But the people were silent and answered him not a word, for the king’s command was, “Do not answer him.” Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn and told him the words of the Rabshakeh.
As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the Lord. And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz. They said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. It may be that the Lord your God heard all the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the Lord your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.” II Kings 18:36-19:4 ESV
Hear my prayer, O Lord;
let my cry come to you!
Do not hide your face from me
in the day of my distress!
Incline your ear to me;
answer me speedily in the day when I call! Psalm 102:1-2 ESV
Many years ago a man named Ernest Shackleton led an expedition to Antarctica. He and his men went in a ship named the Endurance, but the ship got stuck in the ice and over time it was wrecked. This left Shackleton and his men stranded on drifting ice in the freezing south. There was no way they could communicate with the rest of the world to let anyone know where they were or that they were in trouble. They had supplies and a few life boats, and eventually they made it to land, an island called Elephant Island. But they were still very far from help and had little hope of being saved. Their only chance was for Shackleton and a few others to take one of the life boats to a whaling station 800 miles away, across terribly stormy seas. The men left on Elephant Island were near the end of their hope as they launched their leader and his companions in the boat.
King Hezekiah and his people were also in terrible trouble. The Assyrian armies had conquered their cities, and were threatening Jerusalem. The Assyrian officials were taunting them from outside the city walls, saying that their God wouldn’t be able to help them. Hezekiah was very discouraged. Everything seemed to be against him, and God seemed very far away. His hope was nearly gone, but he sent a message to the prophet Isaiah. His last hope was the Isaiah would give him a message of hope and help from God, although it seemed almost impossible.
Sometimes we feel that our hope is almost gone, and that God is very far away. It may be that we have terrible troubles and that God doesn’t seem to hear our prayers. Or we might have done something wrong and feel like God could never forgive our sins. When God seems a long way from us and we are almost out of hope, we can be sure that we can hope in Jesus. He came to us when we were separated from our Heavenly Father because of our sins, and brought us back to God by dying on the cross for us. He promises to be with us always, and he hears our prayers. We might not always know why things happen the way they do, or how God will answer our prayers, but we can know for sure that God is always close to us and ready to help us in the way that is best because of Jesus.
Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to be with us and for bringing us back to our Heavenly Father. Amen.