Contributor: Esther Alajiki
Hezekiah was the first king since David to keep the Lord's commandments, He restored right worship for the people, and the honor of God as the True God. But in this chapter, we learn that he became gravely ill and was at the point of death and God had decided that He would use the situation to call him home. But Hezekiah appealed to the Lord, he called on the Lord to remember his service onto Him. Philippians 4:18c implies that our faithful services are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. Exodus 23:25 tells us that when we serve the Lord, He will bless our bread and water and take sickness away from our midst. Cornelius’s account in Acts 10:1-4 tells us that service rendered to God goes up to Him as a memorial and in today’s study which is in two parts, we see that within the confines of God’s prerogative, we can “cash in on it” just like Hezekiah did.
PART 1 VERSE DISCUSSION (Isaiah 38 Amplified Bible (1 – 9) Message Bible (9 – 22).)
Verse 1: God Speaks to His Children
In those days Hezekiah [king of Judah] became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, came to him and said, “For the LORD says this, ‘Set your house in order and prepare a will, for you shall die; you will not live.’ (2 Kings 20:1-11)
God sent His prophet to Hezekiah. He sends His word to His children, we are not to walk in darkness concerning any area of our lives. from comparing 2 Kings 18:2 with 2 Kings 20:6, Hezekiah was around 39/40 years old when he got his death sentence.
Verses 2 -3: Be Honest With God
“Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, (3) and said, “Please, O LORD, just remember how I have walked before You in faithfulness and truth, and with a whole heart [absolutely devoted to You], and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept greatly.”
He did not hold on to the prophet to seek solution. When faced with difficult situations, what do we do? Hezekiah had trusted God to deliver His people from an invading army but his personal situation was overwhelming for him. When trouble comes, instead of blaming God in frustration be honest with God. Trust for divine intervention.
Verses 4 – 6: God Answers His Children
“Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah, saying, (5)“Go and say to Hezekiah, ‘For the LORD, the God of David your father says this, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; listen carefully, I will add fifteen years to your life. (6) I will rescue you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city [Jerusalem].”
God re-sends His prophet back to Hezekiah. God delivered on a personal and a national level. He gave 2 gifts to Hezekiah - an extended life and knowing how many years’ left
Verses 7 – 8: God Can Alter the Natural Course of Nature
“This shall be the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that He has spoken: (8) Listen carefully, I will turn the shadow on the stairway [denoting the time of day] ten steps backward, the shadow on the stairway (sundial) of Ahaz.” And the sunlight went ten steps backward on the stairway where it had [previously] gone down.”
Did God make the earth go back in its orbit? Did He spin the earth backwards while still keeping gravity intact? Do not focus on rationalizing how God would perform miracles, recognize and celebrate His power and interventions. You may not know how, you may not know when but He’ll do it again.
Verses 9 – 15: Honesty and Simplicity in God’s Presence
“This is what Hezekiah king of Judah wrote after he’d been sick and then recovered from his sickness “In the very prime of life I have to leave. Whatever time I have left is spent in death’s waiting room. No more glimpses of God in the land of the living, No more meetings with my neighbours, no more rubbing shoulders with friends. This body I inhabit is taken down and packed away like a camper’s tent. Like a weaver, I’ve rolled up the carpet of my life as God cuts me free of the loom And at day’s end sweeps up the scraps and pieces. I cry for help until morning. Like a lion, God pummels and pounds me, relentlessly finishing me off. I squawk like a doomed hen, moan like a dove. My eyes ache from looking up for help: “Master, I’m in trouble! Get me out of this!” But what’s the use? God himself gave me the word. He’s done it to me. I can’t sleep— I’m that upset, that troubled.” [MSG]
Hezekiah expressed himself as he felt- no fancy words. He was grieved and expressed his grief to God.
Verses 16 – 20: Always Give God the Glory
“O Master, these are the conditions in which people live, and yes, in these very conditions my spirit is still alive— fully recovered with a fresh infusion of life! It seems it was good for me to go through all those troubles. Throughout them all you held tight to my lifeline. You never let me tumble over the edge into nothing. But my sins you let go of, threw them over your shoulder—good riddance! The dead don’t thank you, and choirs don’t sing praises from the morgue. Those buried six feet under don’t witness to your faithful ways. It’s the living—live men, live women—who thank you, just as I’m doing right now. Parents give their children full reports on your faithful ways. God saves and will save me. As fiddles and mandolins strike up the tunes, We’ll sing, oh we’ll sing, sing, for the rest of our lives in the Sanctuary of God.”
In response to God’s miracle, Hezekiah writes a song of praise, give Him praise for His daily mercies, Let God and others know how thankful you are. Shifted to the correct perspective of his illness, Hezekiah writes that his sins had caused his bitterness, not God. The Lord is interested in life and healing as the dead cannot be a witness of a living God and one of the privileges of man is to praise God while on earth. Hezekiah promised to praise God and teach the next generation about Him. 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.
Verses 21 - 22
“Isaiah had said, “Prepare a poultice of figs and put it on the boil so he may recover.” Hezekiah had said, “What is my cue that it’s all right to enter again the Sanctuary of God?”
The Lord already knew the remedy, and He provided a sign to Hezekiah because the king had wanted proof that Isaiah spoke truthfully.
PART 2 SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS
A Need for Prayer - When Hezekiah received his sentence, he had no heir. He chose to appeal to God in prayer. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James. 5:15-16). For us could be a situation or a challenge. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)
A Heart of Prayer - Notice the heart Hezekiah exhibited when he prayed. Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, he poured his heart out to the Lord. Prayer that truly touches the heart of God and changes things comes from a heart that is passionately dependent on God. Luke 22:42 yet not my will, but yours be done.”
An Answer to Prayer - God delights in answering the fervent prayers of the righteous - Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find” (Matthew 7:7) If you remain in Me and My Words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)
A response to answered prayer – thankfulness in receiving, faithfulness in stewarding, humility in responding. Psalm 34.
Hezekiah knew when to “turn his face to the wall” and pray to the Lord. He knew God well enough to hold on to Him and appeal to God’s justice and mercy, and present his case before the throne. Whenever we face whatever we deem to be the greatest challenge, the deepest valley, an impossible situation of life, seemingly hard and impenetrable walls we must turn to God. God heard Hezekiah’s cry, changed his death sentence, and added fifteen years to his life! Furthermore, God responded to Hezekiah beyond what he actually prayed for. This is a reminder of Ephesians 3:20: Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all we ask or think. God even set aside the astronomical laws to give a sign to Hezekiah!
In the face of unpleasant circumstances, you can “turn your face to the wall” and get through to God boldly and without shame, because you are anchored in His love, His word, and His blood bought redemption! God is ready to pour out His compassion, ready to bare His strong arm of deliverance in response to your prayer and loves praise in response to His goodness.
“14Inasmuch then as we [believers] have a great High Priest who has [already ascended and] passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith and cling tenaciously to our absolute trust in Him as Saviour]. 15For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin. 16Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment]”. Heb. 4: 14 -16. [AMP]