“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”
This morning I reached 2 Kings 19 in my daily Bible reading. I think King Hezekiah’s prayer in 2 Kings 19:14-19 may be one of my favorite passages. Let me quote it here and then share my thoughts today. (Read all of chapter 19 for context)
“14 Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekah went up to the house of the LORD and spread it before the LORD. 15 And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said: ‘O LORD, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. 16 Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. 17 Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands 18 and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. 19 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.”
King Hezekiah and Judah were facing a dire threat. They knew what Assyria had done to other nations, and now they were threatening Jerusalem. The Assyrians wrongly assumed the God of Israel was like the gods of the other nations and mocked Him. They did not know that while they may destroy those gods who were not gods, but mere inventions of man, this God is the Creator, the one true and living God. Hezekiah knew his God. He knew the promises of God and he was one of those kings we rejoice when we read, in 2 Kings 18:5 - 7, “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. And the LORD was with him; wherever he went out, he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and would not serve him.”
So, what I love about this passage which records Hezekiah’s prayer, is how he takes this terrifying and impossible seeming situation and spreads it out before the Lord. While he is concerned with deliverance from the threat, from reading the prayer, his deep concern is for God’s glory. He has absolute trust that God can save them and that when He does so it will show all the kingdoms of the earth that the LORD is God alone.
I want to learn to pray like this. When I pray, may my overriding, main concern be to see God glorified. I think too often I am too focused on wanting to be delivered from the pain or the hardship or the discomfort, too focused on my own anxieties and fears and sorrows, too focused on myself and what I want, and not nearly focused enough on wanting to see God’s purposes advanced. May I learn to pray to the end that all the kingdoms of the earth, and all my family and friends and neighbors, may know that He is God alone. I think that would greatly change the character of most of my concerns and prayers.
What a gracious God, to grant us the privilege to trust Him completely, no matter how impossible the situation may seem from our limited perspective. We can rest in His sovereignty. This is wisdom.