Faith Under Fire

Isaiah 36 & 37

Trouble will come.  Even to the faithful.  Hezekiah proves that in our reading today.  He had been a faithful king, returning the land to God.  He restored the temple and reorganized the priests to present it as a holy place for God.  He brought worship back, providing sacrifices and burnt offerings to God.  He reinstituted the Passover, commanding all of Judah to participate.  Hezekiah was faithful in all he did.  “He did what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God. And every work that he undertook in the service of the house of God and in accordance with the law and the commandments, seeking his God, he did with all his heart and prospered” (2 Chronicles 31:20-21).  And yet, trouble came.

As we read today, Hezekiah’s faithful kingdom came under attack by Sennacherib, the king of Assyria.  He attached them where they were most vulnerable, in their faith.  Threatening to take their city and kill everyone, Sennacherib argued that God could not and would not save them.  That he would be just like the god’s of other cities that he had easily overthrown.  Why would it be different, he asked.  His talk rattled the city and sent fear through their leader, Hezekiah.  This is where faith and leadership collide.

While he may have been overcome with fear, Hezekiah knew where to put his hope.  First, as we see in Isaiah 37, Hezekiah seeks wisdom.  It is important to note who Hezekiah seeks wisdom from.  It was Isaiah, his most trusted prophet.  He knew that Isaiah was a Godly man that would give him direction from the Lord.  When the words of Isaiah were brought to him, Hezekiah’s faith was quickly restored.  This restored faith resulted in further action.  Prayer.

Something strikes me about Hezekiah’s prayer.  It is all about God.  Hezekiah is reaffirming who God is.  He acknowledges his most high position and sovereignty.  Hezekiah invokes God’s power not for his own salvation and maintenance of his kingdom, but for God’s sake alone.  Hezekiah’s true faith allowed God to prove to the world that He alone is Lord.

As I reflect on Hezekiah’s actions, I wonder about my own faith.  When I encounter trouble, do I invoke God for my own salvation, or do I see the opportunity for God to expand his kingdom?  If you have trouble in your life today, consider praying, as Hezekiah did.