Sennacherib and the Prayer of Hezekiah-Isaiah 36-37

Sennacherib and the Prayer of Hezekiah-Isaiah 36-37

     We live in similar times and face similar situations. The Bible is as relevant today as it was for Hezekiah. Why do people pray? Either it is a habit (Jesus got up early to pray-Mk 1:35) or you pray when trouble comes. Hezekiah reigned as king over Judah (about 720-687 b.c.). The Northern and Southern Kingdoms were divided. Sennacherib had conquered all surrounding nations and had just defeated the Northern Kingdom seated in Samaria. Sennacherib’s armies had already invaded Judah and one by one the cities had fallen. Now Sennacherib sent out his propaganda through his messenger Rabshakah (his name is listed in the Hebrew Bible). Assyria was the strongest power at that time and had never lost a battle. Rabshakah tells the truth about his army. What he tells the officers of Hezekiah was 4 warnings and 2 advisements.

Warnings     

1) Don’t trust in the Lord v. 4. 

2) Don’t depend on any help (they have all been defeated) v. 6, 18-20, 37:12-13

3) Don’t depend on your religious acts v. 7  

4)  Don’t listen to your King Hezekiah v. 13-20

Advisements

1)  Just make a bargain with us and you will be treated OK (we will give you 2,000 horses and peace)  v. 8-9

2) Your God said to destroy you. (God is using to carry out His plan) v. 10. Rabshakah speaks to everyone in Hebrew to create fear in the people.

Hezekiah’s first prayer begins in Chapter 37

Look at this prayer and may it help us in our time of need. God does good things when God’s people call and do their part in prayer.

1. A humble heart – 37:1  Hezekiah presents himself to God as a beggar-he tore his clothes

2. A healthy faith – 37:1  Hezekiah goes to the temple

3. A helpful companion – 37:5  Hezekiah sent others to the prophet Isaiah

4. A honest confession –  37:3  Hezekiah calls it a day of distress (like childbirth when strength is gone)

5. A holy request – 37:4  Hezekiah asks for the name of the Lord to be victorious (not even for Judah now)

Isaiah responds quickly with the word of the Lord. Do not be afraid. Things go from bad to worse-now the Egyptian army is marching toward Assyria and Judah is in the middle. Rabshakah says Egypt will not stand and it would better for Hezekiah to just gave up.

Hezekiah prays a second time (enemies on both sides). Listen to his prayer this time.

1.  Adoration-“Lord God, Almighty, God of Israel, enthroned between the Cherubims, You are God alone” v. 16

2.  Authority-“over the kingdoms of the earth. You made heaven and earth.” v. 16

3.  Awareness–“Give ear, see and listen” v. 17. This doesn’t mean that God doesn’t hear, see or listen. He doesn’t pray to God for help but states that the name of the Lord has been insulted. 

4.  Acknowledge-Other nations have nothing but wood and stone statues but we have the Lord God. v. 18-19

5.  Asking-Deliver us so your name will be exalted v.20. 

God answers prayer but not always in the same way and the same time.

            Instant – God gave Isaiah the answer immediately

            Weeks – case of Daniel, he waited for 21 days

            Years – the case of Zachariah and Elizabeth (parents of John the Baptist) 

Do you feel a sense of trouble in your world? Have you already prayed once and things got worse?

1.) Who do you really trust in?

2.) Where do you go for help? 

Do you see a difference in the first and second prayer of Hezekiah? The first one was panic. The second was trust. The first one wants the remnant to survive-v.4. The second prayer wants God to be glorified in all the earth-v.20.

The Key is now found in v. 21 – “Because you have prayed…”

God says to the enemy, I know where you live  and your insolent words v. 28. God heard the prayer of Hezekiah. “I will put a hook in their nose, bit in their mouth and send them home.”God says to Hezekiah. You will eat the fruit of your land for years v. 30-32. The angel of the Lord struck down the army overnight v. 36 and then his sons killed Sennacherib v. 38

  1. The more you prayer, the more you learn about prayer.
  2. Prayer is much more about God’s glory in your life and situation than getting you out of trouble.
  3. Prayer is best understood when it is a habit and not just a safety measure.


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