That all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Lord, are God alone
It is becoming increasingly difficult to be obedient to God’s Word without facing opposition to one degree or another. In regards to what Christians in other nations are facing, our suffering is light, though words like “intolerant” or other ad hominem attacks are to be expected. How are we to respond?
King Hezekiah stands in this period of Old Testament history as one of the few great kings – in the vein of David. Finally, we have a king who “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that David, his father, had done. He removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah…He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him.For he held fast to the LORD. He did not depart from following him, but kept the commandments that the LORD commanded Moses.” (2 Kings 18:3-6)
When his actions draw the wrath and taunts of the king of Assyria (Christian, let us assume that obedience to God will cause opposition from the world – John 15:18-25), God sends the prophet Isaiah to Hezekiah with six simple words. “Do not be afraid…I will…” (19:6-7) Here we see that the foundation of our response to opposition must be a faith in God’s ability to overcome our opposition, and that such faith drives out fear that might control our heart.
Second, we must pray in the face of opposition as Hezekiah does. Much can be learned from the prayers of righteous people. Such a prayer and such a man we find in 19:14-19. I love how it says that Hezekiah “went up to the House of the Lord and spread it before the Lord.” He did not fire off a quick and desperate prayer. There are times for these, but not when much is on the line. Rather, he took the time to go up. He was confident that the wisest use of his time was not with the generals but with the God of the Heavens. There was nothing more important. Then it says that he “spread it before the Lord.” 1 Peter 5:7 tells us that we should cast our anxieties or cares upon the Lord because He cares for us. How often do you spread your cares and concerns before your Heavenly Father and Sovereign God with the confidence that He cares and is able to work in them according to His will?
Finally, let us see the content of his prayer. Note that first he magnifies God. This is not a mere formality, but the thrust of his plea before God. It is not first for his comfort or even his salvation. This is not to say that he is not asking for salvation and vindication from his opponent, but that his salvation and vindication would be the tool for the further magnification of God’s glory. Hezekiah concludes his magnificent prayer with this plea: “So now, O LORD our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O LORD, are God alone.” In our prayers to God in the face of opposition, let us be certain to check our motivations. Is our primary concern for our comfort and safety or is it for all the earth to know that the Lord alone is God?