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.
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 19:14, 19 (NIV)
Hezekiah was in dire straits. Sennacherib, King of Assyria, was threatening Jerusalem and all seemed lost. However, Isaiah spoke against Sennacherib and said that Jerusalem would not fall to the Assyrians. Finally a message arrived from Sennacherib, again threatening Hezekiah and Jerusalem. Hezekiah obviously had a choice. To capitulate to Sennacherib or to trust in God, believing what Isaiah had said. Interestingly we are told in 2 Kings 19 that he ‘… went up to the temple … and spread it out before the Lord. Here was a man who needed to seek God’s guidance and advice.
The image used is very graphic – spreading it out – yet it illustrates how Hezekiah took things before God and spread the situation out before him.
Look also at the content of Hezekiah’s prayer. While asking God to deliver them from the King of Assyria, he gives a very strong reason for his prayer – so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God.’ While deliverance was important, proclaiming who God was and is was more important.
What was the outcome for Hezekiah and Jerusalem? In 2 Kings 19:36 we are told ‘… Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there.’
When you are facing a difficult situation, have the courage to spread the matter out before God, but most of all pray that through your situation those around you may come to know the God whom you serve.