July 28 (Daily reading: 2 Kings 19; Psalms 46, 80, 135) Three psalms were chosen to correspond to the amazing story of King Hezekiah. When the king became aware of the Assyrian threat, he sought counsel from Isaiah. The prophet gave him this message from the Lord: “Do not be afraid!” Perhaps Hezekiah was aware of the encouraging words of Psalm 46: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1).
Hezekiah’s faith was again challenged by a letter given to him by Sennacherib’s messengers, which was written to convince him that he had no chance of escaping destruction. But Hezekiah prayed: “Now, O LORD our God, I pray, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, O LORD, are God” (2 Kgs. 19:19). His prayer was close to the one from Psalm 80:1-3, “Oh, give ear, Shepherd of Israel … stir up Your power and come to save us! O God, restore us and cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved.” When the angel put to death the one hundred eighty-five thousand Assyrian soldiers, another promise from Psalms was fulfilled: “The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold” (Ps. 46:7).
Isaiah brought a word from the Lord to Hezekiah: God’s purposes will always come to pass! “Have you not heard? Long ago I did it; from ancient times I planned it. Now I have brought it to pass” (2 Kgs. 19:25). God would deal with Sennacherib as promised. Hezekiah must have felt in his heart what the psalmist expressed: “Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing praises to His name, for it is lovely. For the LORD has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His own possession” (Ps. 135:3-4).
– Al Gary