In the previous post in this series on fear (if you missed them, you can find Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE), we talked about Jeroboam and how he was a great example of what NOT to do when it comes to fear. (You can also get a free printable worksheet to help you pinpoint and overcome your fears HERE. )Today, we are going to look at a king whose example we can actually follow. His name was Hezekiah, and his story can be found in II Kings 18.
The first thing you need to know about Hezekiah was that he was the king of Judah. (Remember, the nation of Israel had split with 10 tribes going one way and retaining the name Israel, and two tribes becoming Judah).
The second thing you need to know is that, unlike his father before him, Hezekiah was a man who followed God and had a desire to obey all of God’s commandments. In II Kings 18: 3-6, it says that Hezekiah trusted the Lord; he clung to the Lord; and because of that, the Lord made Hezekiah prosper.
The third thing you need to know is that during this time period, the big, bad guy in the neighborhood was Sennecherib, the king of Assyria. Assyria was a very powerful nation and they were conquering a lot of the neighboring countries near Judah. In fact, God had allowed Assyria to carry away Israel (the 10 tribes) into captivity because of their continued disobedience to God. Sennecherib decided that since he captured one part of the nation of Israel, he may as well have those other two tribes too. Add in the fact that Hezekiah had stopped paying the tribute his father had agreed to, and Sennecherib was ready to take care of this pesky little country once and for all.
So, Sennecherib captured the cities of Judah, and Hezekiah finds him right at Jerusalem’s door. He tries to appease Sennecherib and pays him an enormous sum of gold and silver with the understanding that Sennecherib would then leave Judah alone. However, Sennecherib is not the most reliable guy, and as soon as he has all that gold and silver, he sends his army with some of his most trusted men to besiege Jerusalem. His men basically give a message to Hezekiah that in a nutshell says you may as well surrender because your God won’t save you and He can’t save you because He is no better than all the other nations’ gods who didn’t save them either. To add insult to injury, Rabshakeh, the Assyrian king’s man, shouts all these lies about Hezekiah to the people of Judah, trying to get them to turn on Hezekiah.
When Hezekiah is told all this, his response reflects his daily walk with God. First, he heads to the temple to seek God’s presence, and then he heads to God’s prophet Isaiah to seek wise counsel.
Isaiah tells Hezekiah that God will confuse Rabshakeh with a rumor that will make him leave – and that is just what happens. When Rabshakeh gets back to Assyria and realizes the rumors are false, he sends Hezekiah a very threatening letter that tries to scare Hezekiah by casting doubt on God’s abilities to protect Judah.
Once again, we see Hezekiah’s response to very real threats and danger. He spreads out the letter before the Lord. I can just picture Hezekiah kneeling on the floor with all this parchment spread around him and asking God, “Okay, now what do I do with this?” I love that – don’t you?
Hezekiah does four things in the face of his fear.
He seeks the Lord.
I love that this is Hezekiah’s very first response anything he comes up against something that scares him. He doesn’t try to figure it out himself. He doesn’t talk to it with his friends. He doesn’t brood on it or obsess. He simply takes the problem and spreads it all out before God. Of course, Hezekiah built this habit before he was in the middle of a crisis. In II Kings 18, it says that Hezekiah trusts the Lord and he clung to the Lord. When Hezekiah seeks out the Lord with his very real fears and problems, he’s going to someone he knows well. He can seek the Lord because they have a history together. The more I get to know God, the more I trust Him, and the more I trust Him, the more I seek Him out – whether the going is tough or not. This is a far better answer than my old response which was to freak out or call a friend and freak out.
He praises the Lord.
I don’t know about you, but when I am up against something that is scaring me to death, the last thing I think about doing is having a little worship time. But this is one of the first things Hezekiah does, and it is so wise. Praising God is a way to remind himself of just who God is and all the great things He has already done for Hezekiah and his people. When we take a moment to truly praise and worship God, even when our knees are knocking, it gives us perspective. It reminds us of just how big our God is in comparison to our problems and our fears.
He tells God all about his fears.
One of my favorite verses is in Psalms 34:4 where it says, “I sought the Lord and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” The only way God can deliver us from our fears is if we bring them to Him. It is in His light that the shadows where our fears lurk are driven away. In that light, we often find out what we fear was really nothing at all. And even if what we fear is legitimate and real (like Hezekiah’s situation), in God’s presence, we can see the bigness of God which makes even the scariest things seem small in comparison.
He asks God to deliver him and his people.
Hezekiah has spent his life following God’s commands. It says he clung to the Lord, so it probably seemed natural to him to ask that same God for a little deliverance. Hezekiah knew he served a God that delighted in coming through for His people. So many times, we might bring our fears or problems to the Lord, and then we take them back with us, thinking we have to solve our own problems and come up with our own solutions. But God WANTS us to ask HIM for help – not try to do it all ourselves. The bottom line is that Hezekiah believed that his God was big enough to overcome the Assyria – even when the evidence suggested otherwise. Hezekiah’s personal relationship with God underscored his belief that God was good and loved His people enough to intervene on their behalf.
This is why I love these stories in the Old Testament. There are so many cool things you can learn from the people who live in these pages. So, how about you? What is your first response to fear? Does one of HEzekiah’s responses speak to you? I’d love to hear about it!
To help you work through your fear, I put together this worksheet, so be sure to download it!