"Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it. And Hezekiah went up to the house of Yahweh, and spread it before Yahweh. And Hezekiah prayed to Yahweh: 'Yahweh of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear, Yahweh, and hear. Open your eyes, Yahweh, and see, and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. Truly, Yahweh, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire. For they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. So now, Yahweh our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are Yahweh.” - Isaiah 37:14-20
Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, is threatening to destroy Jerusalem, and he has 185,000 soldiers close by. Humanly speaking, Hezekiah should give up and make peace with Sennacherib. But Sennacherib has mocked the God of Israel and compared him to the gods of all the other nations he has destroyed. To him, Yahweh is just another powerless god. But Hezekiah's reaction is beautiful. He doesn't say anything in response to Sennacherib. He quietly goes to the temple (v. 14) and spreads out Sennacherib's letter before Yahweh. In his prayer, he expresses that Yahweh alone is God. It is Yahweh alone who rules over the nations of the earth (v. 16). It is the one, true, living God Sennacherib has mocked (v. 17). Hezekiah looks to Yahweh to save Judah from Sennacherib's great army. The result will be that all the nations of the earth will know that Yahweh is the true God (v. 20). Later in the chapter, the angel of Yahweh strikes down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians (v. 36)
We live in a day of religious pluralism, when many, perhaps a majority, believe all religions lead by different routes to the same god. There are many logical problems with this view. For example, the world's major religions contradict one another on key points, like the deity of Jesus or whether god is one or many. They cannot all be correct. As Christians, we have solid reasons to believe the God of the Bible is the one, true God. The greatest proof is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, in accordance with the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. It is this one, true God, Yahweh, to whom we must look for deliverance from sin and death. We are to take our problems straight to the true God, just as Hezekiah did. Only the one, true God can deliver.
Father, help me to take my problems and issues straight to you and trust you to deal with them. Like Hezekiah, may I "spread the letter" before you. If I receive bad news, such as in an email, may I lay it out before you and let you deal with it. Help your people to grow in faith during this time. Be with all my fellow believers in New Zealand. Help them to develop a true biblical theology and to see things from your perspective. Show yourself mighty in our day, that all the nations may know that you are the true, living God. In Jesus' name, amen.
- Jeff Coleman