Andy Hollifield 3-25-17
Isaiah 38:1-5 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. (2) Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, (3) 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. (4) Then came the word of the LORD to Isaiah, saying, (5) 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.
Can you change God’s mind by the life you have lived? I know that God knows all things and he knew that Hezekiah would pray and he knew how he would answer before it even happened. That isn’t even open for discussion. The thing I want to consider is if we were ever in the position that Hezekiah found himself in, could we make a justifiable plea to God that would be convincing enough to extend our life based on how we had lived?
This story was also recorded in 2 Kings chapter 20. Hezekiah was a Godly king whose first official act as king was to call for Levites and priest to consecrate themselves to the work of the Lord and get the temple open again for worship. This took, if I read correctly, a total of 16 days before it was completely ready. This was just the first action he took as king. Apparently, according to the scripture in 2 Kings, Hezekiah had developed a boil that may have gotten infected. It was a sickness unto death and in chapter 20 verse 7 Isaiah told him to lay a clump of figs on it and he was recovered. Three days later, as promised by God, he went up to the Lord’s house. As a sign of this promise, God turned back the sun dial of Ahaz 10 degrees. That means he literally turned back time for Hezekiah. One other time a similar circumstance took place when God made the sun to stand still for an entire day so Joshua’s army could prevail in battle (Joshua 10:13).
Without getting into a whole lot of historical detail, I want to look more at the prayer of Hezekiah than the fact of the sun dial standing still. Can you imagine how Hezekiah must have felt that day when Isaiah came to see him? He was known to Hezekiah already because the king had sought him to beseech the Lord concerning battles previously. Isaiah knew how the king had conducted his life so I am sure that Hezekiah was sure that Isaiah was coming to heal him. Can you imagine the heart break the king must have felt when Isaiah told him the death sentence? I am sure it was not what he had expected to hear from this prophet that he had worked closely with before.
You have to admire the response of Hezekiah. He knew how to handle the situation. In verse 2 it says he turned his face to the wall and prayed. He pleaded his case before God based on the fact that he had “walked before the Lord in truth and with a perfect heart.” After he prayed, he just broke down and wept sore. Before Isaiah had even got to the middle court of the palace, God sent him back to tell Hezekiah his prayers had been heard and his tears seen. God then promised to add the fifteen years to his life but he also promised deliverance from Assyria and that he would defend the city. Now that we have a little background we will get back to the question; could your life change God’s mind?
This has always been one of my favorite stories just because it is a great factual testimony of what prayer can accomplish. Not just a few muttered words but sincere prayer out of a broken heart. He prayed what he could and then I believe he just laid there sobbing. That is just the picture I have in my mind. He was in a hopeless situation and all hope was dashed after Isaiah came by and told him the end of the story. There is just something about the fact that prayer directly to God was the king’s first response. He didn’t call for a bunch of specialists he just prayed. Not only that, he moved the heart of God. My question is this; could your life make good evidence to God that would warrant him sparing your life? Would we be ashamed of how we had lived if we had to plead our case before God?
I didn’t write this to make us all see how short we come up in our Christian lives but rather to encourage us to live in such a way before God that we don’thave to do a lot of repenting in a case where we need instant access. God is no respector of persons, what he did for Hezekiah, he will do for you. With that kind of instant direct access to the one that hold not only our life but all life in his hands, why should we worry and fear like we do? God can add years to a life, or anything else he might need to do. It don’t even take a long fancy prayer but just a broken humble heart. Hebrews talks about Jesus being our high priest and touched with the feeling of our infirmities. We have that direct hotline to God. Don’t fail to use it. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!
Andy Hollifield 3-25-17