Isaiah 37:3 – They told him, “This is what Hezekiah says: This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the moment of birth and there is no strength to deliver them.” NIV
If you have been following me through this battle with Hezekiah and Sennacherib, you know that a lot has been going on. This has been a battle that has spanned months, if not years.
Hezekiah has cleaned up Judah, getting rid of the idols and restoring the worship of the One True God. That was a battle in and of itself! Then he rebelled against Sennacherib, in essence, letting him know that he wasn’t going to do his bidding anymore. Then Sennacherib attacks all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them, taking the people into captivity. Hezekiah repents of his rebellion to Sennacherib and pays him tribute, or compromises. Sennacherib isn’t satisfied and he sends a large army to take Jerusalem. Whew! A lot is going on!
With all that Hezekiah has done, restoring righteousness to Judah, building up the city against war, encouraging his people to trust that God was on their side, he has shown himself to be a king whose trust was in the Lord. He may have gotten a little frightened and compromised, but at the heart of all he had done, was a king who believed in God.
Now, with our key verse, we see a king who is weary. He has grown tired of the constant need to be on guard, the constant need to be battle ready, the constant need to encourage himself and his people, and it’s the worst time ever to be weary because war seems eminent.
The Bible doesn’t explain to us where Isaiah has been during all of this time, but now Hezekiah feels like he needs some encouragement. He sends messengers to Isaiah and tells them to say to Isaiah that he is at a place of distress, rebuke, and disgrace and he feels like a mother who is about to deliver a baby but she has no strength left to deliver it.
Now, you have to have given birth or at least been with someone who has given birth to fully understand this. I have had three children and I totally understand what Hezekiah is saying.
My second child was my longest labor. It felt like forever, but it was really about 30 hours. Most of that time I was in the hospital on pitocin which was used to help my contractions become stronger. I kid you not when I say my contractions were hard and frequent for so many hours I thought I was going to lose my mind!! The nurses kept coming in to check on my progress but nothing was happening. Finally, my sister-in-law, who worked in labor and delivery at that hospital, but who was supposed to be watching my firstborn, showed up. She took one look at me, knew I didn’t have the strength to deliver my baby, and she turned around and got me a surgeon who could give me a C-section! I was delivered!!! And I was oh so grateful to be done.
Back to Hezekiah! He is saying the labor has been too long and he has grown weary and he needs help in delivering this baby! Do you know how Hezekiah felt? I know this feeling naturally and spiritually. And if you have never experienced it, just keep living!
Spiritual battle fatigue is real. There are some battles that end so quickly you don’t even realize you were in a battle; but there are some that seem to go and on and on. I’m thinking of a battle of sickness, or a battle in a relationship, or a battle with finances, or a battle with a boss. You have done every thing that you can think of and every thing that others can think of. You have prayed and you have stood on the word. You have confessed and you have put a praise on it. You have bound the enemy and you have put him under you feet, but the battle still rages! What do you do?
It is at this time that you need a word from God. You may need to seek out someone who can intercede on your behalf. You may need to go to your pastor. Whomever the Holy Spirit brings to your mind, you need to get with them and trust them to be able to hear from the Lord because your strength is failing you. I’ve been in need and I’ve been the mediator and it’s a blessing to have people who will help you win a battle.
That’s what Hezekiah did! He sent his people to the prophet Isaiah, and Isaiah had a word for him from the Lord. God sent Hezekiah a word that He had heard the blasphemous words of the Assyrian king and that Sennacherib would return to his own country and be cut down with the sword.
That word encouraged Hezekiah and he was able to pray what was on his heart to the Father and continue in the battle. You know what happened! It ended for Sennacherib as Isaiah prophesied. Sennacherib’s own sons killed him! I’m not saying that God is going to kill anybody on your behalf, but He will come through for you. When you are feeling your greatest fatigue in the battle, know you are about to win your greatest victory. Stand strong, call in reinforcements, and don’t give up on God. Wonderful Jesus!