Let’s uprise together!
It feels like our world is being ambushed by a mysterious sniper on one of the world’s tallest buildings. Citizens panic while policemen search to end this cause of fear.
Some people put up walls to protect themselves while others are trying to control the changes in their lives.
The cause of fear is not the pandemic, but the change to our lives.
People lose their jobs. Children and college students are sent home from school, killing successful routines. Bills are hard to pay. Some must return to living with toxic families.
Loneliness threatens the world.
Everywhere I look, I see an uprising against this change.
People selfishly hoard grocery items for fear of want. The news uses change to manipulate politics. Social media numbs the pain of loneliness with humor. People refuse to stay home to avoid acknowledging a problem.
King Hezekiah lived in a time of political and spiritual uprising. However, his response to that revolt has redefined my view of uprising. I will let Hezekiah tell his story, as he lived in a pandemic of change.
“One day, my administrator, secretary, and friend Joah went out to meet the Assyrian supreme commander, chief officer, and field commander at the Jerusalem wall. Unknown to the men outside the gate, I stood against a pillar with my comrades on the wall talking to the Assyrians outside of the wall.
Wrapped in a mantel, I watched my citizens pass by me, only the breeze tugging at my hood threatened to expose me.
‘What are you basing your confidence on? How are you planning on rebelling?’ one of the Assyrians asked.
‘Certainly not Egypt. That’s like leaning on a splintered staff and expecting not to get splinters in your hand.’
‘Besides, we could give you 2,000 horses, but you still wouldn’t be able to put riders on them.’
The first speaker guffawed at the blow.
As loud as a donkey ready to attack, the commander brayed, ‘We have orders from your God to destroy you.’
I was proud to hear my wise companions speak.
‘Please speak to us in Aramaic, master. Don’t speak to us in Hebrew lest the people on the wall hear.’
Calling out even louder in Hebrew, the commander spoke fear into the people’s hearts.
‘Do not believe Hezekiah. The Lord will deliver you into our hands. Turn yourselves in before it’s too late.’
I sank my weight against the pillar.
People stood still in the streets. As a sheep before the slaughter stops its fight when it feels the blade against its throat, so the people looked stunned and silent.
‘It’s your choice: life or death. How will your God deliver you?’
I examined the people. As obedient as a faithful daughter, the people did not answer the Assyrians because I had ordered them to be silent.
Heading back to my palace with head bowed, I waited to hear the account of my three faithful comrades.
They arrived with their clothes torn. I did the same.
I sent my three officials to the prophet Isaiah with one message: ‘Pray for us.’
I went into the tabernacle of the Lord. As the angels prostrate before Yahweh, I laid on my face in prayer before God.
Isaiah sent a message from Yahweh: ‘Do not fear. I will fight for you. Assyria will be attacked by another nation, and Sennacherib will have to turn home to fight. There I will end his life.’
I was able to eat for the first time in the past three days. My servants acted confused. I guess they expected me to be concerned about the message at the wall.
I knew my comfort: The Lord would fight for me.
The next morning I was reading in my chamber as I usually did at that hour when a messenger brought a letter with the word ‘mavet’ smeared in blood on the cover. The signature read ‘King Sennacherib.’
Death. Death. Death. The word written in blood.
‘Do not let your god deceive you when he says you will be delivered. Look at the other kings Assyria has destroyed. Did their gods help them?’
As a thin candle with a long wick, my strength was waxed faint.
How had the king heard of the message promising deliverance? Had Isaiah been captured by the Assyrians? Were there spies in the city?
I went up to the temple of the Lord. Letting my heavy kingly garments sag my body to the floor, I knelt.
I took the bloodstained letter from my breast and spread it out before my God. ‘Please show the power of your name by delivering your people.’
Again, Isaiah sent a message from the Lord to me.
‘Hasn’t my prophet, Isaiah, told you? I have ordained this long ago and I am now bringing it to pass. I will fight for you.’
The next morning I went to the Jerusalem wall, disguised in my cloak again. I paced. My mind paced. My heart paced. I quoted the words of Moses from the scrolls, ‘A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.’
My eyes fluttered in the direction of a bird that had swooped onto the wall a few feet away from me. But my vision moved beyond to a flock of vultures circling in the distance where the Assyrians had camped.
Upon returning to the palace, I received a report of a messenger who had walked into a dead man’s camp, counting the corpses of around one hundred and eighty-five thousand men. The rest of the army had returned home.
Upon hearing the message, my arms raised to the God of my predecessor, David. ‘It was the angel of the Lord,’ I cried.
Later, I heard of the death of King Sennacherib by the hand of his sons.
The Lord truly had fought for me.”
Hezekiah redefined uprising. He fought his battles in prayer. Whatever battles you are facing, bring them to the Lord, as King Hezekiah’s letter. Yahweh will fight for you.
Whether it's your bills, letter of unemployment, textbooks, note from a loved one, spread out some symbol of change before the Lord and use your uprising to strengthen your trust in Christ.
Let’s uprise with Hezekiah!
*Disclaimer: the quotes are not word-for word of Scripture but rather summary quotes.