Because You Prayed
Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria,
this is the word the Lord has spoken against him.
Sennacherib, the king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. He was undefeatable. He thought himself unstoppable. He sent a field commander with a large army to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. He had a long message delivered loudly for all the people to hear. It basically said not to trust Hezekiah for he was lying to them. Instead make peace with the king of Assyria and then they would be taken care of. He attacked God when he told the people that the Lord could not deliver them. No god had ever been able to stop the King of Assyria from taking what he wanted. What a mistake to compare false gods to the living Almighty God.
In the natural, King Hezekiah knew it to be true…that Assyria had always prevailed. Hezekiah could have cowered in fear, but instead he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes and went into the temple of the Lord. He sent some of his men to see Isaiah and relay the message and add his own “two cents”…
This day is a day of trouble, insults, and disgrace. It is like when a child is ready to be born, but the mother has no strength to deliver the baby. But perhaps the Lord your God has heard the Assyrian chief of staff, sent by the king to defy the living God, and will punish him for his words. Oh, pray for those of us who are left!
God assured Hezekiah through the prophet, Isaiah, that He would fight for them and win…
Do not be disturbed by this blasphemous speech against me for the Assyrian king’s messengers.
Listen! I myself will move against him, and the king will receive a message that he is needed at home. So he will return to his land, where I will have him killed with a sword.
He gave him detailed information as to what would happen, but doesn’t give an exact time frame. Look what happens next. Often, when we receive a promise from God, it does not happen immediately. The enemy comes to try and confuse us and cause us to doubt and fear. And this is exactly what happened in this situation. Hezekiah received a letter from Sennecherib again vowing to destroy them, taunting him for believing in his God.
Don’t let your God, in whom you trust, deceive you with promises that Jerusalem will not be captured by the king of Assyria. You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way! Why should you be any different.
This time Hezekiah went to the temple and spread the letter out before the Lord. And this is what he prayed:
O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth. Bend down, O Lord, and listen! Open your eyes, O Lord, and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God. It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations. And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They are not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands. Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O Lord, are God.
There are three things I think apply to us and our situation.
First, Hezekiah sent his men to Isaiah and God told him through Isaiah that He would defeat Sennacherib and how he would do it. There is nothing wrong with this way, but when Sennacherib sent the letter threatening to destroy them, Hezekiah didn’t remember the promise. Not until he himself prayed, did God’s words take root. Instead of telling Isaiah that maybe God would punish the Assyrian chief of staff for defying God, he told God to listen to the words of defiance against the living God. We too, have to talk to God ourselves and not merely talk about our situation.
Expect God to speak to you. Expect Him to respond and come to your rescue and be your strong tower and place of safety. Let His words and promises take root. Don’t give into the enemy’s fear tactics and seeming delay by God. It isn’t a delay. It is a plan. God has a plan and it is good. The enemy wants to steal your peace and joy; he wants to destroy your faith and kill your hope. But just like Hezekiah went before the Lord instead of using human reasoning or giving into fear and doom, we too can find our peace and strength in God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
Have faith and know that because you prayed, God is moving. No matter how long it takes, we will remain faithful in hope and prayer. We are pushing back the darkness, giving God room to do His mighty work. Our prayers work as roadblocks to keep the enemy at bay. God has a part for us to play and that is through our prayers. God didn’t answer Hezekiah’s prayer immediately. It took 3 years. Some of you have been praying longer, but sometimes it takes longer. Only God knows. Until then, we have His promises to stand on.