I just love that God bends down to listen when you and I talk with him. I want you to think about when your child was little, and maybe they were even first learning how to talk, and you would bend down to listen because every syllable was precious. You are God’s child and that’s how he views you. That’s how much he cares about you, and he wants to hear everything on your heart. I’m so glad you’re here because today you and I get to meet a man named Hezekiah. You’re going to hear him talk about how he knows that God bends down to listen when he prays. And oh boy, he was in need of some answered prayer. So, join me as we read this riveting Bible story together.
Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!
Oh, don’t you love the words of the psalmist in Psalm 116? That’s verse two. Welcome to the Bible for Busy People. I’m Erica, and I just love that God bends down to listen when you and I talk with him. I want you to think about when your child was little, and maybe they were even first learning how to talk, and you would bend down to listen because every syllable was precious. You are God’s child and that’s how he views you. That’s how much he cares about you, and he wants to hear everything on your heart. I’m so glad you’re here because today you and I get to meet a man named Hezekiah. You’re going to hear him talk about how he knows that God bends down to listen when he prays. And oh boy, he was in need of some answered prayer. So, join me as we read this riveting Bible story together. This really happened. Join me in Second King’s chapter 18. Beginning in verse one.
Hezekiah, son of Ahaz began to rule over Judah in the third year of King Hoshea’s reign in Israel. He was 25 years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem 29 years. His mother was Abijah,[a] the daughter of Zechariah. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight just as his ancestor David had done. He removed the pagan shrines, smashed the sacred pillars, and cut down the Asherah polls. He broke up the bronze serpent that Moses had made because the people of Israel had been offering sacrifices to it. The bronze serpent was called Nehushtan. Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before or after his time. He remained faithful to the Lord in everything, and he carefully obeyed all the commands the Lord had given Moses. So the Lord was with him, and Hezekiah was successful in everything he did. He revolted against the king of Assyria and refused to pay him tribute. He also conquered the Philistines as far distant as Gaza and its territory, from their smallest outpost to their largest walled city.
This is a man who is confident because he trusts in the Lord. Now, I wish that the story ended there, but boy, the road got rocky for Hezekiah after what you and I just read. The Israelites were in a tug of war between the king of Assyria and following their God. They refused to listen to God and obey him. So, the Assyrians invaded Judah and threatened Jerusalem. The king of Assyria delivered a frightening message to the people of Israel. I can sum it up in verse 35.
What God of any nation has ever been able to save its people from my power?
Because this is the Bible for Busy People, we’re going to move on to the next chapter, second King’s chapter 19, beginning in verse one.
When King Hezekiah heard their report, he tore his clothes and put on burlap and went into the temple of the Lord and he sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna, the court secretary, and the leading priests all dressed in burlap to the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz. They told him this is what king Hezekiah says: Today is a day of trouble, insults and disgrace. It is like when a child is ready to be born, but the mother has no strength to deliver the baby. But perhaps the Lord your God has heard the Assyrian chief of staff sent by the king to defy the living God and will punish him for his words. Oh, pray for those of us who are left. After King Hezekiah’s officials deliver the king’s message to Isaiah, the prophet replied, say to your master, this is what the Lord says. Do not be disturbed by this blasphemous speech against me from the Assyrian king’s messengers. Listen, I myself will move against him and the king will receive a message that he is needed at home. So he will return to his land where I will have him killed with a sword. Meanwhile, the Assyrian chief of staff left Jerusalem and went to consult the king of Assyria, who had left Lachish and was attacking Libnah. Soon afterward King Sennacherib received word that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia was leading an army to fight against him. Before leaving to meet the attack, he sent messengers back to Hezekiah in Jerusalem with this message: This message is for King hezeki of Judah. Don’t let your God in whom you trust deceive you with promises that Jerusalem will not be captured by the king of Assyria. You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way. Why should you be any different? Have the gods of other nations rescued them – such nations as Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Tel-assar? My predecessors destroyed them all! What happened to the king of Hamath and the king of Arpad? What happened to the kings of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?
The king of Assyria’s serious voice sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Think about the times the enemy has come against you and said, you really can’t trust God in his promises. Look what I can offer you. Peace at all costs at any price, and we know that that is a false promise. All right, we pick up the story now in verse 14.
After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the Lord’s temple and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the Lord, O Lord God of Israel. You are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth. Bend down, oh Lord, and listen. Open your eyes, oh Lord, and see. Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God. It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations, and they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course, the Assyrians could destroy them. They were not Gods at all. Only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands. Now, oh Lord, our God rescue us from his power. Then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone. Oh Lord our God.
Did you hear the faith in King Hezekiah’s prayer? He trusted in the Lord his God against all the odds. And we know like King Hezekiah, that we can lean into the promises of God and trust that he will take care of us, regardless of the odds. Tomorrow, join me for part two of King Hezekiah’s story. It’s so powerful. Till then you are loved.
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