Keep on Praying! (2 Kings 18-20)

Friday, November 11

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Watch out!  The Assyrians who just attacked and captured Israel are now on the doorstep of Judah, ready to do the same to the smaller neighbor to the south.  Judah is shaking in their boots – and wearing sackcloth – and PRAYING.  The Assyrian king sends a letter of doom to Hezekiah, King of Judah, in which he also questions the power of Judah’s God (big mistake).  Hezekiah goes directly to the temple and prays for his country:

Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God. 17 “It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. 18 They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. 19 Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God.”      2 Kings 19:15-19

The prophet Isaiah sends a message to Hezekiah that God has heard his prayer.  And sure enough – THAT night a miraculous answer is given.  An angel of the Lord puts to death 85,000 Assyrian soldiers, and the rest run away in the morning.

All looks great – until Hezekiah becomes deathly ill.  And so, Hezekiah prays:

“Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

and God hears and answers and Hezekiah is told he will be given 15 more years of life.   When bold Hezekiah asks for a sign to be sure this is true, the shadow cast by the sun moves backward 10 steps!  This healing was no mere coincidence or just really good medicine at work.

Talk about some power in prayer!  Wouldn’t you love to go to a class on prayer taught by Hezekiah.  Prayer is powerful because the God Hezekiah prayed to is so powerful!  There is no enemy or illness too strong for the Almighty God!

So, what about when we faithfully pray for our crisis to be fixed and the answer is no or not now?  The enemy wins or the illness brings death?  Is it because God isn’t powerful enough?  NO.  Or perhaps we weren’t good enough?  NO, not necessarily.  Just a few chapters ago we were reading of Elisha, the God-fearing, power-praying prophet who performed many miracles: parting the water, healing leprosy, feeding a hundred men with just 20 loaves of bread, changing the deadly stew to nourishing, making the ax-head float and the oil over-flowing AND raising a boy from the dead!   Elisha was no doubt a man of God and God answered his prayers in mighty ways time and time again.  However in 2 Kings 13:14 we read “Now Elisha was suffering from the illness from which he died.”  Even on his deathbed he delivers another message from God to the king of Israel.  Then, he died.  And even in death his bones were powerful enough to raise the life of another (2 Kings 13:21).   Sometimes the miracle even comes after death – in the lives of others.

Not only is God all-powerful but He is also all-knowing and all-wise.  And, sometimes that means the good die or the enemy has a victorious day.  In 2 Kings 19 after Hezekiah prays for deliverance for his country, Isaiah delivers a message from God against the attacking Assyrians.  He says: “Have you not heard?  Long ago I ordained it.  In days of old I planned it; now I have brought it to pass, that you have turned fortified cities into piles of stone…but I know where you stay and when you come and go…and I will make you return by the way you came” (19:25,27,28)

God has got this.  Nothing He doesn’t see.  Nothing He doesn’t know. Nothing He doesn’t know how to handle.  He sees the big picture.  He IS the big picture.  Rest in that knowledge.  Pray big to the Almighty, just as Elisha and Hezekiah did.  You just might  witness a miracle!  Or it might be a day ordained for the enemy to win or the prophet of God to die.  Either way – God is God and He is all-powerful, all-knowing and all-wise.

Keep on Praying!

Marcia Railton

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