God-Sized Expectations

There’s this amazing passage in Isaiah 36-38 where the great king of Assyria, Sennacherib boasts against Israel and the Lord, claiming that he will take Jerusalem and destroy Judah. When Hezekiah heard he tore his clothes and immediately went up to the house of the Lord and called for Isaiah. He put everything out before the Lord and prayed.

“O LORD Almighty, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God.

“It is true, O LORD, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. Now, O LORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God.

Isaiah 37:16-20

What happens next is what captivates my imagination. God’s response to Hezekiah’s prayer is this: “BECAUSE YOU HAVE PRAYED TO ME AGAINST SENNACHERIB KING OF ASSYRIA . . . He shall not come into this city, nort shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor build a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return; and he shall not come into this city. . . . For I will defend this city, to save it for my own sake and for my servant David’s sake.” Isaiah 37:21, 33-35.

Do you see what just happened? God acts because Hezekiah prayed. Hezekiah, as King of Judah, acted within the authority delegated to him by God and asks God for action accordingly. As a result, God acts and saves Jerusalem and Hezekiah from Sennacherib. God kills 185,000 of the Assyrians while they slept in camp. When the remainder awakes to all the corpses, they quickly leave the land and return home.

This is so powerfully significant to us today. It should light our prayer lives on fire. If we pray within our domains of authority according to the desires placed in our heart by God, we can absolutely expect the miraculous. We can expect the destruction of our enemies and protection from the evil one; we can expect our plans to succeed; we can expect miracles to occur. We can pray for our children with authority and faith. We can pray in any area over which God has put us and expect Him to answer our prayers.

Go to the Lord in faith. Go quickly. Wait on Him to act. Believe.

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