“Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent unto Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, whereas thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria. . . . I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake” (Isaiah 37:21,35).
King Hezekiah was faced with a grave national problem. With 185,000 in his army, Sennacherib was fast approaching Jerusalem to destroy it. Up to this point no nation had been able to stand in his way. All had been conquered.
Humanly speaking, Hezekiah and the kingdom of Judah could not withstand this mighty army. What should he do?
One possibility was to surrender. Rabshakeh, Sennacherib’s messenger said, “Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me” (Isaiah 36:16). Another possibility was to hire mercenaries from Egypt.
But Hezekiah did neither. Instead, he did a vitally important thing. He prayed! “And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it. . . . And Hezekiah prayed unto the LORD” (Isaiah 37:14,15). He first gives a great declaration of the attributes and works of the One to whom he was praying (v.16). He calls Him, the “LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou are the God, even thou alone . . . thou hast made heaven and earth.” He ends the prayer with two requests (v.16). “Save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only” (v.20) Both were answered. Sennacherib’s army was decimated (v.36), and we’re still speaking of it 2700 years later.
Hezekiah received the victory because he prayed. May we do the same. Prayer should never be the last resort, but the first and the best resort available to each of us. NPS