8-8 Hezekiah's Prayer
In the final throes
of the Assyrian agony, Hezekiah prayed, " O Lord God of Israel...thou
art the God" (2 Kings 19:15), quoting the words of Israel on Carmel
as they shouted, " Yahweh, he is the God" (1 Kings 18:39) in
wholehearted response to Elijah's call for reformation. Likewise
the faith of the righteous remnant of the last days will have been motivated
by the work of the Elijah ministry. He continued, " Thou
art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth;
thou hast made heaven and earth" (2 Kings 19:15), alluding to Jehoshaphat's
prayer of 2 Chron. 20:6: " O Lord God of our fathers, art not
thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of
the heathen?" . We have earlier demonstrated how Jehoshaphat's
prayer will be one of the model prayers for the latter-day Jewish remnant.
" Lord, bow down
thine ear, and hear: open, Lord, thine eyes, and see" (2 Kings
19:16) alludes back to Solomon's prayer for the temple (2 Chron. 6:40),
where he prophesies that God's eyes and ears will always be open to the
prayer of repentant Israel, particularly after their tribulations of the
last days. There is also a connection here with Daniel's prayer
in which he reminds God of Jerusalem's desolation at the hand of the Arabs,
and pleads for God's forgiveness of Israel so that there can be a restoration
of the kingdom: " O my God, incline thine ear, and hear;
open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and (those of) the city which
is called by thy name" (Dan. 9:18).
God's response to this
prayer was to prophesy the sending of Messiah to restore Israel's fortunes
(Dan. 9:25) - all beautifully typical of the prayers of Israel in the
last days. Peter urges spiritual Israel to pray earnestly
in the very last days too (1 Peter 4:7). Our Lord bids us
" pray always" in the time of the end (Luke 21:36) - but we
may need the sort of experiences natural Israel will go through before
we, like them, take our prayer life as seriously and intensely as we should.
Thus Joel 2:17 prophesies that it is only their period of prolonged Arab
persecution that will make Israel pray with real fervour.
Hezekiah concluded his
prayer by asking for Israel to be delivered from the Assyrians, "
that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the Lord God,
even thou only" (2 Kings 19:19). This is the language
of so many last-days passages (1 Sam. 17:46; Josh. 4:23,24 concerning
the effect of the exodus; Eze. 38:23). In no fuller sense
can it be fulfilled than at Christ's victory over Israel's enemies at
the second coming, which will lead to the political establishment of God's
Isaiah's final prophecy
against Sennacherib is shot through with allusions to other latter-day
passages. Is. 14:13,14 shows that it was the specific desire
of Sennacherib (as well as of Nebuchadnezzar) to take the temple.
Isaiah now repeats Sennacherib's openly-broadcast war aims: " Thou
hast said, With the multitude of my chariots I am come up to the height
of the mountains (a Hebrew intensive plural, i.e. to the one great mountain
- Zion), to the sides of Lebanon, and will cut down the tall cedar trees
thereof, and the choice fir trees thereof" (2 Kings 19:23).
This is packed with temple language (cp. Ps. 48:12; 1 Kings 5:5-8;
6:15). His desire was to replace the system of Yahweh worship
which the temple symbolized, with that of himself.