Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said: “O Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. So now, O Lord our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Lord, are God alone.” II Kings 19:14-19 ESV
Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am godly;
save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
Be gracious to me, O Lord,
for to you do I cry all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
listen to my plea for grace.
In the day of my trouble I call upon you,
for you answer me.
There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God. Psalm 86:1-10 ESV
Heidi was a little girl whose parents were dead. When she was five, an aunt took her up the mountain to live with her grandfather. Heidi’s grandfather lived by himself, and everyone was a little bit afraid of him. He didn’t like to be around people. But Heidi soon learned that her grandfather was kind and wise. He took good care of her, and gave her so much to eat that she had enough to share with Peter, the goatherd. Her grandfather listened to her talk, and answered her questions. He taught her the names of all the mountains that she had seen when she spent the day with Peter, and told her stories. A grandfather who had seemed far away and forbidding now was close and loving.
Hezekiah had the same experience. He was having all kinds of trouble, with the cities of his kingdom being taken by the Assyrians and his capital city, Jerusalem, being threatened. God had seemed far away from him. But Isaiah the prophet had given him a message from God that promised to save him and his city. Then Hezekiah knew that God wasn’t far and away and stern, but very near to him, loving and caring for him. When he got a threatening letter from the king of Assyria, he took it into the temple and spread it out for God to see, just as a little child might bring a broken toy or a sick pet to show his father and ask for help. King Hezekiah prayed to his Heavenly Father, believing that the Lord would hear him and help him.
Sometimes when we are having troubles, God might seem far away. We might be worried about things we’ve done wrong, and wonder if God still loves us or will forgive us. But God is never far away from us. He loves us and cares for us. He sent Jesus to be our Savior. Jesus died on the cross to take our sins away, and because of what Jesus did we can be sure that God will always forgive our sins and hear our prayers. We can always go to God and bring our problems and hurts to him, and know that he will help us.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us and helping us and hearing our prayers. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Spyri, Johanna Heidi New York: Harper Collins, 1827.