-In those days of seeing God’s Hand of deliverance from Assyria, Hezekiah became mortally ill with some type of boil that the LORD, through the prophet Isaiah, said would take his life (Isaiah 38:1a, 21). The king was told to get his house in order for he would shortly die and enter eternity. With the hearing of this catastrophic news, Hezekiah set his face away from all distractions toward the wall and prayed to the LORD. His prayer is significant for us. He asked the LORD fervently to remember how he had walked before his King in truth and with a whole heart, and how he had done what was good in the LORD’s sight. He wept bitterly before his God with reckless abandon in complete distress (Isaiah 38:1b-3). Isaiah got a further word from the LORD at this point to go to Hezekiah with splendid news. The king would be given fifteen more years to his life since God had heard his prayer and seen his tears (Isaiah 38:4-5). God promised continued deliverance from Assyria as the city’s Defender. He gave the king a sign of moving the shadow on the stairway back ten steps. God was showing that He is the Controller of time and all events on the earth and in the universe (Isaiah 38:6-8). *Application* Our prayers are heard and our situation is seen when we live a life worthy of the LORD’s calling. Sometimes He will put us in situations that require our all-out beseeching before Him in prayer and petition so He can come through in miraculous ways. God always loves to hear our cries for help and somehow draws us closer to Him through them. The lesson for us is to always passionately pray in the important matters of our lives.
-Hezekiah produces a writing that is recorded in the Scriptural text through the next twelve verses (Isaiah 38:9-20). He spoke of his state in the middle of his life and the depravation he felt when removal was ordained. He spoke of the composure of his soul in constant and unrelenting praying through the night as it felt like God was breaking all of his bones like a lion. He was laid weak as a bird as he looked up for help to the Almighty in his oppression. He pined for security in the Savior. He resigned himself to the possibility of the bitterness of the soul in his state, but then recognized that “by these things men (really) live, and in all these is the life of my spirit.” The restoration of health from insurmountable distress is an overcoming worth testifying. Hezekiah gives God His glory for it is solely His power that that kept his soul from nothingness, and it is God who casts all sin away behind His back. There is no praise in Sheol, death cannot give glory to the King of all. The lost without a Savior cannot hope for His faithfulness. It is the spiritual living who can give thanks to the LORD as Hezekiah was doing. He will tell of the LORD’s great and mighty deeds of faithfulness to his sons, for the LORD surely saves. He will sing in jubilation on stringed instruments all the days of his remaining earthly life at the House of the LORD. *Application* Recognize that life events allowed by the LORD, which are hard and difficult to handle, actually bring us into a closer intimacy with our God so that we can have a great testimony of His goodness. Don’t waste the hurtful times in your life. See how God has used them to make you better as a person who can share with others. Life is about learning and growing in our relationship and fellowship with our Creator.
-Isaiah gives the command to take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil on the king so that he would recover (Isaiah 38:21). The chapter ends with a question in the Masoretic text from whence we get most of our translations, “What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the LORD (Isaiah 38:22)?” This is a difficult verse for interpretation, which may be best understood in the Septuagint’s rendering of it as a statement rather than an interrogative, “This [is] the sign that I will go up to the house of the Lord God.” If this is a question, there is certainly room to interpret this as Hezekiah’s statement of a possible double-minded unbelief in expecting more and more out of the LORD. If we take the Septuagint’s understanding, we take a more positive approach and see that Hezekiah is accepting the LORD’s sign of the previous moving shadow and health provision so as to give glory to His redeeming actions.
Verse to Memorize: Isaiah 38:5