Tuesday, April 14, 2015
“In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live
Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, And said, Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. .” (Isaiah 38:1-3)
Hezekiah had gotten sick and it looked like he was going to die. Isaiah came and told him that god had said he needed to get everything ready because he was going to die. Hezekiah wasn’t ready to die and prayed, reminding God how faithfully he had served him and tried to obey him.
“Then came the word of the LORD to Isaiah, saying, Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years. And I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria: and I will defend this city.
And this shall be a sign unto thee from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that he hath spoken; Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down.” (Isaiah 38:4-8)
Hezekiah’s prayer produced immediate results. God directed Isaiah to tell him the he would live an fifteen more years. As a sign of that he would cause the shadow on the sundial to move a ahead one hour or back one hour, whichever Hezekiah chose. Since the sun always advances, Hezekiah thought it would be more noticeable if it went backward. While it is relatively easy to reset a clock for Daylight Savings Time, it takes a lot to reset the suns shadow. II Kings 20 and II Chronicles 32 give additional details of the story.
“The writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick, and was recovered of his sickness: I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave: I am deprived of the residue of my years. I said, I shall not see the LORD, even the LORD, in the land of the living: I shall behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world. Mine age is departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd's tent: I have cut off like a weaver my life: he will cut me off with pining sickness: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me.
I reckoned till morning, that, as a lion, so will he break all my bones: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me. Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail with looking upward: O LORD, I am oppressed; undertake for me.
What shall I say? he hath both spoken unto me, and himself hath done it: I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul. O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit: so wilt thou recover me, and make me to live.
Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back. For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.
The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth. The LORD was ready to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the LORD.” (Isaiah 38:9-20)
Hezekiah describes the fear and despair he felt when he was told that he was going to die. Anyone who has experienced being told they have cancer or other fatal diseases can probably identify with the feelings he had. It just seemed like his service for God meant nothing. Then God answered his prayer and promised deliverance. He was going to sing God’s praises with everything he could. Because he was alive he could do so.
“For Isaiah had said, Let them take a lump of figs, and lay it for a plaster upon the boil, and he shall recover. Hezekiah also had said, What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the LORD?” (Isaiah 38:21-22)
Isaiah had told them to place a bunch of dried figs over the infection to draw it out and kill the infection and he would recover. Hezekiah had asked for a sign so he would know the prophecy was from God, as described in Deuteronomy 18:18-22.