‘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.’ 2 Kings 19.14
This particular letter received by Hezekiah did not bear good news; in fact it was a threat to destroy all that he had built up. Verse 14 tells us about Hezekiah’s response to the letter and the rest of the chapter reveals the consequences.
We all receive bad news. It may relate to any number of things: bad news about someone or something dear to us, an assault on something we believed to be true – such as questioning God’s love for us – or possibly discouragement. Bad news is common to us all at some points in our lives but what is important is what we do with it. We are told that Hezekiah went to the temple and spread it out before the Lord.
In our case we may not have a physical temple to which we can go but we can seek to let the first thing we do be to bring it to God, rather than letting worry and anxiety begin to consume us. A lovely phrase is used to describe Hezekiah’s action – he ‘spread it out before the Lord.’
Whenever you receive bad news lay it out before the Lord, let him examine it, and in this way begin to see it through his eyes rather than simply your own.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission