The Outspread Letter

November 23, 2019
by Gail Lundquist

2 Kings 19:14 – Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. (NIV)

What do you do when you are in serious trouble like King Hezekiah of Judah was? Ravenous Assyria was on the move, and swallowing up the tiny kingdom of Judah was next on King Sennacherib's agenda. He sent a letter to King Hezekiah, threatening to annihilate Judah. Hezekiah took this threatening letter to the temple and spread it out before the Lord. Pleading for God's deliverance, he put His trust in God. The result? The angel of the Lord killed 185,000 soldiers in the Assyrian camp. King Sennacherib withdrew, but upon his return home, he, in turn, went into the temple of his own god and was killed by two of his own sons. The outcomes of these temple visits were polar opposites. Sounds like a Hollywood movie, right? But Hezekiah trusted in God, and God faithfully delivered His people.

I have personalized this biblical account by following Hezekiah's example in my own way. I have physically "spread out" my cheque book, bills, application forms, letters, and other documents before the Lord. I say, "Lord, see this? I need Your help and guidance. Please provide for this need (or decision, or challenge) as You see best." My need is never as dire as King Hezekiah's was, but in my own little world, this physical action is a way of confirming to myself and to God that I am fully trusting in Him for the outcome of whatever it is that I am facing. Opening my "letter" — and myself — to God in this way allows me to give my burden to Him. I know that He is all-knowing and will handle the situation on my behalf in the best way possible.

My "letter" analogy, however, may soon need some revision. I may have to change my practice in the future to touching my computer screen or smartphone! So many changes are coming with technology that few people write letters these days. There is much less paperwork. I seldom write cheques anymore, although that would still be my preference. (I heard a joke about writing cheques that makes me smile: An elderly man turns to an impatient young man standing behind him in the checkout line at the grocery store, saying, "If you don't stop complaining, I'm going to write a cheque!")

King Hezekiah is my hero. He — like all of us — made some serious mistakes in life himself, but in this case, he did exactly the right thing. My goal is to follow his example in placing the details and concerns of everyday life in God's hands.

Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, You know every detail of life and every need and burden that we have. Please take these concerns as we bring them to You, assuring us that You will care for them as You know best. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Gail Lundquist <gail10833@gmail.com>
Portland, Oregon, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Great challenge, Gail.


    Thanks, Gail. This is an excellent recommendation.


    A lesson and a laugh, I will try out both.
    (On.)


    Yes, and amen! Thank you for the reminder and a very good practice.


    Thanks for this devotional. I am going to lay my health paper re; cancer as I wait for doctor’s appointment.


    What a wonderful, Biblical, practical piece of wisdom from the Lord. Thank you for this very attainable action.


    Hi Gail,
    Good devotional this morning, I too like that story of Hezekiah.
    Blessings.


    What an interesting practice! Love your point about trusting God with the everyday occurrences of life. Thanks for sharing. Blessings


    Dear Gail
    Your Daily Devotional certainly spoke to me today. Our daily concerns and worries about finances, our worries about our young granddaughter in today’s world, etc.
    Thank you for reminding me to bring all our “weights” before the Lord.


    Dear Gail,
    Thank you for your timely words today. I am just out of a month in hospital and desperately attempting to return to normal life here in the retirement home where I live.
    Blessings.


    O Gail! What a well-illustrated memorable read! Just when we think we know all the bits of the Bible! I wonder if it will lead to baby names including Hezekiah one of these days and you can say, sweetly, ‘Maybe I was the one who started that trend of Hezzies…’ I can see now why you thought maybe it hadn’t been accepted – that wonderful JOKE at the end. So very appropriate and ties the whole thing together – balanced perfectly between an ancient passage and our techie world today! Wow! You did it and nobody will forget it! Thank you.


    Dear Gail,
    “My “letter” analogy, however, may soon need some revision. I may have to change my practice in the future to touching my computer screen or smartphone!”
    I’m glad to see you looking with reality at your situation.
    May God help both you and me to be good planners and savers and givers to God’s work.
    AMEN.
    A prayer: Dear God, help us to do right with what you give us. And to be generous with needs in your work. Amen.

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