He may have felt like it was the end, but he didn’t behave like it was. Yes, he was frustrated. Yes, he felt fruitless. The kingdom he'd work to build had been stripped of it of its wealth. The God he'd elevated at the expense of destroying idolatry had not protected the Judean cities from invasion. In spite of Hezekiah's righteous choices, an Assyrian army camped outside the city walls, siege sparking fear of starvation. In the moment that there should have been festivities of victory, everything was falling apart.
Hezekiah had begun his reign with zeal, enthusiastic about pursuing the one true God. He’d eagerly embraced the plan of God, visions of the mighty things he and God could do together filling his mind. His efforts had been expectant, full of hope and promise. He didn’t set out to fail. Therefore, when it seemed like everything had been in vain, like the enemy was going to win and there was no ability to bring forth the promise, he mustered up the same faith that had launched his hopes in the first place. His approach to the problem squashed the power of feelings. We can handle the pain hammering against our hopes the same way.
1. Hezekiah tore his garment and put on sackcloth. He didn’t come to God with his list of achievements. He prepared his attitude before he approached God. Kingly robes and personal identity aren’t what matter when the enemy attacks. God does. And neither Hezekiah nor we can receive God’s help if we are already confident in our own sufficiency. A prepared heart is willing to submit to the will and methods of God, which often fail to make sense to us.
2. He went to the house of the Lord. Drawing close to God’s presence when we are our weakest is our greatest source of strength. The Lord’s house was a place of worship, prayer, and sacrifice. Prayer, fasting, and worship are further means whereby we magnify our perception of God and His limitlessness and minimize the influence of our feelings that insist it is pointless to go on.
3. He sought a word from God. While he was authentic about his feelings, he wasn’t blinded by them. He asked for a word from God. When our faith is under attack, we must act as if it is not. We don’t put down the Word. We pick it up and pursue God. Faith comes by hearing the Word. When feelings declare there is not hope, and indeed, situations seem to back up those feelings, we can’t forsake the source of feeding our faith. It was the men who’d dealt with the threats who were sent to the prophet Isaiah for a word from God. The area that the enemy uses to speak lies into our spirit are the very areas we have to put in the presence of the Word. If he says we don’t matter, then we subject that whisper to God’s declaration that He knew us before He formed us, that he has a future for us, that we are so loved Christ died for us, etc… These men were the first to hear Rabshakeh’s boasts, and the first to hear God’s words that would undercut the taunts that had been spoken.
Our adversary is a stealing, killing, destroying foe. He wants to steal our dreams, kill our hopes, and destroy our lives, but what he wants and what he gets do not have to be the same thing. When we turn our thoughts away from him and away from ourselves and look to God, we demolish the enemy’s greatest weapon—our agreement with him. Though our feelings may nod affirmingly to what our foe says, our faith can turn a different direction, to the voice of truth, which declares, “Don’t give up! Keep pushing! You can make it! God’s got this!” We push against the enemy when we push toward God, and in our weakness, God’s strength prevails. Our trust turns to triumph, and we hold in our arms a miracle that makes the trial worth it all.
Tip/Tidbit: Let faith, not feelings, determine your actions today.