“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6
Have you ever had a letter containing bad news that made you fearful, anxious, or kept you awake at night with worry? Perhaps it was bad news from your doctor? Or maybe your position at work was hanging in the balance? How did you feel, when you read that bad news?
Sometimes our first response to bad news is to panic; allowing fear and anxiety to grip our hearts.
I read a story the following story this morning of someone who received bad news and did not allow fear to get its tentacles around his heart; King Hezekiah.
The Assyrian King Sennacherib was a name that instilled terror; he was known for his brutality. His army had pillaged, plundered raped and murdered its way across that entire region in the most unbelievably cruel ways, and he had now sent a message to the Godly King Hezekiah of Judah that he was preparing to destroy Jerusalem. His message boasted that Judah would be no different from all the other nations he had conquered.
Sennacherib’s first evil tactic was to try to break down the morale of the people with a verbal attack from his messengers, trying to cause them to believe they had no hope. You can read the story in 2 Kings 18:19–37
Next, when that didn’t seem to be working and Hezekiah had continued to trust in the Lord, Sennacherib sent a message to King Hezekiah to say he was on his way! He went on to say words to this effect in his message; just so you know, Hezekiah, all the other nations I’ve raped killed and pillaged also claimed that their gods would help them. So don’t think your God will save you!
Our enemy the devil looks for every way to break down morale; from accusations – the Bible calls Him the accuser – to just plain tiredness and distractions that take our eyes off God.
Spread it out” before the Lord”
Hezekiah took the message to the temple in Jerusalem, and there he “spread it out before the Lord” 2Kings 19:14 asking God for help. His prayer ends with “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.” 2Kings 19:19
‘BECAUSE YOU PRAYED’
Straight away, God sent a prophetic word to Hezekiah, through Isaiah, to bring comfort, hope, strength and reassurance of The Lord’s continued presence and help. It’s the beginning of The Lord’s words that captured my heart this morning – “Because you prayed.” (Isaiah 37:21)
When we read on, we see that Hezekiah’s prayer was answered that very night. God intervened, conquering the enemy forces outside the city gates. Not only would the Assyrian army not set foot in Jerusalem, they would never even “shoot an arrow” 2 Kings 19:32 Sennacherib would leave Jerusalem, never to return.
Whatever you might be facing today, take it to The Lord our God, “spread it out before Him”, and ask Him for his help. He has promised that He will never leave you or forsake you; that He “will not leave us as orphans.” He’s the God who is always near.
“Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” Psalm 50:14,15
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