A King named Hezekiah became deathly ill. Isaiah the prophet comes to visit him and tells him, “This is what the Lord says, ‘Set your house and affairs in order, for you are going to die. You will not recover from this illness” (Isaiah 38:1 NLT).
How would you like to get this message from a prophet? Hezekiah turns his face, and he weeps, and he pleads his case, and The Father sends his prophet back with a new message.
“Go and tell Hezekiah, this is what the God of your Father David says: I have heard your prayers and seen your tears; I will add 15 years to your life” (Isaiah 38:5 NLT).
Not only that, but HaShem says He will defend the city and deliver him from the hands of his enemy. He sends Isaiah to get some figs (Natural medicine) to lay on his boils to heal him. Then the Father gives him a sign. He tells Isaiah to inform the king that he will cause the sun’s shadow to move 10 degrees backward on the sundial.
Great News, right?
The Father grants this King 15 years, but guess what happens?
The king of Babylon sends him a letter and a gift and wants to come to visit. He had heard about how sick he had been. He wants to bring his leaders and visit the king.
Awe, how sweet. I am sure this Arab king was also very excited to learn about how HaShem even made the shadow return on the sundial. Science and religion have always fascinated many. And so Hezekiah welcomes him. The Bible says he was DELIGHTED to show these diplomats everything he owned– the silver–the gold–aromatic oils–his armor and all his royal possessions.
“There was nothing in his palace or kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them” ( 2 Kings 20:13).
Sounds harmless? We all have done the walkthrough of a family or friends new home right? Sadly, it seems as if it would have been better if this king would have died.
One thing you may not know about prophets is “they know things.”
So Isaiah comes asking questions he already has the answer for. He says, “What did those men want? Where were they from?”
Hezekiah replied, “They came from the distant land of Babylon.”
“What did they see in your palace?” asked Isaiah.
“They saw everything,” Hezekiah replied.
“I showed them everything I own–all my royal treasuries” (2 Kings 20:14-15 NLT).
“Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord: Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord. And some of your own sons, who shall be born to you, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?” (2 Kings 20:16-19 ESV).
If Hezekiah had died, he never would have had a son named Manasseh. He had Manasseh in the last 15 years of his life. Let’s take a quick peek at his son’s reign.
1. Manasseh rebuilt the pagan shrines his father, Hezekiah, had broken down. He constructed altars for the images of Baal.
2. He built pagan altars in the Temple of the LORD, the place where the LORD had said, “My name will remain in Jerusalem forever.”
3. In both courts of the temple of the LORD, he built altars to all the starry hosts.
4. And he burned his sons as an offering in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and used fortune-telling and omens and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger. He even had his own familiar spirit he spoke with. Yes, his own personal demon.
I’ll stop there with presenting his unrighteous lifestyle. I must also remember the tribe of Manasseh. This tribe was doubly blessed. They were the only tribe out of twelve to receive an inheritance on both sides of the Jordan River.
So why did Hezekiah stumble by showing his belongings to the King of Babylon? I mean the king heard he was sick and sent a gift. It all sounds so innocent from my couch as I type this–my feet kicked up and crossed– a nice cool beverage in my hand. What was the BIG deal-?
When we read the story in 2nd Chronicles, it gives us a greater fear of sovereign God.
“In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. He prayed to the LORD, who answered him and gave him a miraculous sign. But Hezekiah did not respond appropriately to the kindness shown him, And he became PROUD. So the LORD’s ANGER came against him and against Judah and Jerusalem” (2 Chronicles 32:24-26 NIV).
NOTICE HOW HIS SIN FELL ON THE NATION?
The next couple verses caught my eye; it said that God left him, to try him. Repeat: He left him in order to try him.
However, when ambassadors arrived from Babylon to ask about the remarkable events that had taken place in the land, God withdrew from Hezekiah in order to TEST HIM and to see what was really in his heart” (2 Chronicles 32:31).
Our Father will see what is really in our hearts. Don’t think He doesn’t try us.
This king wept and wanted his life spared, but then when it came down to him responding to the Father for the kindness shown to him, he just took it for granted. Sadly, we all fall at times.
Father, we don’t want to take You for granted. You know what is really in our hearts. You oh Great King, know and search the hearts of men. Give us a fear of You and let us not take Your kindnesses for granted. Let us not take one treasure for granted.
The image comes from the movie, “A Christmas Story.”