, he was a man who not only hoped in God's kingdom and placed his faith in God's ability, but he simply loved God. He thought highly of God, revered him, and wanted to know him and his kingdom. He loved God.
God, the biblical record makes plain, looks for people like Hezekiah, folks who will love and adore and praise his name. God is no egomaniac, insecurely looking for the approval of humanity, but is instead so transcendent in his love that he places us first. He knows how we are made and constructed. We are made to contain and know him. Anything less than him and we are a dissatisfied, disjointed people who have settled for less. So God looks for and encourages those who love him, for they are those who are most happy, receiving the deep joy which comes from a relationship with him.
Hezekiah, it seems, was a man who knew how to run to God in the trials and complexities of life. Rather than shake his fist at God and wonder how he could allow Israel into such a predicament, Hezekiah pursued the Lord and laid all his troubles before him. We should do the same, and his grace paves the way for us to do so. We do not run to him based on our own merit, but that of Christ, who paved the way to God with his blood. We stand before the infinite God, not by our works or effort, but by the work and effort of Christ. He is the one who gets us an audience with God, and, even more, makes us children of God. He is now our Father in heaven. Like Hezekiah, let us hallow his name.