“Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, ‘The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.’ For he thought, ‘There will be peace and security in my days.'” – Isaiah 39:8 (ESV)
I’ve been in the great book of Isaiah for most of this month and decided to pause for a bit on the chapters concerning Hezekiah. This king was known as one of the “good” ones, as there were so few during the time of the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah. In chapter 37 of Isaiah, Hezekiah has just heard the words spoken against God (and him) by the messenger of Sennacherib, the king of Assyria. To his credit, Hezekiah takes this to God immediately in prayer (Isaiah 37:14). God responds to Hezekiah’s prayer (and Sennacherib’s defiance), as the Assyrian people are mauled and Sennacherib himself is killed by his own sons. In the next chapter, we see Hezekiah brings himself before God again in prayer, as he is ill to the point of death. God responds again by adding 15 years to his life. But for some reason, Hezekiah’s good judgment begins to fail him….
You would have thought that Hezekiah would have been especially on his guard after the first message from the messengers of Sennacherib. But when messengers from the king of Babylon come to pay him a visit, he welcomes them and gives them the grand tour. This was naturally alarming to Isaiah, who warned Hezekiah that down the road, everyone he knew and everything he counted as possessions would be carried off to Babylon. At this point, considering his history, I would have expected Hezekiah to humble himself before God in prayer again. Instead, he apparently shrugged his shoulders and said, “There will be peace and security in my days” or rather, “Better them than me, I got mine”.
I think there is a lesson here for all of us. As Hezekiah was once surrounded by enemies and illness, we too were once surrounded by the power of this world and the illness of sin. God was gracious to deliver Hezekiah because he had a “right spirit within” (Psalm 51:10) at first but then Hezekiah quickly developed amnesia. His mistake here is a reminder of how much grace God has extended to us, and also to those we love as brothers and sisters in God’s family.
How can we not respond with humble adoration and worship ?