These same words of Isaiah’s were spoken by my husband’s Cardiologist after two major heart attacks…”Put your affairs in order, you’re going to die.” But just like Hezekiah, we chose to pray and beseech the Lord instead of accepting the bad report. With Hezekiah, the Lord heard his prayer and relented, and instead, sent Isaiah back to tell Hezekiah he’d have another 15 years to live. And with my husband, the Lord graciously has given him 25 years and counting since the day we heard those fateful words. Joel 2: 13-14 tell us that our Lord is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in love and He relents from sending calamity…and that He may even turn and have pity on us and leave a blessing behind.
King Hezekiah had his priories where they needed to be from the very start. One of his very first acts as king was to open up the Temple, which his father Ahaz had earlier boarded up. Instead of keeping the Temple of the Lord open for worship, Ahaz had placed altars to foreign gods at every street corner for the people. (II Chronicles 28:24-25) Hezekiah’s superstitious dabbler in idolatrous cults father had even scorned the Prophet Isaiah’s promise of a coming Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14) to instead run after foreign gods. The new King Hezekiah, with God’s help, was finally able to launch the long-needed moral and religious reform within the nation of Judah.
In II Chronicles 32, the king of Assyria had invaded Judah and laid siege…empowered by his massive army of horses, chariots, and soldiers. However, King Hezekiah stood his ground and encouraged the people by saying, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the King of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him.” (II Chronicles 32:7) So anytime when our circumstances look overwhelming… we need to remember that we too have that greater power with us.
King Hezekiah became ill to the point of death when Isaiah went and said to him, “Put your house in order, you’re going to die.” But it then says that Hezekiah prayed and wept before the Lord and the Lord relented. The human mind would look at this as God yielding, changing His mind, or just being fickle. But to God, relenting is grounded in compassion not whimsy. Psalm 106:45 says, “…and out of His great love He relented.” Though it may appear to us that God was changing His plan… according to His divine perspective…nothing changed.
King Hezekiah sought God’s ultimate plan and purpose in his life. He did what was right in the sight of the Lord and followed His Word carefully. It says that he sought the Lord wholeheartedly in all he did…and in doing so, he blessed many and in turn was greatly blessed by God.
In these verses we see the spirit of the Law vs the letter of the Law. In Matthew 23:23 Jesus chastised the Pharisees for their legalism and in doing so losing sight of the more important matters of the Law…things like justice, mercy, and faithfulness. The Lord always searches the heart for honesty and sincerity and will reward accordingly.
God had sent a plague of snakes to the rebellious Israelites in the wilderness, with many dying of poisonous bites. When Moses cried out to the Lord on their behalf, God instructed him to make the Nehushtan. Sadly, in II Kings 18:4, King Hezekiah broke the bronze snake into pieces because the people were treating it as an idol and burning incense to it. They were exalting the object rather than worshipping the God who healed them.