“Now, O LORD our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O LORD, are God.” — 2 Kings 19:19
“This is no time to go wobbly, George.” That was the message Margaret Thatcher, prime minister of the United Kingdom, sent to George Bush, president of the United States, at the height of the Gulf War. She was right, of course. In times of national distress, resolute leadership is desperately needed. But leaders, too, are human—subject to doubt and vulnerable to threat.
King Hezekiah needed the same kind of encouragement to stand strong when Jerusalem was besieged by Sennacherib and his Assyrian armies. The people were in dire straits, their leader was under severe pressure. But he handled it well.
Sennacherib arrogantly, belligerently called into question both the capabilities of Hezekiah and the relevance of Yahweh. Hezekiah promptly discarded his royal regalia and donned sackcloth, the dress of the distraught and devastated. He made no attempt to put on a brave face; he issued no propaganda for the masses. The situation was critical, he knew it, and he let the people know it.
Suitably clad, the king made his way to the house of prayer and sent messengers to call on the prophet Isaiah for counsel and support. He rightly saw that the situation was more than a mere military or political issue; it was a spiritual matter, requiring a spiritual response. It was also a direct affront to the Lord. Since God’s own reputation was at stake, Hezekiah urged the Lord to deliver His people.
And what a response he received! In effect, Isaiah told Hezekiah not to “go wobbly” because Yahweh was in charge. Sennacherib had claimed that all gods were irrelevant in comparison with his power. But Isaiah reminded Hezekiah that Yahweh is far from being an impotent irrelevance—Yahweh is the Creator and sustainer of all things, the Lord of history, and the covenant God of His people. Because of who He is, God would defy the defiant and defend the defenseless. He would prove His power on behalf of His people.
Leaders, under the pressure of giving direction to beleaguered believers, aware of their own weakness and the immensity of their adversity, need to know where their resources lie. Like Hezekiah, they need to face reality and to seek the Lord, looking for a word from Him indicating the right path. And they must gather round them those who will support and strengthen them in leadership’s lonely hours. Such encouragers can remind them that, because of who the Lord is in the situation, there is “no time to go wobbly.”
For further study: 2 Kings 19:1-19
Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.