Read Isaiah 37
Jerusalem’s Deliverance Foretold
37 When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the Lord. 2 He sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and the leading priests, all wearing sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. 3 They told him, “This is what Hezekiah says: This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the moment of birth and there is no strength to deliver them. 4 It may be that the Lord your God will hear the words of the field commander, whom his master, the king of Assyria, has sent to ridicule the living God, and that he will rebuke him for the words the Lord your God has heard. Therefore pray for the remnant that still survives.”
5 When King Hezekiah’s officials came to Isaiah, 6 Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard—those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. 7 Listen! When he hears a certain report, I will make him want to return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.’”
8 When the field commander heard that the king of Assyria had left Lachish, he withdrew and found the king fighting against Libnah.
9 Now Sennacherib received a report that Tirhakah, the king of Cush, was marching out to fight against him. When he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah with this word: 10 “Say to Hezekiah king of Judah: Do not let the god you depend on deceive you when he says, ‘Jerusalem will not be given into the hands of the king of Assyria.’ 11 Surely you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the countries, destroying them completely. And will you be delivered? 12 Did the gods of the nations that were destroyed by my predecessors deliver them—the gods of Gozan, Harran, Rezeph and the people of Eden who were in Tel Assar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath or the king of Arpad? Where are the kings of Lair, Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah?”
14 Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: 16 “Lord Almighty, 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. 17 Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.
18 “It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands. 19 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. 20 Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Lord, are the only God.”
21 Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria, 22 this is the word the Lord has spoken against him:
“Virgin Daughter Zion
despises and mocks you.
tosses her head as you flee.
23 Who is it you have ridiculed and blasphemed?
Against whom have you raised your voice
and lifted your eyes in pride?
Against the Holy One of Israel!
24 By your messengers
you have ridiculed the Lord.
And you have said,
‘With my many chariots
I have ascended the heights of the mountains,
the utmost heights of Lebanon.
I have cut down its tallest cedars,
the choicest of its junipers.
I have reached its remotest heights,
the finest of its forests.
25 I have dug wells in foreign lands
and drunk the water there.
With the soles of my feet
I have dried up all the streams of Egypt.’
26 “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.
27 Their people, drained of power,
are dismayed and put to shame.
They are like plants in the field,
like tender green shoots,
like grass sprouting on the roof,
scorched before it grows up.
28 “But I know where you are
and when you come and go
and how you rage against me.
29 Because you rage against me
and because your insolence has reached my ears,
I will put my hook in your nose
and my bit in your mouth,
and I will make you return
by the way you came.
30 “This will be the sign for you, Hezekiah:
“This year you will eat what grows by itself,
and the second year what springs from that.
But in the third year sow and reap,
plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
31 Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah
will take root below and bear fruit above.
32 For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant,
and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.
33 “Therefore this is what the Lord says concerning the king of Assyria:
“He will not enter this city
or shoot an arrow here.
He will not come before it with shield
or build a siege ramp against it.
34 By the way that he came he will return;
he will not enter this city,”
declares the Lord.
35 “I will defend this city and save it,
for my sake and for the sake of David my servant!”
36 Then the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! 37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there.
38 One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisrok, his sons Adrammelek and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king.
There is much to unpack in Isaiah 37, but today, we will focus on verses 14-20 where we read about Hezekiah’s prayer for deliverance.
Hezekiah receives a letter from the King of the Assyrians telling him and his people not to trust in God for deliverance and promising that Judah will be defeated. What does Hezekiah do with this news? He marches up to the “house of the Lord” and “spread[s] it before the Lord.” Hezekiah’s faith in this moment is an example to us of how we should operate. He could have just ripped the letter up, laughed it off, or even tried to reason with himself about how it couldn’t be true.
Instead, Hezekiah immediately takes it to the Lord and lays it at His feet. He doesn’t try to fight on his own strength, but rather invites the Lord, the only one powerful enough to bring victory, into his battle. Hezekiah gives us a real-life example of 1 Peter 5:7, which calls us to cast our cares upon the Lord because he cares for us. What a wonderful picture Hezekiah gives us of what it looks like to practically do this. This is a reminder for us to take everything–our worries, fears, hurts, hang-ups, sin struggles, doubts, and anything else you can think of–and “spread it before the Lord.”
This all sounds great, but how do we know that the Lord is actually capable of carrying these burdens we cast at his feet? Let’s look at the following verses of Hezekiah’s prayer to the Lord. Here, Hezekiah describes some great and awesome characteristics of the Lord. He is the “Lord of Hosts.” This is sometimes translated as the “Lord of Armies.” Hezekiah is engaged in a military battle, and this name is proof that the Lord can physically and practically come to Judah’s aid. His power infinitely exceeds that of the armies of the earth. He is the “God of Israel.” He is a covenant God; He will not forget the promises He has made to His people. He is “enthroned above the cherubim.” This reflects the majesty of God. His greatness and goodness will triumph. He alone is God (v. 16). What a simple but profound description of the Lord. Him and all the false gods of the Assyrians and of the surrounding nations aren’t even in the same league. He alone is God, and that empowers Hezekiah with confidence to take his cares before Him because He alone can hold them.
Lastly, we are reminded that he “made the heavens and the earth.” He created this world we live in! That certainly makes Him capable of handling any problems that we face in it! Let’s follow Hezekiah’s lead and spread what is weighing us down before the Lord- the one who is big enough, powerful enough, and loving enough to hold it.
- What is your “letter” that you need to spread before the Lord?
- Think about Hezekiah’s list. What names would you ascribe to the Lord that remind you of his ability to carry your burdens?
- What would it look like to have a physical reminder that you’ve spread your burdens before the Lord? Maybe it’s writing out what you’re carrying on a piece of paper or maybe it’s taking a sabbath to sit out in nature and pray before the Lord. Hezekiah physically cast his burden before the Lord. What are ways you can do the same?
Thank you that you are big enough to carry our burdens. Thank you that you have given us an example in your word of what it practically looks like to cast our cares before you. Help us to not forget that you never intended for us to walk through the battles of this life without you. Help us to spread our worries boldly before you, trusting that you can handle them.
Leave a Comment Below
Join the Team
Interested in writing for the Bible Reading Plan? Email email@example.com.