Scripture says King Hezekiah received a troubling letter from the commander of the Assyrian army. ‘Surrender or be destroyed’ the letter said. (see Isaiah 36:18) What would you do if you received such a letter?
There were several ways King Hezekiah could have reacted to this letter. He could have ignored it; he could have tried to face his enemy on his own; or he could have gone to another country and pleaded for their help. Many of his predecessors did just this and failed. Hezekiah did what every child of God should do whenever they are faced with a difficult problem. He took his problems to the Lord and prayed over them.
“Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD: “O LORD Almighty, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God. “It is true, O LORD, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. Now, O LORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God.” (Isaiah 37:14-20)
There are four very important elements to Hezekiah’s prayer that we should note and practice:
1) He recognized the absolute power of God
2) He pleaded for God to work on his behalf
3) He prayed specifically concerning his situation, listing all the details
4) And he made the glory of God his number one priority.
How did God respond to Hezekiah’s prayer?
Then the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning– there were all the dead bodies! So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there. One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer cut him down with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king. (Isaiah 37:36-38)
Leave it there, leave it there,
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there;
If you trust and never doubt, He will surely bring you out—
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.
(‘Leave it There’ by Charles A. Tindley, 1916)