S (Scripture): Isaiah 37:14 Hezekiah took the letters from the messengers and read them. Then he went to the temple and spread them out before the Lord. 15 Hezekiah prayed to the Lord:
16 “Lord of heavenly forces, God of Israel: you sit enthroned on the winged creatures. You alone are God over all the earth’s kingdoms. You made both heaven and earth. 17 Lord, turn your ear this way and hear! Lord, open your eyes and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words. He sent them to insult the living God! 18 It’s true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have destroyed all the nations and their lands. 19 The Assyrians burned the gods of those nations with fire because they aren’t real gods. They are only man-made creations of wood and stone. That’s how the Assyrians could destroy them. 20 So now, Lord our God, please save us from Sennacherib’s power! Then all the earth’s kingdoms will know that you alone are Lord.”
21 Then Isaiah, Amoz’s son, sent a message to Hezekiah: The Lord God of Israel says this: Since you prayed to me about Assyria’s King Sennacherib, 22 this is the message that the Lord has spoken against him:
The young woman, Daughter Zion, despises you and mocks you;
Daughter Jerusalem shakes her head behind your back.
28 I know where you are,
how you go out and come in,
and how you rage against me.
29 Because you rage against me and because your pride has reached my ears,
I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth.
I will make you go back the same way you came.
33 Therefore, the Lord says this about Assyria’s king: He won’t enter this city. He won’t shoot a single arrow here. He won’t come near the city with a shield. He won’t build a ramp to besiege it.
O (Observation): King Sennacherib is planning to attack God’s people in Israel. He has conquered many people and taken many lands. This time, he has his eyes set upon taking over the Israelites.
King Hezekiah (of Israel) hears of these threats made by the Assyrian King Sennacherib, and takes the letters which contain Sennecharib’s plans…and Hezekiah lays them out before God. Hezekiah seeks God’s discernment on this matter, which weighs heavy upon his heart.
God’s response is priceless. God says that the Assyrian’s will not get a single shot of an arrow off, let alone build a siege ramp. Reading past these verses above, you will notice that God sends his messengers to slay 145,000 Assyrian soldiers and has Sennecharib’s own sons kill King Sennecharib!
God was pleased with his people turning to God, rather than to their own strength or wisdom. In response, God protects the Israelites.
A (Application): When was the last time you relied on God? We try to be self-made people…and yet we have a God who calls us to call upon and depend upon God. The struggle we have is that we think we can make it on our own…apart from God.
We think need is a sign of weakness in this world…like if I need childcare, or money, or help fixing a car or doing taxes. Why? What if we know people who can help with these things? Isn’t that part of the reason why we have community? Aren’t we here to help each other out? If so, why the shame?
We’re not fighting an army or worrying about a pending attack, but we are facing our own challenges. The biggest struggle is likely self-image. When we think we have to rely on ourselves to get us through our problems, we will likely fail. Or worse, if we get through it and forget to thank God, we find ourselves like so many of Israel’s kings…thinking “we” did it, no thanks to God.
But I hope we can be like King Hezekiah: ready to lay out the world’s sinister plans for us, and seek God’s power and wisdom.
In doing so, we become vulnerable, but vulnerable to God’s ways, which is a good thing. We lay down our ways, and pick up God’s ways. This is God’s grace for us. A way forward that relies on God.
I was listening to a song today on the radio: Matthew West’s “Mended.” (Listen to “Mended” by clicking here.) When we lay down our ways, and instead see ourselves and the world around us through God’s eyes, we see a world waiting to be mended.
May you see the world through God’s eyes today: when we see broken, God sees mended.
P (Prayer): Lord God, we lay our plans and the world’s plans at your feet. Guide us. Save us. Amen.