The servants of King Hezekiah reported to him the threats of the Assyrians, and the king knew they were capable of carrying out every awful thing they threatened to do. Hezekiah was distraught, evidenced by the radical body language of ripping his clothes and wearing sackcloth (v.1; the rough texture of sackcloth would chafe the skin, imitating on the outside the irritation and pain the person felt on the inside).
Hezekiah’s reaction to the enemy’s threats inspires me: he wanted to be in the presence of God (in the Temple) and he wanted to hear the Word of God (from the prophet). What do you seek when you are in trouble? Some people seek escape through alcohol or an adrenaline rush; some people seek solitude, withdrawing from others; some people seek someone to blame; some people seek a scheme to buy or bluff their way out of trouble; some people seek pity. But Hezekiah began to seek the Lord.
Isaiah assured the king that the Lord knew about the impending danger and had a plan to rescue His people, but shortly thereafter the king received a letter that contradicted Isaiah’s prophecy. The Rabshakeh was attempting to intimidate Hezekiah, and it half-worked. Again, Hezekiah ran to the Lord. He went to the Temple, spread out the letter, and began to cry out to God to intervene (v.14). The focus of his prayer and the motivation for his request is admirable: “Save us…that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Lord, are God alone” (v.19).
The answer to Hezekiah’s prayer came first through Isaiah (v.20-34). The Lord set Sennacherib straight (v.22) and promised to send him home before his archers could fire a single arrow into Jerusalem (v.28, 32). The Lord would return Sennacherib’s rage with the wrath of heaven’s army. It happened on the night the Assyrians were to invade Jerusalem — a single warrior-angel invaded the Assyrian camp and eliminated 185,000 soldiers. Just one soldier in God’s angel army defeated an entire nation!
Remember, no matter what you are facing, the God of angel armies is always by your side!