A Weak Faith

2 Kings 18:13-16

The story of the life of king Hezekiah is begun with a high commendation of his faith in the Lord, his commitment to follow the Lord and he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. He brought spiritual reformation and tried to unite the people–as one people of God, to return and worship the Lord. However, faith in the Lord and spiritual reformation does not necessarily mean that they will immediately be out of trouble. In fact, the narrative, as written in 2 Kings 18, wants to show us whether Hezekiah has learned the lesson on what had happened to Samaria (vv. 9-12), and whether he will continue to obey the voice of the LORD in responding to what may come before him.

Encouraged by his predecessor’s (Shalmaneser) success against Israel, Sennacherib came up against Judah. Sennacherib has successfully defeated the surrounding nations as well as all the fortified cities of Judah (forty six cities), including Lachish, a key Judean fortress to protect any approaches to Jerusalem. Hezekiah can neither depend on Judean fortressess nor his allies like Egypt. Hezekiah and city of Jerusalem have been pushed to the corner. All these have caused a deep anxiety in Hezekiah. Hezekiah fears and submits to the Assyrian to prevent the worst. On the one hand, his response is considered humanly but on the other hand, it is a response of a weak faith. He acknowledged his wrong in opposing to the Assyrian’s power and willing to pay whatever the penalty imposed, as long as he remains the king. He gave Sennacherib all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord and in the treasuries of the king’s house. He stripped the gold from the doors and doorposts of the temple. The kingdom of Judah is metaphorically bankrupt. In that situation, why did he not inquire the Lord or seek advice from Isaiah before he sent the message to Sennacherib? Did he simply act instinctively? Not knowing exactly how Sennacherib will respond, Hezekiah planned with his officers to protect the city and prepare necessary provisions (2 Chronicles 32:1-8).

Similarly, very often that is the way we respond to our circumstances. Our first natural instinct is to try very hard with our own effort and resources to handle the situation. We act as how an intelligent being should act. We seek advise from our fellows, we calculate our resources, we exercise our logic, and we exercise common sense and best practices. However, very often we fail to submit ourselves to God’s revealed will in the Scripture before making our first move, we fail to wait upon the Lord and inquire Him, and we fail to discern our own biases or personal desire. In the end, we may experience unnecessary suffering or loss. God does not call us to respond to our situation simply humanly or according to common sense. Very often, He calls us to take a leap of faith which surpasses reason, common sense, and phenomena. Let us commit ourselves to the Lord even before our first move as the Psalmist encourages us, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and He will act.” (Psalms 37:5)