May 19

Hezekiah, Part 7

II Kings 19:14-20 And 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.

Jesus told His disciples how to pray in the Gospels with what we call The Lord’s Prayer. In the Old Testament, Hezekiah provides a great model. Hezekiah received a letter from the Assyrians with threats and pronouncements about their power to overcome other lands, with blasphemous words similar to those in II Kings 18.

Earlier, Hezekiah had entered the Temple and had sought the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah. Now he prays one of the most heartfelt and instructive prayers in the whole Bible:

“O LORD God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are 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 reproach the living God. Truly, 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 destroyed them. Now therefore, O LORD our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the LORD God, You alone.” (II Kings 19:15-19)

Notice how the king begins not with his request, or even his situation, but with God. He is recalibrating his own heart as he first connects with the Lord, giving Him the honor and praise He deserves. See how similar to Jesus’ words: “Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed by thy name….”

Then Hezekiah gets honest about the reality of his situation. He doesn’t get “religious” or try to minimize things to seem holy, but continues pouring out his heart about the real danger in front of him: the Assyrians had been successful up until now. Without God’s help, Judah would be another conquest.

Then, after putting his eyes and heart on the Lord, and getting real about what was going on, then and only then does Hezekiah ask the Lord for anything: “Now therefore, O LORD our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the LORD God, You alone.”

He lifts a simple but powerful request up to God. No torrent of words, no begging. After connecting with God, Hezekiah knows who God is to him and his country. He knows God’s power. And to cap it off, look at Hezekiah’s reason for his request: that others would know that He was the Lord God, Him alone. Not just that he and his nation would be saved, but that God would be greatly glorified. This is a powerful prayer from a transformed heart!

Prayer: Father, may I learn from Hezekiah how to pray. Let me see you in Your glory and power before I pour out my heart to you, and may my honest prayers be motivated by a desire that You be glorified above all else. Amen.


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