Prayer Changes Things

Series: When Men Pray

SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 23–29, 2020

Part 1 – Background: Hezekiah – God’s King. . . 

2 King 18 (NLT)

3     He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his ancestor David had done.

4     He removed the pagan shrines, smashed the sacred pillars, and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke up the bronze serpent that Moses had made, because the people of Israel had been offering sacrifices to it. The bronze serpent was called Nehushtan. 

5     Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before or after his time.

6     He remained faithful to the Lord in everything, and he carefully obeyed all the commands the Lord had given Moses.

7     So the Lord was with him, and Hezekiah was successful in everything he did. He revolted against the king of Assyria and refused to pay him tribute.

Started:         Reform (2 Kings 18:3-5)

  • Revolted against Assyria
  • Revival was started and led the people back to God

Stayed:          Right with God (2 Kings 18:6-7)

  • Refused to pay Assyria tribute

13   In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, King Sennacherib of Assyria came to attack the fortified towns of Judah and conquered them.

14   King Hezekiah sent this message to the king of Assyria at Lachish: “I have done wrong. I will pay whatever tribute money you demand if you will only withdraw.” The king of Assyria then demanded a settlement of more than eleven tons of silver and one ton of gold.

15   To gather this amount, King Hezekiah used all the silver stored in the Temple of the Lord and in the palace treasury.

16   Hezekiah even stripped the gold from the doors of the Lord’s Temple and from the doorposts he had overlaid with gold, and he gave it all to the Assyrian king.

Slipped:          Returned (2 Kings 18:13-16) – problems will return again and again and cause us to slip

  • Relented

17   Nevertheless, the king of Assyria sent his commander in chief, his field commander, and his chief of staff from Lachish with a huge army to confront King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. The Assyrians took up a position beside the aqueduct that feeds water into the upper pool, near the road leading to the field where cloth is washed.

18   They summoned King Hezekiah, but the king sent these officials to meet with them: Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator; Shebna the court secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the royal historian.

19   Then the Assyrian king’s chief of staff told them to give this message to Hezekiah: This is what the great king of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you so confident?

20   Do you think that mere words can substitute for military skill and strength? Who are you counting on, that you have rebelled against me?

21   On Egypt? If you lean on Egypt, it will be like a reed that splinters beneath your weight and pierces your hand. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is completely unreliable!

22   “But perhaps you will say to me, ‘We are trusting in the Lord our God!’ But isn’t he the one who was insulted by Hezekiah? Didn’t Hezekiah tear down his shrines and altars and make everyone in Judah and Jerusalem worship only at the altar here in Jerusalem?

23   “I’ll tell you what! Strike a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria. I will give you 2,000 horses if you can find that many men to ride on them!

24   With your tiny army, how can you think of challenging even the weakest contingent of my master’s troops, even with the help of Egypt’s chariots and charioteers?

25   What’s more, do you think we have invaded your land without the Lord’s direction? The Lord himself told us, ‘Attack this land and destroy it!’”

26   Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Shebna, and Joah said to the Assyrian chief of staff, “Please speak to us in Aramaic, for we understand it well. Don’t speak in Hebrew, for the people on the wall will hear.”

27   But Sennacherib’s chief of staff replied, “Do you think my master sent this message only to you and your master? He wants all the people to hear it, for when we put this city under siege, they will suffer along with you. They will be so hungry and thirsty that they will eat their own dung and drink their own urine.”

28   Then the chief of staff stood and shouted in Hebrew to the people on the wall, “Listen to this message from the great king of Assyria!

29   This is what the king says: Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you. He will never be able to rescue you from my power.

30   Don’t let him fool you into trusting in the Lord by saying, ‘The Lord will surely rescue us. This city will never fall into the hands of the Assyrian king!’

31   “Don’t listen to Hezekiah! These are the terms the king of Assyria is offering: Make peace with me—open the gates and come out. Then each of you can continue eating from your own grapevine and fig tree and drinking from your own well.

32   Then I will arrange to take you to another land like this one—a land of grain and new wine, bread and vineyards, olive groves and honey. Choose life instead of death! “Don’t listen to Hezekiah when he tries to mislead you by saying, ‘The Lord will rescue us!’

33   Have the gods of any other nations ever saved their people from the king of Assyria?

34   What happened to the gods of Hamath and Arpad? And what about the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Did any god rescue Samaria from my power?

35   What god of any nation has ever been able to save its people from my power? So what makes you think that the Lord can rescue Jerusalem from me?”

36   But the people were silent and did not utter a word because Hezekiah had commanded them, “Do not answer him.”

37   Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator; Shebna the court secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the royal historian, went back to Hezekiah. They tore their clothes in despair, and they went in to see the king and told him what the Assyrian chief of staff had said.

  1. The Enemy’s Ruse (2 Kings 18: 17-18)
  2. Trash talk
  3. Taut them
  4. Terrify them
  5. Threaten them
  6. The Problems Remains (2 Kings 18: 17-37)
  7. Threats and Intimidation
  8. Mocking their Meager Resources( v.  23)
  9. Your God can’t save you, don’t trust Him to do so (v. 30)
  10. He gives examples of others God didn’t save (v. 32b-33)
  11. As if God failed to protect
  12. No, their sin and rebellion removed the protection of the Lord
  13. He sent it, allowed it so they would turn back to him.
  14. His reasoning was uninformed, but it sounded convincing
  15. They trusted other gods, not the true God, but they couldn’t tell the difference.

36   But the people were silent and did not utter a word because Hezekiah had commanded them, “Do not answer him.”

37   Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator; Shebna the court secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the royal historian, went back to Hezekiah. They tore their clothes in despair, and they went in to see the king and told him what the Assyrian chief of staff had said.

  •  The People’s Response (2 Kings 18:36)
  • Silence

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7b (NLT)1 For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. . .  7 A time to be quiet and a time to speak.

Joshua 6:10 (MSG) – Joshua had given orders to the people, “Don’t shout. In fact, don’t even speak—not so much as a whisper until you hear me say, ‘Shout!’—then shout away!”

Matthew 26:60-63 (MSG)60 But even though many stepped up, making up one false accusation after another, nothing was believable. Finally two men came forward 61 with this: “He said, ‘I can tear down this Temple of God and after three days rebuild it.’ ” 62 The Chief Priest stood up and said, “What do you have to say to the accusation?” 63 Jesus kept silent. Then the Chief Priest said, “I command you by the authority of the living God to say if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

Part 2 – Hezekiah Prays. . .

2 Kings 19:1-4; 14-19 (NLT)

1     When King Hezekiah heard their report, he tore his clothes and put on burlap and went into the Temple of the Lord.

2     And he sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the court secretary, and the leading priests, all dressed in burlap, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz.

3     They told him, “This is what King Hezekiah says: Today is a day of trouble, insults, and disgrace. It is like when a child is ready to be born, but the mother has no strength to deliver the baby.

4     But perhaps the Lord your God has heard the Assyrian chief of staff, sent by the king to defy the living God, and will punish him for his words. Oh, pray for those of us who are left!”

5     After King Hezekiah’s officials delivered the king’s message to Isaiah,

6     the prophet replied, “Say to your master, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not be disturbed by this blasphemous speech against me from the Assyrian king’s messengers.

7     Listen! I myself will move against him, and the king will receive a message that he is needed at home. So he will return to his land, where I will have him killed with a sword.’”

14   After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the Lord’s Temple and spread it out before the Lord.

15   And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the Lord: “O Lord, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth.

16   Bend down, O Lord, and listen! Open your eyes, O Lord, and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God.

17   “It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations.

18   And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands.

19   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.”

  1.   The King’s Response (2 King 19:14-19)
  2. Where he proceeded (v. 14)
    1. Immediately, Hezekiah went to be in the presence of the Lord
    1.  Don’t underestimate the power of being in the presence of God!

In your private Life

In your public Life

  • What he placed (v. 14)
    • He spread the letters/hate mail out before the Lord

1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

  • When he prayed (v  15-19)
  • This was Hezekiah’s line of defense. He prayed a powerful prayer to the Lord.
  • He mentioned God’s Power
  • He mentioned the Problem
  • He mentioned his Position
  • He mentioned God’s Purpose

2 Kings 19:20-34 The Message (MSG)

20   It wasn’t long before Isaiah son of Amoz sent word to Hezekiah: God’s word: You’ve prayed to me regarding Sennacherib king of Assyria; I’ve heard your prayer.

21   This is my response to him: The Virgin Daughter of Zion holds you in utter contempt; Daughter Jerusalem thinks you’re nothing but scum.

22   Who do you think it is you’ve insulted? Who do you think you’ve been bad-mouthing? Before whom do you suppose you’ve been strutting? The Holy One of Israel, that’s who!

23   You dispatched your errand boys to humiliate the Master. You bragged, “With my army of chariots I’ve climbed the highest mountains, snow-peaked alpine Lebanon mountains! I’ve cut down its giant cedars, chopped down its prize pine trees. I’ve traveled the world, visited the finest forest retreats.

24   I’ve dug wells in faraway places and drunk their exotic waters; I’ve waded and splashed barefoot in the rivers of Egypt.”

25   Did it never occur to you that I’m behind all this? Long, long ago I drew up the plans, and now I’ve gone into action, Using you as a doomsday weapon, reducing proud cities to piles of rubble,

26   Leaving their people dispirited, slumped shoulders, limp souls. Useless as weeds, fragile as grass, insubstantial as wind-blown chaff.

27   I know when you sit down, when you come and when you go; And, yes, I’ve marked every one of your temper tantrums against me.

28   It’s because of your temper, your blasphemous foul temper, That I’m putting my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth And turning you back to where you came from.

29   And this, Hezekiah, will be for you the confirming sign: This year you’ll eat the gleanings, next year whatever you can beg, borrow, or steal; But the third year you’ll sow and harvest, plant vineyards and eat grapes.

30   A remnant of the family of Judah yet again will sink down roots and raise up fruit.

31   The remnant will come from Jerusalem, the survivors from Mount Zion. The Zeal of God will make it happen.

32   To sum up, this is what God says regarding the king of Assyria: He won’t enter this city, nor shoot so much as a single arrow there; Won’t brandish a shield, won’t even begin to set siege;

33   He’ll go home by the same road he came; he won’t enter this city. God’s word!

34   I’ll shield this city, I’ll save this city, for my sake and for David’s sake.

II.      God’s Reply (2 Kings 19:20-34)

God made it known that it was He who did and will do the . . .

  • Planning
  • Placing
  • Providing
  • Protecting
  • Punishing

35   That night the angel of the Lord went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere.

36   Then King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there.

37   One day while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with their swords. They then escaped to the land of Ararat, and another son, Esarhaddon, became the next king of Assyria.

 III.    The Results (2 Kings 19:35-37)

  • God did just what He said!
  • The situation changed

PRAYER PRINCIPLE:                     Be thankful that when we pray, we can count on God doing what’s in our best interest and that the results will be glorious.

SOCIAL JUSTICE PRINCIPLE:       Be ready to intercede on behalf of those experiencing a rough time in their life; remind them of how you got through your rough time through prayer.

EVANGELISM PRINCIPLE:            Take comfort in knowing that even Christ prayed during his darkest hour; likewise, we should be in prayer at all times.

STEWARDSHIP PRINCIPLE:           The work of God is the only one worthy of our persistent and consistent giving; giving to other gods is rubbish!

DISCIPLESHIP PRINCIPLE:            As you’re going through a rough patch literally and figuratively, remember that God is directing all areas of our lives – planning, placing, providing, protecting and punishing.

NEXT WEEK’S TITLE: Take Me to the Alley

SERIES:         Jesus and the Disinherited

NEXT WEEK’S READING ASSIGNMENT: Luke 4:16-21; Isaiah 61:1-2; Galatians 4:4; Luke 2:11; John 1:41; Luke 3:21-22; John 14:12; John 20:21; John 5:1-9, 14; Psalm 100:4; 1 Chronicles 16:29; Deuteronomy 4:9; John 8:11

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