May 20

Hezekiah, Part 8

II Kings 20:1 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.”

Here is one last, tender lesson from Hezekiah, and it relates to the length of his natural life. He is told through the prophet Isaiah that he is going to die soon. If most of us were told by God to put our house in order because we were going to die, we might have any number of reactions. We know of course that getting angry with God wouldn’t be the right response. Or walking away from the Lord. Many of us might think that simple resignation at this point would be the most spiritual thing to do. Hezekiah did something else.

Like Moses before him, Hezekiah was quick to go back and connect with God on every point—even the difficult ones—and pour out his heart before Him. Like Moses, Hezekiah even brought God’s word right back to Him:

II Kings 20:2-3 Then [Hezekiah] turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the LORD, saying, “Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

This wasn’t Hezekiah’s reaction to the word. This was Hezekiah’s response to the Lord. Hezekiah kept up his dialogue with God, including weeping that recalls many of the Psalms. As he was with his heartfelt prayer of II Kings 19, Hezekiah is honest here with his emotions, and with his implicit request of God to reconsider in the light of his obedience. Without attitude, or rebellion, or disappointed resignation, Hezekiah leaves the door open for God Himself to have the last word. And through Isaiah, He did:

II Kings 20:4-6 And it happened, before Isaiah had gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD. And I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake, and for the sake of My servant David.”

Instead of closing down, he kept his heart and his connection with God open, even after hearing what we might take as God’s “final word.” Of course the Lord had a right to say no, but we will never know what God might have done if Hezekiah hadn’t kept open his communication with the Lord. What an example to us that when faced with trials, enemies or death, the one right response is to get right back into communion with Him.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for the many examples of Hezekiah’s life. Help me to learn from my mistakes, as he did, and to bring everything to You in prayer. You are worthy of all my trust and of an ever-open heart.

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