When the enemy’s attack is bold and in your face, it is easy to see. And, when we see that attack, then we turn to prayer.
But, what about when the enemy’s attack is subtle? Are we looking for that? Do we remember that Satan is more crafty than any other creature God made?
If we aren’t prepared for the subtle attack, then we won’t turn to prayer. And, the subtle attack will be just as dangerous.
This is the lesson I learned from Hezekiah in Isaiah 36-39 this morning.
In Isaiah 36 and 37, the king of Assyria sends his servant to Jerusalem. The servant boldly declares that Jerusalem has been given into the hand of the king of Assyria. There is nothing that Hezekiah or anyone else can do to stop it. But, under instruction from Hezekiah, no one answered the servant of the king of Assyria. Instead, upon hearing the report, king Hezekiah immediately went into the house of the Lord. The first thing Hezekiah did was turn to the Lord in prayer. The Lord heard Hezekiah’s prayer and sent away the servant of the king of Assyria.
Later in Isaiah 37, Hezekiah receives a letter that says Assyria has overtaken all the other lands and their gods were not able to protect them. The letter said this same thing would happen to Judah and Hezekiah. Again, having received this clear, in your face threat, Hezekiah immediately goes to the house of the Lord in prayer. Because Hezekiah turned to the Lord in prayer, Isaiah the prophet says that the king of Assyria will not be able to attack Judah, that he will be turned away. And, indeed it was so.
In Isaiah 38, Hezekiah becomes sick and is told that his life will end. Hezekiah prays and asks God to extend his life, which God does.
In Isaiah 39, after Hezekiah’s recovery, the son of the king of Babylon sends envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah. This was done to inquire of Hezekiah’s health because the son of the king had heard he was sick and recovered. Hezekiah welcomed these envoys and showed them everything in his kingdom. He showed them all the treasure of the kingdom. Instead of being bold and in your face, the attack here started very subtle, sending Hezekiah a gift and asking about his health. Notice that when these envoys came, Hezekiah did not turn to the Lord in prayer. Could it be because he just received a blessing from God, recovering from his sickness, and the promise of another 15 years of life? Did Hezekiah let his guard down because he had just been blessed?
After all this, Isaiah the prophet came to Hezekiah and asked him what happened. When Hezekiah explained, Isaiah said that everything that had been stored up, all the treasure of Judah, would be carried away to Babylon and that Hezekiah’s sons would be made eunuchs and serve the king of Babylon. Hezekiah had been so deceived that he said this was a good word for now there would be peace and security for him. Hezekiah seemingly didn’t understand that this would be the destruction of his kingdom and the beginning of Judah’s 70 years in exile.
Because Hezekiah didn’t stay steadfast in prayer, he was defeated by the subtle attack. The same happens to us. The enemy attacks subtly. The attack might even seem like a good thing at first. But, because we don’t seek the Lord in prayer regarding it, that subtle attack results in our destruction.