The Proper Response to Disturbing News

Praying Through the Bible #80

TEXT: Isaiah 37:1-4

Today, we come to a narrative portion of the book of the prophet Isaiah. This portion of Isaiah has to do with King Hezekiah of Judah. Hezekiah was the sixteenth king of Judah. He reigned during the time of the divided kingdom, when Israel had her own king and Judah had her own king. For the most part, Hezekiah was a good king who led the nation in the proper worship of God. He destroyed the idols and pagan altars that previous wicked kings had set up. He renewed the celebration of the Passover. The Bible says that Hezekiah “did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father did…He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. For he clave to the Lord, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses.”

Hezekiah was a good king who ruled his kingdom well. However, Isaiah informs us that one day, Hezekiah received some bad news.

1. Hezekiah receives bad news. The Bible says, “And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it…” What did King Hezekiah hear? If we flip back to Isaiah 37, we find that the King of Assyria was on a war campaign in the region. He had fought against and conquered several of the small nations around Judah, and now he had turned his attention to Judah. While he was battling in southern part of Judah, he sent “a great host” under the command of Rab-sha-keh to lay siege on Jerusalem.

2. Hezekiah responds to the bad news. Verse 1 of our passage tells us that not only did Hezekiah tear his clothes and cover himself in sackcloth, but he also “went into the house of the Lord.”

3. Hezekiah obtains reinforcement against the bad news. Verse 2 says, “And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests covered with sackcloth, unto Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz.” Hezekiah sends some of his officials to inform Isaiah about what is going on. They tell Isaiah “It may be the Lord thy God will hear the words of Rab-sha-keh…and will reprove the words which the Lord thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that is left.”

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