Read His Words Before Ours!
“I’m at the end of myself. The end of myself. The end of myself.
Lord, my God, every day I see again, I’m at the end of myself.”
Those lines flowed from my pen this morning. Hopelessness and despair pocked my heart like so many arrows, threatening to undo me.
Then came the lies, slowly at first, then quickening.
This trial isn’t worth the cost.
You’re losing the war.
Give up. Save yourself.
As is my learned habit when bringing the full weight of my brokenness to the Lord, I sat before Him, my tears mixing with the ink on my page, waiting for Him. When I was spent, trouble still brimming over in my soul, there was nothing left to do but wait in stillness.
I settled into the holy hush, waiting.
I knew He had heard.
I knew He had seen.
I was now an active participant in listening,
for prayer is much more about shushing than speaking.
This habit of pouring out myself in frankness before the Holy Almighty One, then awaiting His response, has grown richer over time. Its budding practice began years ago when I uncovered an Old Testament narrative of one king who gave himself completely to relying on the Lord God. (2 Kings 18:5-6)
Hezekiah was markedly different from Judah’s exceptionally wicked kings, and everyone noticed. When the popular vote swung toward evil, Hezekiah fixed His gaze unswervingly on the Faithful One and followed the Lord’s ways, effectively drowning out culture’s clamor. The consistency of Hezekiah’s faith was compared to the king known as the man after God’s own heart, David. (2 Kings 18:3) Stirred up by his love for the Holy One, Hezekiah boldly pressed against decades-old traditions and idolatrous patterns of the people of Judah. (2 Kings 18:4) Following the Lord in obedience wasn’t lip service for Hezekiah, it was the practiced pattern of his everyday life.
One doesn’t suddenly become stalwart in dependence on the Lord.
Fierce faith must be cultivated, developed, and practiced daily.
Hezekiah had been king for 14 years when King Sennacherib attacked, plenty of time to practice relying on the Lord.
The most loathsome empire, the Assyrians, known for their gruesome acts of war, had methodically moved through Judah, capturing one city after another. Terrified of seizure, Hezekiah attempted to bargain with the terrorists, even stripping the Lord’s holy temple of every shred of treasure as offering to Assyria’s king. (2 Kings 18:14-16)
The Assyrian Chief of Staff gleefully took Hezekiah’s gold and silver, then began to taunt him, relishing in calling him cowardly and his God, impotent. Next, in a brazen act of malice, he stood tall for all Jerusalem’s citizens to hear as he publicly mocked Judah’s king and fed Hezekiah’s countrymen lies in their own language. (2 Kings 18:26-28)
Slowly at first, then with gathering speed,
“What are you relying on? (…) Suppose you say to me, ‘We rely on the Lord our God’ (…) It’s the Lord who said to me, ‘Attack this land and destroy it.’” (2 Kings 18:20-25)
Lies spewed from the Chief of Staff with titanic fury;
he was enjoying his scathing mockery,
“Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you; he can’t rescue you from my power! Don’t let Hezekiah persuade you to rely on the Lord! (…) Don’t listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you saying, ‘The Lord will rescue us.’” (2 Kings 18:29-30, 32)
Silence was deafening in the wake of words that waged war before swords had been unsheathed. (2 Kings 18:36)
Sackcloth. Ashes. Fear. Trembling. Agony.
The prophet Isaiah was summoned.
The people waited for the king’s next move.
Hezekiah, with torn garments from his overwhelming grief, took the mocking letter of threats from King Sennacherib and did exactly what he’d practiced all his life.
“Hezekiah…went up to the Lord’s temple and spread it [the letter] out before the Lord. Then Hezekiah prayed before the Lord.” (2 Kings 19:14-15)
In all broken honesty and total surrender, clearly at the end of himself, Hezekiah demonstrated the ferocity of his genuine faith by praying to the “Lord God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, You are God – You alone – of all kingdoms of the earth. You made the heavens and the earth.” (2 Kings 19:15)
He proved his faith in the pattern he’d practiced.
Then Hezekiah waited.
No lightning voice from Heaven.
No scrolling pen on his wall.
He waited for the Lord to speak through the means He had ordained, His prophet, Isaiah.
Sisters, read for yourself the work of the Lord!
“That night the angel of the Lord went out and struck down one hundred eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! So King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and left.” (2 Kings 19:35-36)
The undefeatable, wiped out in moments.
The lies slain, the mocker defeated.
Truth won as faith fought with ferocious surrender.
Sisters, may our lives reflect full reliance on the Faithful God. When the enemy pursues and lies pock our hearts, let’s act with confidence by spreading out our grievances before the Holy One in prayer.
Then, let’s wait for His sure response.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!