And you thought you had problems… Looking out his window, all Hezekiah could see were invading troops, about 200 thousand of them. These ferocious, slobbering knuckle-draggers had been stomping through Israel, picking off one fortified town after another, until only Jerusalem was left. The people of Jerusalem were holed up inside the walls, shaking in their sandals, as the commander of the troops outside loudly boasted about how mighty they were and how weak and untrustworthy King Hezekiah and his God were. He told them, “Give up and come out and I’ll make sure you have wonderful farms and vineyards, or stay inside the walls and wind up eating your own feces.” And then he sent a copy of his threats directly to the king.
Maybe you thought being a king would be a pretty cushy job, with all sorts of kingly perks. But Hezekiah was definitely having a bad day. What to do? How would you have handled the situation? Here’s what he did:
“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. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord.” (Isaiah 37:14-15)
I’m struck by the simplicity and humility of that act. He took the letter, filled with threats and insults, and he opened it up and spread it out before God. So often, when we are faced with problems we can’t solve, if we do pray we act as though we know what is needed. “O Lord, here’s what I think You need to do…” Hezekiah’s action said, “Lord, I haven’t got the slightest idea about how to get through this; I’m turning it over to You.”
I’m moved by that. How much better, when we pray, to simply share with God the details of how we see our situation. “Lord, they said I’d probably be laid off tomorrow and I can’t imagine how I’ll make ends meet.” “Father, the doctors have said they have done everything they know to do…” “Oh God, I don’t know where my son is right now and I’m scared.” Then let Him be God.
By the way, if you read through the rest of Isaiah 37, you’ll see how that all worked out. It was pretty cool…