I love the story told about King Hezekiah in II Kings 19. The people are under threat of attack. Assyria is on the move against them and are intent on destroying the nation and utterly badmouthing God. All seems lost.
So what does Hezekiah do? Does he run and hide under the bed? Flee the country? Stand still with his fingers in his ears and his eyes squeezed shut, hoping things will just change or go away?
Nope. He takes one of my very favorite human actions in the whole Bible. He takes the letter he’s received, goes into the temple, lays it out before God, tells the Almighty exactly what is happening, and asks for a move from the only true God “so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God.” That very night, God himself cut down 185,000 Assyrians, and the king withdrew to Nineveh.
Wow. I love that story. I love how Hezekiah knew exactly where to go. He’d made mistakes in the past in trying to defend Judah, but this time he stepped up and threw himself and the people on the mercy of the only one who could save them.
So my question is, where is our Hezekiah? Want to know? Each and every one of us should be Hezekiah. Our nation is under attack. We’re at war in the physical and in the spiritual. The media assaults us, other nations turn against us, our own government seems intent on taking care of themselves alone… The list could go on all day. So why in the world aren’t our churches full of people on their faces in prayer? Why aren’t we pounding on heaven’s gates and asking God for help, begging Him to be merciful to us? Asking Him to show that He alone is God? Why in the world are we squeezing our eyes shut, sticking our fingers in our ears, and shouting la la la la la at the top of our voices, hoping everything will just get better?
If the church is truly to church, I think we need a call to prayer, a call to do more than sit in our pews, more than offer up the pastoral prayer and move on. This calls for daily prayer, concentrated prayer, purposeful prayer. Prayer in the sanctuaries and prayer in our homes. Otherwise, we’re lost forever.