July 25 (Daily reading: Isaiah 37-39; Psalm 76) King Hezekiah’s story is covered in our chronological readings over a sixteen-day period. We began on July 19 by reading 2 Kings 18 and continued yesterday from Isaiah 36. King Sennacherib of Assyria sent his representatives to Judah and they asked Hezekiah two questions: “What is this confidence that you have?” Also, “Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their land from my hand, that the LORD would deliver Jerusalem from my hand?’” (Is. 36:4, 20). God would answer his questions in dramatic fashion!
Hezekiah was distressed by these questions and sent his officials to Isaiah. Isaiah responded with God’s message that Sennacherib would withdraw and return to Nineveh, where he would be killed (Is. 37:7). Hezekiah then prayed, “Now, O LORD our God, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, LORD, are God” (Is. 37:20). One night, an angel put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrians. It was as if an event described by Asaph had come to pass: “The valiant lie plundered, they sleep their last sleep; not one of the warriors can lift his hands … It is you alone (God of Jacob) who are to be feared. Who can stand before you when you are angry?” (Ps. 76:5, 7). Sennacherib now knew who their God was! He returned home where he was later killed as God had predicted.
Hezekiah became deathly ill, but he prayed to God and God added fifteen years to his life. He also gave Hezekiah a sign by making the sun move backwards. Surely the God who put the sun in the sky could do such a thing! I can only say what Hezekiah said: “What shall I say? For He has spoken to me, and He Himself has done it” (Is. 38:15). “For nothing will be impossible with God” (Lk. 1:37).
– Al Gary