“Hezekiah received the letter . . and spread it before the Lord.” 2 Kings 19:14 NKJV
“Your crisis can become God’s opportunity.”
My thoughts today are about “bad news.”
Bad news can come at anytime to anybody – to rich and poor, young and old, and “the just and unjust, righteous and unrighteous.” Matthew 5:45 NIV. And bad news comes in many forms – unexpected expenses, a lost job, a dreaded diagnosis, or screeching tires. Bad news is not the best thing that happens in your day, but neither does it mean the worst thing is going to happen. Bad news is not the problem; your panic will be. What do you do when you do not know what to do? You can’t choose or control the circumstances that come your way; you must choose what your response will be. God doesn’t react to need; He responds to faith.
Hezekiah, King of Judah, received really bad news. Read 2 Kings 19:1-13 NKJV. The most powerful, notorious Assyrian king, Sennacherib, had ravaged surrounding nations and now approached Judah with 185,000 warriors. The Assyrian king sent his emissary with threatening letters to King Hezekiah. Judah was defenseless against such an army; make no mistake about that. When bad news comes, you will either be tempted to panic while projecting the worst case scenario, or will foolishly try to face and fix the problem yourself. Either would be a serious mistake.
Hezekiah didn’t know what to do about his problem, but he knew where to bring it. He brought it before the Lord. “Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, read it, and went up to the House of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. Then Hezekiah prayed . .” 2 Kings 19:14 NKJV. That’s what you do with bad news. You take it seriously; you face it squarely, but you do not panic or immediately take matters into your own hands. Hezekiah’s strategy was spiritual, not military. 2 Kings 18:1-8 NKJV. I think you can learn three practical strategies for success in a crisis.
(1) Bring your bad news to the Lord first. Where better to turn than to the Lord? It is liberating to bring every care to God. “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NKJV. I think God wants to hear what you think and feel. Feel free to speak your heart in honesty and humility. Be real with God, not religious. God is not impressed with your religion. He is, however, relational. What matters to you, matters to Him.
(2) Don’t waste God’s attention; pray! Prayer is not to provide God information; He already knows “the end from the beginning.” Prayer is your opportunity to give God your personal invitation to intervene in the situation. Doing so puts your problem in God’s hand and your dilemma into proper perspective. “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much . . don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything . . if you do this you will experience God’s peace . . guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” James 5:16-18/Philippians 4:6-7 NLT.
(3) Listen until you hear a true word from God. Read 2 Kings 19:20-35 NKJV. Hezekiah sought the counsel of the prophet, Isaiah, who had the word directly from God. Isaiah 37:21-35. Hezekiah and Judah would not be left to their merciless adversary; the ruthless king who troubled them was now at the mercy of their God. 2 Kings 19:36-38. Bad news can be viewed as a crisis; the good news is that in God’s hands, your crisis becomes God’s opportunity. And no one should waste an opportunity like that.
My prayer for you today is that your first thought is to turn God’s direction first.