May 14, 2021
“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..."
“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.’ Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the Lord, and said, ‘Remember now, O Lord, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what is good in Your sight.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly. And the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying, ‘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. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city.”’” Isaiah 38:1–6
I’ve known countless people who have clung to today’s passage as an anchor verse on the effectiveness of healing prayer. From one angle that is true, but in Hezekiah’s case, he really should have heeded the Word of the Lord, set his house in order, and passed away. After all, the message of his impending death did not come from a secular doctor; it came from the Lord’s spokesman, the prophet Isaiah. Two major negative consequences occurred as a result of Hezekiah’s healing.
“At that time Berodach-Baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that Hezekiah had been sick. And Hezekiah was attentive to them, and showed them all the house of his treasures - the silver and gold, the spices and precious ointment, and all his armory - all that was found among his treasures. There was nothing in his house or in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them. Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah, and said to him, ‘What did these men say, and from where did they come to you?’ So Hezekiah said, ‘They came from a far country, from Babylon.’ And he said, ‘What have they seen in your house?’ So Hezekiah answered, ‘They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them.’” 2 Kings 20:12–15
Born after Hezekiah’s healing, Manasseh was Israel’s most evil king, vigorously reinstating idolatry. Ironically, he defied Hezekiah’s own words about legacy: “…the father shall make known Your truth to the children.” Isaiah 38:19
“So Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good!’ For he said, ‘Will there not be peace and truth at least in my days?’ Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah - all his might, and how he made a pool and a tunnel and brought water into the city - are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? So Hezekiah rested with his fathers. Then Manasseh his son reigned in his place.” 2 Kings 20:19–21
“Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel.” 2 Kings 21:1–2