By Bill Hall
Hezekiah, king of Judah, had just received a letter from the king of Assyria, saying, “Give up; don’t rely upon your God; look at the other nations that have relied upon their gods; surrender.” No nation was ever more hopeless than was Judah in the face of the on-marching Assyrians. Weak and demoralized, Judah could not hope to muster even the least resistance to an Assyrian army that had devastated every nation lying in its path.
Hezekiah, having received the letter, went into the house of the Lord, spread the letter before the Lord, and prayed: “Lord, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, Lord, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib. . . . Now therefore, O Lord our God . . . . save thou us out of his hand, that all the kings of the earth may know that thou art the Lord God, even thou only” (2 Kgs. 19:14-19).
We admire Hezekiah’s faith. (1) He believed in God. Hezekiah was no atheist, for atheists do not pray. (2) He believed in a (the) living God, One who could see and hear and know. (3). He believed in a concerned God, One who, seeing the hopeless plight of Judah, would care. (4) He believed in a listening God, not one who might be asleep, or talking, or on a journey, or pursuing, but One whose “eyes are over the righteous and ears are open to their prayers.” (5) He believed in a responsive God, One who, having heard, would act in response to his request. (6) He believed in an almighty God, One who was able to do what needed to be done to save the nation from the Assyrians and to know that He alone is the true and living God.
But faith without works is dead. Suppose for a moment that Hezekiah had believed in that kind of God, but had failed to pray. What a tragedy! But Hezekiah did pray, and in response to his prayer God struck 185,000 of the Assyrian army with death, and the armies of Assyria never again came against the nation of Judah.
We believe in the same God that Hezekiah believed in, but we need to put that faith to work, learning to overcome our anxieties through prayer. “In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6,7). Peace through prayer, and freedom from anxieties! Freedom from anxieties because through prayer we cast our burdens upon the One who knows what is best and is infinitely able and willing to do what is best! And this is available to every Christian who prays in faith.
There is an attitude of heart, however, that must accompany our prayers if we are to find peace through prayer. It is that attitude expressed by Eli in 1 Samuel 3:18: “It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good.” We can never find peace through prayer as long as we are determined to have our own way. But when we finally reach the point when we are willing to lay aside our own wills and can genuinely say, “Have thine own way, Lord, have thine own way,” our anxieties can vanish. The path to peace, then, is this: a problem arises, bringing with it anxiety; we pray, turning that problem over to the Lord; we trust Him, believing that He will indeed answer our prayer in keeping with what He knows is the very best; we surrender our wills to His will; and we find peace. This is what Hezekiah did. This is what we must do.
But where is such faith to be found? “Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief.”
Guardian of Truth XXIX: 21, p. 651
November 7, 1985