“…and [Hezekiah] spread it before the LORD.” (Isa. 37:14)
ot any bad news lately? Hezekiah spread a
troubling letter out before the Lord. He didn’t read it to Him, he
“spread it out.” I imagine that is how Israel set up the tabernacle.
When I was a Boy Scout, I learned that was the best way to set up a
tent. When you spread it out, you could get a better idea of just how
it would stand. You would also see if all the necessary parts, pegs,
and tent poles were there. When we came back from camping, we would
spread the tent again in the driveway just to “air things out,” before
packing it away until the next Jamboree.
Hezekiah understood the importance of laying
things out before God. The famous letter needed to be “aired out,” and
sorted out. Fear has a way of growing like a mold or of rotting the
fabric of our faith. God has not given us the spirit of fear. Faith
will spread everything out before God.
The letter was an awful one. It was filled with
threatening words, hateful words, arrogant words. Only God could sort
it all out. He knew how many stays were necessary to raise a tent. He
knew what could be ignored and what could not.
Prayer is the spiritual means of “laying”
everything out before God each day. Our hearts are filled with people,
and plans, and problems. There are cords that must be untangled and
fabric that must be cleaned or repaired. There are friends and enemies
that have a place in the will and work of God today. Even Sennacherib
had a place in God's plans. On our knees we spread it all out so
each can be clearly seen. A spread sheet came down from heaven for
Peter to see God’s plans in a vision. At first Peter did not see how
the spread sheet “balanced” with all the other books of God. God made
it clear to Peter and to Hezekiah that if we bring everything to Him and
spread it all out He will show us where everything goes.
When my father would put a bicycle together on
Christmas eve (I’m not supposed to know this), he “spread it out.” The
nuts, the bolts, the fenders, the wheels were all laid out and he saw in
his mind the finished product. Our heavenly Father invites us to bring
our hearts and our heads to him and lay everything out before Him. We
are not smart enough to know how everything works. Hezekiah was assured
that God had a place for Israel and for Assyria. It was as if God told
Hezekiah, “don’t worry about the words of heathen kings. Just follow
the words and instructions I have provided and have included with the
faith I gave you. I will look at what is laid out, what is needed and
not needed. I will help you, and when we are done, you will see that I
have worked all things together for good.”
Lay it out in the morning to make sure you have all
the parts and pegs for the camping trip. Follow Jesus. Then,
after a day of living in the wilderness, air everything out again in
prayer, so you will be ready for journey and work tomorrow. The shoes
of a million Hebrews never wore out in forty years. Show God your
souls in prayer each day.