King Hezekiah, a Lesson in Faith – Part I

Text: Isaiah 36:1-22, 37:1-17 (KJV)

The text you’re reading is exhaustive but necessary to capture all of the aspects of the drama that faced Hezekiah, King of Judah. We see in these passages, intrigue, suspense, fear and the power of faith. The plot unfolds in Scene 1, as key characters enter onto the stage of his dilemma; they are Eliakim, Chief Minister of King Hezekiah; Shebna the scribe; Joah, the recorder and Isaiah the prophet. The antagonist is Sennacherib, King of Assyria and his leader and spokesperson, Rabshakeh. The director of this drama of course is the almighty God. I listed God last for affect, to draw attention to our own situations, which could very much resemble what Hezekiah faced. We have people in our lives with power and wisdom; but without spirituality and God, solutions and deliverances are not assured.

Noteworthy is the blasphemous way in which King Sennacherib characterizes God as powerless against his army. He challenges the beliefs of the Judean people and threatens them with extinction unless they deny God and succumb to him. No doubt his spokesman is convincing and the history he espouses about Assyria’s victories over other nations and their gods is thought provoking and troubling to Hezekiah’s spirit. QUESTION: Have you ever faced circumstances that were so dire and so threatening that even your closest friends, confidants or people you trust could not calm your spirit, could not give you the solution, the answer or the conclusion to the matter? I have, and I know you have as well.
In Scene II we see Hezekiah’s response to these threats; it is instructive. Isaiah 36:22 and Isaiah 37:2 record his consultation with his Chief of Staff, his Scribe, and his Priests. Hezekiah was wise to do so; nevertheless, they were unable to calm Hezekiah’s spirit. So it is with us; when we are faced with troubling life challenges. Each of us should surround ourselves with a circle of friends who are wise and spiritual to share our heavy load. The Apostle Paul advises us to do this, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ”- Galatians 6:2 (KJV). Hezekiah’s next move was commendable as well; he sent word to the prophet Isaiah. Scene III, Isaiah 37:6-7 records the prophet’s answer from God – Hezekiah will be delivered. Hezekiah was still troubled.

Scene IV- In Isaiah 37:14-20 we see the escalation of the Assyrian threat in the form of a letter from Sennacherib. This further broke King Hezekiah’s spirit and what he did next was truly remarkable. It is my belief that ministers of God are “pointers” to the ultimate power, God our creator and director. Pastors speak spiritual wisdom to their congregants but there comes a time when you need a personal conversation with God himself; and now was the time for Hezekiah to have his direct audience with God.

Scene V- Hezekiah went to the temple (the outer court, as only the priesthood could go further; he was the first king of Judah to do so in about 250 years, since the time of Solomon) and spread Sennacherib’s letter out before God and prayed mightily to him.
God heard his prayer and gave his response through the prophet Isaiah. “For I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake”-Isaiah 37:35. Oh, how strong a faith Hezekiah had; he demonstrated it so dramatically and so forcefully that God must have smiled lovingly upon his servant as he poured out his heart to him. “God knows our necessities before we ask Him, but He delights in our unfolding them to Him with filial confidence.”

QUESTION: Have you presented your letter to God? Literally, have you laid out your notice of indebtedness, your letter of an adverse medical diagnosis or your letter of incrimination from someone close to you? Better yet, have you put to pen and paper your concerns, your fears, your complex and seemingly unsolvable problems and spread them out before God? Duplicate Hezekiah’s faith; emulate his fervent trust in God to see you through. He will surely answer.

Stay tuned next month for Part II of this exceptional journey of A Lesson in Faith by Hezekiah.

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[1] Jamieson-Fausset-Brown “A Commentary, Critical, Experimental And Practical”, p. 675

Yours in Christ,

Dempsey Scott Harrison, Jr.

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