December 12

The virgin, the daughter of Zion, has despised you, laughed you to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem has shaken her head behind your back! Isaiah 37:22

When Isaiah said this of God’s beloved Israel, neither the king nor his armies were feeling at all exultant. They were shaken by the threat of the Assyrian armies camped at the gates of Jerusalem. The Assyrian generals had shouted lies and abuse at the people of God, and Hezekiah’s response to the danger had been to make a desperate plea to God for help and advice. While Hezekiah and the people feared the worst, yet they would not give up hope, but prayed, although they felt so weak in prayer. And that is exactly what trouble and temptation do to us. They wear us down and demoralise us; we feel weak and pathetic, and our praise and worship seem dull and powerless. But God views things in a totally different way. When we pray in desperate moments, when we praise feeling as if our lips were swollen and our tongues heavy like lead, God values that praise as worth more to Him than all the dancing and praising we offered to God when all was well and life was easy. God here teaches us that prayer from a weak heart that turns, helpless, to God, is heard like a great shout of victory in heaven. It is the response all heaven awaits, and the trigger for the great interventions of God in human lives. Though Hezekiah didn’t yet know it, he was shaking his head at the devil with the boundless joy of victory. Don’t condemn yourself if you feel your responses to God are weak, for the fact that you respond to God in weakness is what makes your prayer so pleasing to God and so certain of victory.