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Hezekiah was the king of the Southern Kingdom (Judah). He was in the capital city of Jerusalem with the Massive And Powerful Assyrian Army surrounding the city.
The Assyrians proposed surrender and cited several deceptive ways that surrender would be in the best interests of the king and his people.
If there was ever an occasion for a 911 emergency call to God, this was one. The way Hezekiah prayed is excellent instruction for everyone who needs to pray in desperation to God.
The king recognized that only God could change the situation with Assyria.
Hezekiah was most certainly the best-dressed man in Jerusalem, but he reduced himself to being clothed in the garments of a beggar. His approach to God was one of great humility.
“When King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord” (Isaiah 37.1).
The king knew what Peter later expressed, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5.5).
Hezekiah described their desperate situation and said, “This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and disgrace; children have come to the birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth” (Isaiah 37.3).
There is very little pain that can compare to a woman who has gone through the labor only to have a deceased child. All of Judah’s preparation to combat the Assyrian army was similar to this picture.
Powerful emergency praying begins with humility and a recognition that only God can bring about the desired result. We have nothing to bring before God except our need for his grace.
Preparation for Prayer
The opening words of the king’s prayer are very instructive. Each phrase should be seriously considered.
He prayed, “O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, you are God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth” (Isaiah 37.16).
(1) O Lord of hosts, God of Israel – The hosts of heaven, who comprise all of the created beings that do God’s bidding in the heavenly realm, recognize that God is supreme.
Hezekiah did not approach God lightly. He tore and removed his royal robe, put on sackcloth, and recognized the One True Sovereign.
This great God chose Israel and made the Hebrews his people.
When we speak to God in prayer, he graciously allows us to have a friendship relationship with him. Yet, he remains the awesome Lord of heaven and earth and should receive the honor that is due him.
(2) The cherubim are part of the heavenly host. They are pictured in the one place where “heaven touches earth,” as my YouTube partner Rudy Ross states.
The Most Holy Place in the Temple contained the Ark of the Covenant. Inside the Ark were the Ten Commandments.
The covering of the Ark was called the Mercy Seat. It was upon the Mercy Seat that the High Priest offered sacrificial blood on the Day of Passover.
The Temple was a mirror of heaven, so there were golden cherubim that covered the Mercy Seat, just as there were cherubim in heaven.
The image presented in the Temple was that the Ten Commandments cry out about our sins. The sacrificial blood is placed on the Day of Passover on the Mercy Seat. By God’s grace, he forgives us and meets us there.
Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice and we can now approach God because of his love and mercy.
As we pray, we recall that everything we hope to receive is only because of God’s grace. The words of Hebrews encourage us to pray.
“Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4.16).
(3) You are God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth.
The Assyrian army was 185,000 strong. They had defeated one nation after another. Hezekiah knew they intended to defeat the forces of Judah.
Hezekiah also knew that he was talking to the Creator God, who made the heavens and the earth. God was and is far greater than the armies of the nations.
As we humbly come before God with our pressing concern, we fortify our strength by confessing that God is Lord, he is gracious, and he can act on our behalf.
The spiritual preparation to this point builds faith because it centers on our relationship with God and his willingness to act on behalf of his people.
The next step is a brief request for God’s help.
“So now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord” (Isaiah 37.20).
There are two aspects in the king’s request.
(1) God’s help – It is perfectly appropriate to ask God for his help. Jesus gave his followers multiple promises and examples concerning prayer.
During the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.
“For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7.7-8).
(2) God’s reputation – The king of Assyria dishonored God with a claim that God was no different from the gods of the nations he had defeated.
Hezekiah’s greatest concern was that God’s reputation is upheld. He wanted the taunt from the enemy king to be revealed as worthless and wrong.
When God answers the prayers of his people, he demonstrates his love, power, and willingness to be involved in the lives of people.
It should not surprise us that the greatest prayer of all time begins with these words, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6.9).
As God comes to our rescue and delivers us from difficulties, his name or reputation is made significant in people’s eyes.
About This Blog
Rudy Ross is an excellent student of Isaiah. Rudy and I have a video you can see on the Bob Spradling YouTube Chanel.
Rudy will bring a different dimension to Isaiah than what is in my blog. I hope you will check out and enjoy my interviews with him.
I am indebted to a book by Dr. John Oswalt on Isaiah for his insights into this powerful book.
If you have a prayer request, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood Baptist prayer team will pray for you.