TODAY’S READING: 2 Kings 19; Psalms 46, 80, 135
The Psalmist celebrated that Jehovah defeated many nations including the Amorites (Psalm 135:10–11). “The term ‘Amorite’ originally meant ‘westerner,’ indicating people living west of Mesopotamia.” The Amorites migrated east from the Mediterranean coast of Syria, and both Babylon and Assyria claimed to be of Amorite descent. The Amorites also moved south and the term “Amorite” eventually became a general label for the peoples of Canaan. Israel’s conquest of the Amorites became the highpoint in the invasion and conquest of the promised land. Lest any nations of the West today feel badly that they’re not mentioned in the Bible, perhaps we can be included as modern Amorites!
The cry of Psalm 80 is the cry of the captive: “Stir up Your strength, and come and save us! Restore us, O God; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved. Visit this vine… It is burned with fire, it is cut down” (vv. 2–3, 14, 16). The twin realities of history are that the folly of men will always lead them to captivity and the powers of evil will always attack God’s own. Life will be pain and struggle whether the cause is internal sin or external assault. The nations will rage and the Lord who is our refuge, strength, help, and courage will utter His voice and melt them (46:1–10). In either case we are commanded to be still and know that Jehovah is God and that He will be exalted among the nations (v. 10). These Psalms give the background for Hezekiah’s prayer for deliverance, which in turn teaches us how to pray.
Pray the news. Hezekiah took the threatening letter and spread it before the Lord. Hezekiah acknowledged the havoc unleased by and on the nations, praying that God would act in such a way that all the nations of earth would know that Jehovah God is the only true King (2 Kings 19:14–19). In Hezekiah’s day, there was relatively little news and much prayer. In our day, we have too much news and too little prayer. Imagine the impact on the nations if the people of God would watch less sensationalized news and spend more time on their knees beseeching the God of heaven to act and save all the distressed peoples of earth! What if for every hour we watched news, we spent an hour watching in prayer.
Pray against evil and for a remnant. God told Hezekiah that his prayers were heard because he prayed “against” Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:20). Prayer isn’t gentle or gentrified; it is gory and aggressive. We need violent prayers that actively ask God to act and to remove all evil persons and powers that raise their rebellious spirits, words, laws, and ideology against the King of nations. We also need to pray for a remnant of every people to be saved, that God would again visit the vine He planted. When we pray against evil persons nationally and internationally, we are not praying against peoples; we are praying that the evil persons who keep their beautiful people out of heaven will be thwarted, judged, and removed, so that every single people group will be represented in God’s kingdom. Today, consider taking a one-day fast from the news and spend that time praying for the Muslim Tatar of Kazakhstan.
 The Chronological Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008. 1024.