For our ten year anniversary our family went on a Disney cruise to celebrate! We had never been on a cruise before and we had a wonderful time. Being on a cruse is great! Someone makes your bed for you. Someone cleans your room. You experience gorgeous destinations. You can eat six meals a day; and they’re all free. They even have an ice cream station open all day. There is no commuting, no cooking, no cleaning and tons of fun.
Too bad being on a cruise isn’t reality. Life’s not always a soft bed to sleep on with unlimited room service. Sometimes life is more of a crisis we’re trying to overcome. We’re all familiar with crisis aren’t we? An unexpected death in the family, a lost job, an unwanted divorce, or bad news from the doctor are just a few of the different things life can throw at us. I’m no expert on crisis in any way, but the question I want to look at this morning is: when a crisis hits, who or what do you depend on? The obvious answer to this question is “God”, but all too often we try to solve the problem on our own. We depend on ourself in the dark times.
In 2 Kings 18 and 19 we read about a good king in Israel. He was threatened by a bad king and responded in faith to the Lord.
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. 2 Kings 19:14Take notice of what Hezekiah did with the letter he had received. He brought it with him to the Temple. He spreads it out before the Lord to make certain God sees it. Its an interesting tactic. Its nothing we haven’t seen before.
Dads think about this. Its almost like when your child brings you a broken toy to fix. They want you to put the head back on or change the batteries or just fix the problem. They bring it to you so you can see it and fix it. Hezekiah brings his problem to the Lord.
Once in the Temple of the Lord, Hezekiah proceeds to pray. Hezekiah’s prayer follows a format typical of the most common Psalm. The prayer has three parts: First, Hezekiah recognizes the greatness of the Lord. Second he explains his problem to the Lord. Finally he asks God for assistance.
The first thing Hezekiah does is recognize the greatness of the Lord
15 And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “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. 2 Kings 19:15-16Hezekiah affirms there is no one like the Lord God. Hezekiah defines where God sits. God is not one of many gods. God is not “a” god in any temple. God is the only God, the one God. Hezekiah is confessing God is in a class all by Himself; there is no one greater than He. When he asks God to “see, hear and listen”, Hezekiah is confessing He is the living God. An idol cannot see or hear or listen because it is quite simply not living. But the Lord God, who Hezekiah is petitioning, He is living. Hezekiah also makes sure to mention the dominion God possess and His creative nature. God has not been created, but God is the creator God. God is one who deserves His greatness to be recognized.
This is a great example for us to start out our prayers. It’s easy to come to God rushed, with a list of what we want Him to do and usually there is a timeline attached of when we need to act by. The next time you approach the living God try following this approach. Come to God but before you ask for anything, before making a single request, no matter how simple it may sound, recognize God’s greatness. Take time to declare how amazing God is. Stand in awe of His creative ability and know He is the only God.
Once you’ve recognized God’s greatness you can move on to explain your problems to 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." 2 Kings 19:17-18
The problem Hezekiah encountered is; what Sennacherib wrote was true. The Assyrians had laid waste to the other nations. They had cut off their water supply. They had caused them to starve. He had killed their kings and burned their gods in the fire. There is a difference: their gods are made of wood and stone, really they aren’t gods at all but idols.
Let’s make this practical. After you’ve recognized the greatness of God take time to explain your problems. Freely tell God how your struggling as a parent. Tell God you don’t want to get a divorce but you know your spouse does and this is a problem for you. Remind God about your last semester of school and how you’re stressed. Remind God that you’re having a tough time paying your bills this month. No matter what the situation is, explain your problem to God. We all have problems, and its Biblical to explain those problems to God.
After Hezekiah explains his problem he asks God for assistance against the Assyrians
"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 19:19If you’re in a dark time know you can ask God for assistance? Hezekiah was in a dark time and he knew the only one who could help him was God. Growing up on the bottom end of the middle-class, there were times we had to ask for help. My mom used to always say to me, “You never know unless you ask.”
Its true, you never know unless you ask. You never know if God will assist you unless you ask for assistance. If you take one thing from this message will you remember: When the future is uncertain, go to God. Hezekiah has modeled his dependance on God. He trusts God. He depends on God to carry him through the darkest time of his life.
My prayer tip this week is find a place to meet with God. In Matthew, Jesus told the listeners to meet with God in a closet. In the story of Elijah and the dead boy, Elijah took the boy to his room where he met with God. This week, find a place to meet with God. Find a location in your home, the beach, or a secluded place where you can meet with God.
Hezekiah went straight to the Temple. He went straight to the place where Israel met with God. I’m not sure if this was a normal place for him to meet with God or not, but this was His place to meet with God. I’ve share with you, that a place I met with God is at the foot of my bed. I sit or lay face down on the floor to meet with God. It’s important to have somewhere you can meet with God. Now you might think how busy you are and that you don’t have time for prayer.
Listen to what Billy Graham once said: "You cannot afford to be too busy to pray. A prayerless Christian is a powerless Christian.”