Isaiah 37:9b-20 – Lessons in prayer

On realising the need to counter the Egyptian threat at the expense of his campaign against Jerusalem, Sennacherib sends a message to Hezekiah in order to make sure he doesn’t think the danger is over. The Assyrian king asserts that there is no hope for Jerusalem because she will be vanquished like numerous cities before her and her god will prove powerless in trying to protect her as other gods have done with other nations.

Once again Hezekiah goes to the temple to pray in the face of threats from the enemy. He acknowledges God as the one enthroned above all others and as the maker of the heavens and the earth. His request for deliverance is in the context of Sennacherib blaspheming the name of God. Hezekiah refers to the exploits of the Assyrians in overrunning many nations and the fact that these nations relied on gods that were not real gods at all, but mere idols made by man, before asking God in his capacity as the one true God to deliver his people.

In terms of something to learn from Hezekiah’s prayer, let’s consider the opening words of what he says to God. “O LORD Almighty, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you are alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.” The focus here is the greatness of God as the one enthroned above all things and as the creator of all things. Similar sentiments are expressed by the early Christians in the face of the threat of persecution in Acts 2:24: “When they heard this (about the threats against them), they raised their voices together in prayer to God. ‘Sovereign Lord,’ they said, ‘you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.’ ” So, whatever the scale of the crisis that we may face, it is so helpful when we come to God in our desperation to acknowledge his supremacy as creator and sovereign over all things.

Prayer: Consider the crisis we are living in at this time. Before we pray let’s remember Hezekiah’s words “O LORD Almighty, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you are alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.”

Let’s pray for those who are sick, those who have lost loved ones and those in the NHS serving in the face of danger. Remember ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’ (Matt 19:26).

Song: God immortal, invisible