Isaiah 38:1-8: In Those Days Hezekiah Was Sick and Near Death
New King James Version
Hezekiah’s Life Extended
38 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.’ ”
2 Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the Lord, 3 and said, “Remember now, O Lord, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a [a]loyal heart, and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
4 And the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying, 5 “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years. 6 I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city.” ’ 7 And this is the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing which He has spoken: 8 Behold, I will bring the shadow on the sundial, which has gone down with the sun on the sundial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward.” So the sun returned ten degrees on the dial by which it had gone down.
When someone tells us to set our house in order it shows the gravity of the situation. At this time many scholars believe Hezekiah was 39 years old. He was in the prime of his life as a king and leader. It would not only be a devastating blow to lie sick in bed, but now to have the prophet Isaiah come to him and tell him to get his house in order because he was going to die would have crushed Hezekiah emotionally and spiritually. For any of us if we have faced any type of terminal illness the thought of death can terrify us. But thanks be to God we have Jesus. For in Christ we no longer have to fear death. It is the Lord who walks with us through every valley. It is God who comforts us in our brokenness and our weakness.
Hezekiah upon hearing these words from God’s prophet turns to the Lord in prayer. Hezekiah weeps bitterly before the Lord. It shows the emotional and spiritual brokenness of this man. But Hezekiah has chosen the correct action in seeking the Lord. Oftentimes when people go through hard and difficult things they may become bitter towards God.
Hezekiah cries out to God asking the Lord to remember how Hezekiah has walked before Him. How Hezekiah has had a loyal heart before the Lord. Southern Israel had a total of twenty kings during their history and many of them failed to walk with the Lord. But Hezekiah was one of the kings who made the decision to walk with God. When we walk with God on a regular basis it will prepare us when hard and difficult things come. God has never promised us an easy life, nor a life without suffering and trial. But walking closely with Jesus will enable us and prepare us to endure the difficult and hard things of this world.
The prayers and weeping move the heart of God. As Hezekiah prays alone before the Lord, the Lord sends word to the prophet Isaiah. God is not a distant and cruel God. God not only hears us when we pray, God moves at the prayers of His people. God is always examining the human heart and in the heart of Hezekiah, He saw one of His children who were truly broken.
The word sent to Hezekiah is one of life and encouragement. Hezekiah is today that God has not only heard his prayer but that the Lord has seen and will add fifteen years to his life. This is of great encouragement because the death sentence has been lifted. Hezekiah knew that he would indeed recover because it is the word of the Lord given unto him.
This is the reality when we walk closely with Jesus. He is the great physician. He is still the one who heals today. The God of the Bible is unchanging. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. But again we see this connection between the people of God turning to the Lord in prayer and the power of God being poured out. Many times we may face overwhelming odds like Hezekiah and believe that what we are facing is a death sentence. But when we place anything before the Lord in prayer, the battle is placed in His hands.
God’s promise was not only to save Hezekiah from death and give him fifteen more years, the Lord promised to save the city of Jerusalem. Many believe this event took place before the previous chapters because it took place as Assyria surrounded Jerusalem and before Hezekiah brought the proud words of the King of Assyria to the Lord.
There are times in life when it seems the devil has surrounded us. That every area of our life is under attack. But it is in these moments that God must become our refuge and strong tower. Let us not forget Jesus is our Good Shepherd. He not only provides our every need, He also protects us. A shepherd would carry a rod and a staff. The purpose of the staff was to rescue the sheep if they got themselves into trouble and to also correct them if needed. The rod was a weapon of defense against predators. We have absolutely nothing to fear for the Lord is with us and He watches over our every step.
God provides Hezekiah with a supernatural sign that indeed God will fulfill His word and promise. Fear is something every person deals with. It is one of the great weapons of Satan. God understands this better than anyone because He created us and knows every tactic of the enemy. But for the shadow on the sundial to go back ten degrees would be a supernatural event that only the one who controls creation could do.
Many of the nations surrounding Israel had many false gods. The Egyptians called Ra the sun god. But it is only the God of the bible who is the true God above all other gods. All the other gods are but lies of the enemy. They are lying spirits presenting themselves as gods. But through this event Hezekiah would be encouraged and know that God would do exactly what He said.
All of us struggle with fear. All of us fall very short at times. But this is why the word of God is so important and being in His word every day. It is in His word that we find strength, encouragement, and comfort. We live in a world bombarded by the lies and deceptions of Satan. We can feel so overwhelmed at times, but that should simply be a signal to us that we need to draw near to the Lord in prayer and His word. For the battle doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to the Lord alone.