Hezekiah’s Prayer and Pride

Posted: August 22, 2013 in Isaiah

Isaiah 38-39, “Hezekiah’s Prayer and Pride”

People can be really conflicted at times.  The same person who demonstrates incredible faith one moment can act as if he has no faith the next.  Think of King David.  Here’s a man after God’s own heart – a prolific writer of worship songs, and warrior for God, even taking down the giant Goliath while David was still just a boy.  There’s no greater king in Israel’s history…yet one of the most famous events in his life is his sin & failing when he committed adultery and murder.  Or Moses, who walked so steadfastly with God, patiently putting up with the grumbling of the Hebrew multitude, only to throw a temper tantrum & be forbidden by God from actually entering the Promised Land.  Sometimes some really godly people do some really boneheaded things.

That was the case with Hezekiah.  This was a really godly king – one of the best that the southern kingdom of Judah ever had, on par with David & Solomon.  He was the king who sought the Lord against the Assyrians, who so trusted God by faith that he laid a threatening letter from the Assyrians before God, knowing that Jerusalem’s only hope was in the Lord.  And God responded!  God sent His angel, and 185,000 soldiers were killed in a single night.  This was a momentous victory!

Hezekiah’s faith didn’t begin & end there.  He had brought incredible reform to the nation, cleansed the temple, restored true worship, and much more.  This was a good king!  But even good kings have their failings, and that’s what we see in these two chapters.  Isaiah continues his narrative about King Hezekiah, showing one act of faith & one act of foolishness.  (Thankfully in it all, God never stops being God!  Where we are conflicted and inconsistent, our God is a rock!)

Isaiah 38

  • Hezekiah’s prayer and God’s answer (vss. 1-8)

1 In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.’ ”

  • The first question we might ask is: “in which days?”  This seems to be a look back to the days just prior to the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib and the Assyrian army (as will be made clear by verse 6).  This would have been a terrible time for Hezekiah to have been sick!  No time is good, but this would have been a national crisis for the whole nation, not just a problem for King Hezekiah only.
  • How bad was it?  Isaiah told Hezekiah to prepare for his death.  He had been given a specific prophecy from the Lord stating that the king would die.  At this point, every priority in Hezekiah’s life needed to be re-evaluated, as he was told to “set [his] house in order.
    • Although no one wants to be in a situation in which they are facing imminent death, it certainly can bring a lot of light as to the things that are most important in life.
    • Not everyone has a specific prophecy of death from the Lord, but all of us live in the reality that every single day might be our last.  Are our homes in order?  Are our lives prioritized the way they ought to be?

2 Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the LORD, 3 and said, “Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

  • After receiving this news, Hezekiah does what any of us would have done: prayed!  This was heartfelt prayer – emotional prayer.  Hezekiah laid his heart bare before the Lord, asking for God to intervene and change the course of action.
    • We have the invitation to do exactly that in prayer!
  • What Hezekiah said in his prayer is not exactly an example for us to follow today.  From his perspective & cultural line of thinking, what he prayed was perfectly acceptable.  He had done the best that he could to walk according to God’s ways – he had brought reform to the nation, helping them worship God in line with what the Scripture taught – although he had his struggles in faith (in looking to the Egyptians), ultimately he showed himself loyal unto the Lord.  According to his cultural interpretation of the OT Scriptures, he would have been able to claim all of these things with an honest heart.  (Not unlike Paul, when writing to the Philippians claimed that he was blameless concerning the righteousness which is found in the law – Phil 3:6.) Yet ultimately, we know that NO ONE is blameless according to the law.  No one is steadfastly loyal unto the Lord, and no one does good.
  • So if we can’t pray how Hezekiah prayed, how CAN we pray today?  Not according to how we have walked in righteousness (we haven’t!), but according to how Jesus has walked in righteousness.  We don’t appeal to God based upon our works, but upon Jesus’ work on our behalf.
  • Some might criticize Hezekiah for praying at all.  “Why not just accept what God had to say?  Hezekiah is rebelling against God in his prayer.”  Apparently God did not think so.  God responded positively to the prayer of Hezekiah.  See vs. 4…

4 And the word of the LORD came to Isaiah, saying, 5 “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years. 6 I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city.” ’

  • God did not chastise Hezekiah for praying.  On the contrary, He affirmed Hezekiah’s request, granting him all that he asked for & more.  Hezekiah perhaps appealed to God upon his own works, but God responds to Hezekiah with incredible compassion and grace.
    • God heard his prayer.  The attention of God…
    • God saw his tears.  The compassion of God…
    • God added to his life.  The grace of God…
    • God promised deliverance.  The salvation of God…
    • God promised defense.  The protection of God…
  • Notice how God identified Himself: “the LORD, the God of David your father.”  God identifies Himself as the covenant-keeping ever-existent God Yahweh, and then gives a specific reference to the Davidic covenant.  Why David?  The covenant with David was about the Messianic promise – a testimony from God that someone from the house of David would reign over Israel forever.  This gives us perhaps a bit of insight into the desperation of Hezekiah’s prayer.  It seems that one reason Hezekiah was so grieved about the announcement of his death is because he was afraid there would not be an heir to sit on the throne of David.  Although Hezekiah’s son Manasseh is not mentioned here in Isaiah, we’re told elsewhere that Manasseh was only 12 years old when he became king over Judah (2 Kings 21:1).  (After that point, he had one of the longest reigns of ANY king of Israel, though he was just as evil as his father was good.)  If Manasseh was only 12 when his father died, it means he must have been born AFTER God promised Hezekiah 15 more years to live.  When Hezekiah prayed, he apparently had no heir to the throne, and it would have appeared as if God’s promise would have failed and become null & void.  It’s no wonder Hezekiah prayed so fervently & God answered so wonderfully!
    • God will always honor His word & promise!  No matter what.

7 And this is the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing which He has spoken: 8 Behold, I will bring the shadow on the sundial, which has gone down with the sun on the sundial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward.” So the sun returned ten degrees on the dial by which it had gone down.

  • Hezekiah had actually asked for a sign to be given (2 Kings 20:8-11), which will be referenced at the end of the chapter.  Isaiah had told him the word of the Lord that he would be healed, and Hezekiah wanted a sign for confirmation.  He was even given the choice of what kind of sign to receive: the sundial moving ahead 10 degrees, or moving backwards 10 degrees.  Hezekiah chose the more difficult of the two.
  • Question: was this a lack of faith on Hezekiah’s part?  Perhaps – perhaps not.  Obviously we are explicitly told not to tempt the Lord our God.  God loves His children to have faith, as we simply trust Him for no other reason than that He gave His promise.  Yet occasionally in the Scriptures, we see God allowing signs to be given.  In Hezekiah’s own family, his father Ahaz had been offered a sign from the Lord, and Ahaz proudly refused (Isa 7:11-12).  That wasn’t faith on Ahaz’s part; that was false piety and a refusal to trust God.  It would seem Hezekiah is wanting to avoid the mistake of his father.  He knows God had the ability to heal, to grant life, and to deliver Jerusalem from the Assyrians – perhaps in asking for a sign from the Lord, he is actively reaching out IN faith, trusting that God will respond.
    • Obviously we don’t have carte blanche to ask for signs from God.  But we CAN appeal to God knowing that He is the Living God.  He hears us and responds to us as His children.  Sometimes we find ourselves praying to God expecting that He will always be silent – that ought not be the case.  God DOES answer prayer, and sometimes in the most unexpected of ways.
  • The sign itself is nothing short of miraculous.  Again, Hezekiah picked out the harder of the two options given him by the Lord (and the fact that God gave him options is a good indication that God was not displeased with Hezekiah’s request for a sign).  To move the shadow on the sundial forward would be easy…you could even claim it’s fulfillment through the naturally occurring movement of time.  But to move it backward would be truly impossible, apart from a work of God.  Hezekiah picked something that could not be faked – something that only God could do.
    • That’s what we’re given in the resurrection of Jesus Christ: a miracle that cannot be faked!  It’s absolutely solid testimony that Jesus is, in fact, God!
  • BTW – some would argue that physics make this miracle impossible.  If the sun really did move back in the sky 10 degrees, it would mean that the earth would have to reverse its rotation, and the forces of inertia and gravity would rip the entire earth to pieces.  There are two responses to this: (1) We’re talking about GOD, so of course it will be a miracle.  God is the author of physics, and He can suspend its laws at will.  (2) Nowhere in the text are we ever told that the sun moved back in the sky 10 degrees, but rather the shadow of the sun would move back on this one specific sundial (that of Ahaz) 10 degrees.  There’s no indication that this was a global phenomenon (which surely would have been recorded by other cultures), but rather a very specific miracle tied to a specific location.
  • Of course, God DID fulfill the sign, and gave the needed confirmation that Hezekiah would be healed of his sickness, live 15 years, and see the deliverance of his city and people from the Assyrians.  Glorious!
  • Hezekiah’s song of thanks (vss. 9-20).
  • His mourning (vss. 9-14)

9 This is the writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick and had recovered from his sickness: 10 I said, “In the prime of my life I shall go to the gates of Sheol; I am deprived of the remainder of my years.” 11 I said, “I shall not see YAH, The LORD in the land of the living; I shall observe man no more among the inhabitants of the world.

  • Note this isn’t the way Hezekiah feels now; this is the way he felt.  These are the honest feelings he had when he was facing sure death.  He was only 39 years old at the time of his sickness (2 Kings 18:2…he was 25 years old when he became king & reigned 29 years total), so he was still relatively young & felt in the “prime” of his life.  At this point, he didn’t even have a male son as an heir to the throne, so it surely felt as if he was being “deprived of the remainder of [his] years.
  • Beyond the sickness itself, Hezekiah felt as if he would be completely cut off from God in death.  No longer would he be able to worship according to the customs of the Jews.  He wouldn’t be able to come into the house of God, or even be around other people, for that matter.  He felt totally alone in his death and suffering, and that everything as he knew it would end.
  • The thought of death was hopeless to him.  The thought of death is hopeless to a lot of people!  They cannot see anything beyond the grave, and the thought of death is terrifying, as if they will be blotted out of existence & everything will be gone.  Although Hezekiah obviously did not understand much about life beyond the grave, this is not what the Bible teaches at all.  To be sure, prior to the NT, much about life after death was shrouded in mystery.  The Scripture gave some hints as to what it would be like, but it didn’t say much in specifics.  It’s not until Jesus came incarnate & we were given the full revelation of the NT that much of the mystery was revealed & many of the hints in the OT can be seen in their proper light.  For the born-again Christian, death is anything BUT hopeless!  In death, we do not have to worry that we will not see God (as Hezekiah worried); we have the direct promise that when we are absent from the body, we are present with the Lord (2 Cor 5:8).  Things will certainly be different, but there is most definitely life beyond the grave.  Abundant life – glorious life – eternal life – life as God truly intended it from the beginning in the full revelation and presence of God with His people.  It’s so good that even Paul wondered if would be better for him to go ahead and die in his suffering, or to remain alive with the Church. (Phil 1:23)  The presence of Jesus is a place that we as Christians want to go.  There is grand hope beyond death for the born-again believer.
    • And that’s the key.  Death truly is hopeless for the person who refuses Jesus.  The person who rejects Jesus as Lord rejects His love & grace for all eternity.  That person goes to the grave with the assurance that they will be forever separated from God, and into a place of everlasting torment.  That’s not what God desires for anyone!

12 My life span is gone, Taken from me like a shepherd’s tent; I have cut off my life like a weaver. He cuts me off from the loom; From day until night You make an end of me. 13 I have considered until morning— Like a lion, So He breaks all my bones; From day until night You make an end of me.

  • Again, these are the honest expressions of how Hezekiah felt.  (There’s nothing wrong with honesty in our prayers!  God knows the difference, anyway…)
  • Hezekiah felt completely cut off & isolated – even punished by the hand of God.  He describes God breaking him down like a lion breaking the bones of its prey.  Hezekiah had an understanding of the sovereignty of God, though perhaps not a great understanding of the grace of God.  God certainly did not steal away Hezekiah’s life, nor did God delight in torturing Hezekiah with pain.  No doubt God allowed this particular trial to come into Hezekiah’s life – for what reason, we’re not told.  Quite possibly, God allowed this to come specifically to cause Hezekiah to seek God’s face in prayer!  After all, Hezekiah had no heir to his throne – he had the threat of the Assyrian army pressing in – and in all of this, he had been seeking the help of the Egyptians as political allies.  Perhaps this was one way of God getting Hezekiah’s attention, and thus when Hezekiah did finally seek God’s face in fervent prayer, God was more than ready to respond.
  • What has God allowed to come into your life?  How are you responding – is it causing you seek God’s face, or to run from Him?

14 Like a crane or a swallow, so I chattered; I mourned like a dove; My eyes fail from looking upward. O LORD, I am oppressed; Undertake for me!

  • This is Hezekiah’s way of describing his prayer.  He chattered & mourned – like a bird crying out, so was he crying out to the Lord in desperation.
  • Hezekiah understands this much: even if God was the one breaking him down, Hezekiah knew that he could appeal to God to deliver him as well: “Undertake for me!”  Those are not the words someone uses with a person whom they feel is going to harm him.  Those are the words someone uses with a person whom they trust.  We can trust God to deliver us – we can trust God to take up our cause on our behalf.
    • God already has a track record on this: the cross!
  • His joy at God’s promise (vss. 15-20)

15 “What shall I say? He has both spoken to me, And He Himself has done it. I shall walk carefully all my years In the bitterness of my soul. 16 O Lord, by these things men live; And in all these things is the life of my spirit; So You will restore me and make me live.

  • Hezekiah recounts now receiving God’s answer through Isaiah.  God had “done it” – He had done the work and given the promise of life.  Hezekiah promised to walk cautiously in his remaining days (which turned out to be a difficult promise to keep!), and he committed himself to the Lord.
  • What does Hezekiah mean in vs. 16: “by these things men live”?  What are the “these” he’s referring to?  The work of God (vs. 15).  Hezekiah had the promise of life in his spirit & future years because God had acted on his behalf in restoration.  All the hope that Hezekiah had of life was because of the grace and mercy of God.
    • The exact same can be said of us in regards to eternal life!

17 Indeed it was for my own peace That I had great bitterness; But You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption, For You have cast all my sins behind Your back.

  • NKJV “peace” could also be translated “welfare.”  Hezekiah had previously been bitter because he had no peace about his future.  His welfare was suffering, so he can slipped into bitter hopelessness.  Now all that had changed by the work of God.  He had been “lovingly delivered” from death!  God had kept him from the grave & God had hidden his sins away in loving protection.
  • Similar statements can be said both about Christ & Christians!  Jesus Himself was delivered from the pit of corruption because His body was not allowed to stay in the grave long enough to see physical decay.  He was resurrected, and in the process of His death and had taken the sins of the world upon Himself, hiding them away in Himself. For us, we are the beneficiaries of His act of grace.  We now have been delivered from the pit.  We have the promise of the resurrection and the life – though we die, yet shall we live.  We will not face eternal separation from God, but we will rejoice in His presence.  And we have the confidence of this very thing because God has hidden all our sins away.  Jesus has become our justification, declaring us to be righteous in the sight of God, and God has now so far removed our transgressions from us, it as far as the east is from the west.
    • God not only hid our sins, He completely absolved them in Jesus!  We no longer need worry about them, as if we’re worried about a government fine that will eventually catch up with us.  Jesus paid the fine on our behalf – it’s completely over!

18 For Sheol cannot thank You, Death cannot praise You; Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your truth. 19 The living, the living man, he shall praise You, As I do this day; The father shall make known Your truth to the children.

  • This is one reason Hezekiah didn’t want to die.  Dead people don’t sing worship songs.  Graveyards are quiet places for a reason.  It is the living who praise the Lord, and Hezekiah wanted to continue to be numbered among the living.
  • Again, this shows a bit of incomplete understanding on Hezekiah’s part regarding the death of God’s saints.  Those who believe in Christ and die DO indeed continue to praise the Lord.  We will be in His very presence as we do so!  There is no end to the worship of God for a born-again Christian.  We will live throughout eternity, forever lifting up the praises of our loving Creator God & King!

20 “The LORD was ready to save me; Therefore we will sing my songs with stringed instruments All the days of our life, in the house of the LORD.”

  • Hezekiah was saved, and he wasn’t the only one who would praise the Lord in life.  Note the change to the plural: “we will sing…our life…”  The whole nation could join in the praise of God because God had preserved the life of the king. 
  • More than that, God had preserved the word of His promise.  The line of David would not pass from the earth, and God’s promise for a Davidic king would live on.  Surely that’s something that ALL of God’s people can sing songs of praise for!
  • Flashback: the treatment & sign (vss. 21-22)

21 Now Isaiah had said, “Let them take a lump of figs, and apply it as a poultice on the boil, and he shall recover.” 22 And Hezekiah had said, “What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the LORD?”

  • The psalm was obviously written after God had given the sign of Hezekiah’s healing, so these verses seem to be a bit out of order.  It fills in a bit of the gap that’s left between vss. 6-7.  A fuller account is given in 2 Kings 20:7-11.
  • What was the lump of figs used for?  Actually, we’re not told.  There’s no doubt that Isaiah was directed to use it in Hezekiah’s healing.  Whether it was supernatural or medicinal or a combination of the two, we’re not told.  All we know is that God promised healing & life, and this is how He chose to grant it to Hezekiah.
    • Can God use medicine to heal?  Yes.  Can He heal supernaturally?  Yes.  Sometimes people get the idea that God only uses one or the other, or that one takes “more faith” than the other.  Not so!  To be sure, not all uses of medicine is good (and there can be arguments made regarding over-medication), but God can use all sorts of things for His glory.  God has gifted some men & women with incredible knowledge regarding the science of our physical bodies, and the healing that He grants through their treatments & advice is no less a gift of God than a supernatural touch.
    • The question is not “seek God or seek a doctor” in cases of illness; it’s both.  This is one thing James seems to address when he exhorts those who are sick to call for the elders of the church, receive prayer, and be anointed with oil (Jas 5:14).  The use of oil was not only a symbol of the Holy Spirit, but oil was used medicinally by the ancient world.  James is telling the people to seek God in prayer & use whatever human methods are at your disposal.  (Our problem is that we sometimes rely on human methods to the exclusion of God!)

Isaiah 39

  • Hezekiah & the Babylonians (vss. 1-2)

1 At that time Merodach-Baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that he had been sick and had recovered. 2 And Hezekiah was pleased with them, and showed them the house of his treasures—the silver and gold, the spices and precious ointment, and all his armory—all that was found among his treasures. There was nothing in his house or in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them.

  • What’s interesting here is the mention of Babylon, rather than Assyria.  Although Babylon has been mentioned by Isaiah before, the primary enemy of Judah has plainly been Assyria.  Babylon had been mentioned along with a slew of other nations, but not given nearly the amount of focus as the empire that was the current world superpower, which had taken the northern kingdom of Israel captive & had been waiting on the doorsteps of Jerusalem.  Consider the narrative of Isaiah thus far.  Now, Assyria had been dealt with by the Lord.  Sennacherib had been driven back, all according to the promised deliverance by God.  So now what?  A new enemy of Judah would arise, though they wouldn’t gain worldwide prominence for decades yet to come.  The remainder of the book of Isaiah will feature Babylon in very specific ways, and Ch 39 serves as a transition between the focus on the two empires.
  • Regarding this particular instance, what was Babylon doing here?  It seems that they were seeking a political alliance with Judah.  Perhaps Merodach-Baladan had heard the prophecies of how God would defeat Sennacherib – perhaps he simply sensed that Hezekiah would be open to an alliance.  No doubt, the news of Hezekiah’s healing was a convenient excuse to come to the land.  Babylon had been a servant-state of Assyria at this time, but they were looking to throw of their shackles & were putting out feelers as to who might join with them.  (And of course, it never hurt to spy out the nations around them if they thought they might have an opportunity to expand.)
  • Hezekiah received the envoys from Babylon warmly!  It seems that he was flattered by the attention.  Babylon was not the premier world power at the time, but they certainly were incredibly powerful on the world scene, and here they were inquiring about this tiny king of a tiny kingdom.  It was flattering to be noticed, and so he seemingly wanted to show off reasons why he ought to have been noticed.
    • BTW – the fact that Hezekiah was able to show off the treasures of the temple is an indication of the timeframe.  This would have been shortly prior to the Assyrian invasion, because Hezekiah had attempted to pay off Sennacherib with all of the silver that was found in the house of the Lord (2 Kings 18:17), along with other payment.
  • The fact that Hezekiah showed off the treasuries was incredibly foolish!  This was an act born out of pride.  One simply does not open up a bank account to a stranger, yet that is almost exactly what Hezekiah had done with the Babylonians.  They came with flattery, but there was no way Hezekiah could know what was truly in the heart of the king who had sent them.  Hezekiah was enamored with the attention, and he strutted around like a peacock.
    • Keep in mind, although Babylon did not feature prevalently in the earlier prophecies of Isaiah, God had not been totally silent about them.  In fact, Isaiah had specifically prophesied that Babylon would capture & enslave Judah.  Isaiah 14:2–4, "(2) Then people will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them for servants and maids in the land of the LORD; they will take them captive whose captives they were, and rule over their oppressors. (3) It shall come to pass in the day the LORD gives you rest from your sorrow, and from your fear and the hard bondage in which you were made to serve, (4) that you will take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say: “How the oppressor has ceased, The golden city ceased!" []  The Babylonians would come and possess the people of Israel – and here is the king of Israel (Judah) showing off where to come loot the money when they arrive.
    • Pride makes people do foolish things.  A married man or woman who relishes in the flirtatious compliments of another is already opening the door to sin.  An inability to say no to peer-pressure has been the cause of many to fall into addictions.  Beware of the blindness that comes with pride!
  • Isaiah’s confrontation & proclamation (vss. 3-8)

3 Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say, and from where did they come to you?” So Hezekiah said, “They came to me from a far country, from Babylon.” 4 And he said, “What have they seen in your house?” So Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them.”

  • Isaiah has a personal confrontation with the king.  Like Nathan confronting David, and like countless other prophets who came into the presence of their kings with a word from the Lord, Isaiah is put in a position where he has to point out the foolishness of this king who was supposed to serve the Lord alone.  (Sin has a way of being exposed, one way or the other!)
  • When Isaiah asked the questions, surely he wasn’t looking for information.  No doubt he already knew what Hezekiah had done.  What he IS doing is giving Hezekiah an opportunity to confess.  To his credit, Hezekiah is completely truthful in his words, though it doesn’t seem as if he realized that he had sinned at all.  Hezekiah doesn’t hide anything he did (it’s impossible to hide anything from the Lord, or in this case, His prophet), but he doesn’t seem to recognize the trouble he brought upon the nation through his foolish pride.

5 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD of hosts: 6 ‘Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and what your fathers have accumulated until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,’ says the LORD. 7 ‘And they shall take away some of your sons who will descend from you, whom you will beget; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’ ”

  • If Isaiah’s prophecy in Ch. 14 was a bit mysterious, there’s no mystery any longer.  He states clearly how the nation would be taken into captivity by Babylon, and that everything that remained in Jerusalem (including the house of Hezekiah) would be taken away.  No person would be spared, not even those of Hezekiah’s household.  Even some in the royal family would be made eunuchs (which seems to have been the case with Daniel the prophet).
  • To be sure, the Babylonian captivity was NOT brought about by Hezekiah’s sin.  The people of Judah had been storing up their own portion of the wrath of God, and Hezekiah’s son Manasseh would provoke God in horrendous ways.  However, Hezekiah’s foolishness did provide a lesson for how the people as a whole would be punished.  It was the people’s pride against God that caused them to be taken away, just like it was Hezekiah’s pride that showed what all would be taken away.

8 So Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD which you have spoken is good!” For he said, “At least there will be peace and truth in my days.”

  • This has to be one of the most bizarre responses to God’s prophecies in all the Scripture.  There are many responses to a word from God that speaks of coming judgment, captivity, and desolation, including the physical mutilation of one’s own family members.  Calling it a “good” word is not one we might expect.  It’s as if Hezekiah still doesn’t get it.  It’s possible Hezekiah is affirming God’s mercy in holding back on the judgment, and calling it good simply because it comes from the Lord.  More likely however, Hezekiah is simply demonstrating a bit of selfishness.  This might come upon his children, but it won’t come upon him.  This is short-sighted, to say the least.

It’s not the best way to end the narrative of such an otherwise Godly king, but it’s accurate.  Hezekiah saw some incredible miracles from the Lord!  Not only had God moved in an amazing way against the Assyrian army (as detailed in the past two chapters), but Hezekiah had personally experienced the miraculous power of the Lord on his behalf.  God had heard his prayer, extended his life, granted him a son & heir to the throne, all preserving the Messianic promise.  The whole nation could praise God for such an act!

And then he goes and demonstrates such foolish pride and selfishness, seemingly not even coming to grips with what he did. 

Isn’t that the way it is so often with us?  We’ll walk closely with Jesus, trusting His promises & His grace, experiencing all kinds of fellowship with Him in prayer & worship…and then the next moment, we do something completely boneheaded, perhaps not even realizing it until confronted by the word of God.

Sad to say, that’s normal.  That’s simply part of being human.  The good news is that God still loves us in spite of all of our bone-headed mistakes!  God does not stop being our God when we act in foolishness.  And God does not withhold His grace when we realize what we’ve done and turn to Him in repentance.

That’s the good news for every believer in Christ!  We have a God who truly has hidden our sin away – He’s taken care of all of the punishment we deserved.  He hears our cries, and He knows our tears.  He understands our condition, and He loves us.  What glorious news!

  1. tinker bell says:

    LOL. Paul was an Apostle of Lord Jesus the Christ and a Prophet of God! What he wrote is Holy Scripture!! How dare you assert that what he stated is false and that YOUR John Calvin was correct!!!

  2. tinker bell says:

    By the way: If YOU do *not* walk in righteous, then YOU are *not* a Christian! Apostle John made that clear!!!

    1 John 3

    4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or [b]knows Him. 7 Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; 8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil [c]has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one who is [d]born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is [e]born of God. 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: [f]anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

    11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; 12 not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.

    13 Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

  3. timburns says:

    I’m sorry “Tinker Bell”, but I’m lost as to what you’re talking about. I am not a Calvinist, and I did not mention Calvin in the above message at all.

    Nor do I assert that Paul is anything less than an apostle. There are only two mentions of Paul in the above message, one of which is a side-reference to Philippians 3:6, where he writes that he was blameless regarding the righteousness that was found in the law.

    By that statement, Paul never implied that he was sinless. To the contrary, in his first letter to Timothy, he identified himself as the chief of all sinners (1 Tim 1:15). What he meant in his letter to the Philippians, was that according to the traditional Jewish understanding of the law, he had lived his life in righteousness. But even that, he contrasted with the true righteousness of God that comes by faith. (Phil 3:9)

    I do not know the basis of your accusation. Can you point me to a specific point in the above message in which you are confused?

  4. rowena says:

    Did Hezekiah repent from pride and selfishness?

  5. timburns says:

    @rowena – Thanks for stopping by. That’s a good question. 2 Chronicles 32:26 refers to Hezekiah humbling himself, but that seems to be more a reference to his humility in seeking God for physical healing than anything else. Later, 2 Chronicles 32:31 mentions the visit from the Babylonian emissaries, and it says this was done to “test” Hezekiah, and doesn’t say anything about Hezekiah’s heart afterward. Elsewhere, the account in 2 Kings 20 is somewhat parallel to Isaiah 39. What we do know from the Bible is that Hezekiah is referred to in good terms, thought well by the Biblical writers. As to what was in his heart, truly only God knows. (And it’s a good reminder to me & hopefully others, that we ought to examine our own hearts before the Lord!)

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