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. Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. So now, O LORD our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O LORD, are God alone.” II Kings 19:15-19
This prayer shows the honesty and godliness of Hezekiah. This king is on the edge of destruction, his entire kingdom is about to go down in flames. Yet he does not just ask God to save them. There are three distinct things Hezekiah prays.
1) He declares God greatness – “you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth.”
2) He asks God to hear and see the mocking of the Assyrian king.
3) He finally asks God to save Judah so that all the surrounding kingdoms will know the he alone is God.
This simple, yet profound prayer is a great model. And I think Hezekiah’s prayer in the midst of his crisis show three things about Hezekiah. His prayer shows:
- Hezekiah had a relationship with God. You do not pray like this without first have a lasting and good relationship with Almighty God.
- Hezekiah has faith – he invites God to act and has faith that he will save the nation in spite of impossible circumstances.
- While Hezekiah asks God to save then, he does so with a bigger picture in mind. He asks so that all men and nations will know who is the one true God.
Another idea we must consider is the results of Hezekiah’s prayer. We have to know what happens when a king like Hezekiah prays. In Isaiah 37 we see a profound answer. Verse 21-22 says, “Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria, this is the word that the Lord has spoken concerning him.’” The most important words in these verses are “because you have prayed”. God acted because Hezekiah prayed. There is no way around it. Prayer works. If you honestly seek God, he will turn up. Isaiah’s prophecy is quite lengthy about what is going to happen to Assyria, but here are a few excerpts.
“Whom have you mocked and reviled? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes to the heights? Against the Holy One of Israel! . . . Because you have raged against me and your complacency has come to my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will turn you back on the way by which you came.” . . . “Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, declares the Lord. For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.” Isaiah 37:23, 29, 33-35
And this is exactly what happened. The end of the chapter tells us that an angel of the Lord struck down 185,000 of the Assyrians. When people got up the next morning they were surrounded by nothing but dead bodies. Sennacherib king of Assyria went back home to Nineveh, but he was murdered by his sons while he was worshiping his pagan god, Nisroch. Divine deliverance came that day to Hezekiah and Judah. God delivered because Hezekiah prayed. We can learn much from this; it is not only the priests and prophets that God listens to. He will listen to anyone who prays with a sincere heart, however we must remember God does indeed listen to the heart of a king.
So I ask where are our leaders on this topic? In a crisis, do our leaders run to God in prayer. We desperately need leaders who are faithful to God and pray. But this also implies a relationship to God in the first place. Senators, governors, city and state leaders, do you have a relationship with Jesus Christ? And if so, does it show? Are you praying? You are the kings of our land, and when presented with a crisis, where do you run? It may not be politically correct to do so, but God is looking for a faithful king, not a political one. You want God to act against your enemies, then be faithful, pray, and run to him in every crisis.
If you want God is show how great he is, then pray. If you want God to act in your situation, then pray. If you want God to deliver us, then pray. If you want your enemies to be laid flat, then pray. It is time for kings to pray. Stop leaving the spiritual responsibility to someone else; stop leaving prayer to “spiritual” men. You are the leaders! Lead by prayer! If you are honest and sincere, God will respond when you pray.
And finally I want to remind our kings what Hezekiah prayed. Remember the three things we talked about. Let’s review them as they apply to us.
1) Hezekiah declared God’s greatness – always tell God how wonderful he is. This is first and foremost in prayer.
2) He asks God to hear and see the mocking of the Assyrian king. Is anyone mocking our God in Congress or any other political arena? If so, then you need to pray for God to open his eyes and ears to the mocking of our God.
3) He finally asks for God to save Judah so that all the surrounding kingdoms will know the he alone is God. This is a tough one. God does want to save us, but he also wants us to have a bigger picture than just ourselves. When you pray, consider the bigger ramifications of God moving. Pray for all the surrounding “kingdoms” to know that he alone is God.