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Hezekiah: Faith And Weakness

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CHAPTER 20 Sep. 14 
Hezekiah’s Illness
In those days was Hezekiah sick to death. Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, Thus says Yahweh, ‘Set your house in order; for you shall die, and not live’. 2Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed to Yahweh saying, 3Remember now, Yahweh, I beg You, how I have walked before You in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in Your sight. Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4It happened, before Isaiah had gone out into the middle part of the city, that the word of Yahweh came to him saying, 5Turn back and tell Hezekiah the prince of My people, ‘Thus says Yahweh the God of David your father, I have heard your prayer. I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you. On the third day, you shall go up to the house of Yahweh. 6I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for My own sake, and for My servant David’s sake’. 7Isaiah said, Take a cake of figs. They took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered. 8Hezekiah said to Isaiah, What shall be the sign that Yahweh will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of Yahweh the third day? 9Isaiah said, This shall be the sign to you from Yahweh, that Yahweh will do the thing that He has spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or go back ten steps? 10Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go forward ten steps. Nay, but let the shadow return backward ten steps. 11Isaiah the prophet cried to Yahweh; and He brought the shadow ten steps backward, by which it had gone down on the dial of Ahaz.
Hezekiah’s Failure
12At that time Berodach Baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah; for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick. 13Hezekiah listened to them, and showed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, the house of his armour and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah didn’t show them. 14Then Isaiah the prophet came to king Hezekiah and said to him, What did these men say? From where did they come to you? Hezekiah said, They have come from a far country, even from Babylon. 15He said, What have they seen in your house? Hezekiah answered, They have seen all that is in my house. There is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them. 16Isaiah said to Hezekiah, Hear the word of Yahweh. 17‘Behold, the days come, that all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have laid up in store to this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left’, says Yahweh. 18‘Of your sons who shall issue from you, whom you shall father, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon’. 19Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, The word of Yahweh which you have spoken is good. He said moreover, Isn’t it so, if peace and truth shall be in my days?  20Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah and all his might, and how he made the pool and the conduit and brought water into the city, aren’t they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? 21Hezekiah slept with his fathers; and Manasseh his son reigned in his place.


20:1-3 Here we see how God can state an intended purpose of His in very definite terms, as if there is no changing it- and yet such is His sensitivity to human prayer and love for Him, that He is willing to change it. He did the same when Moses persuaded Him not to destroy Israel as He planned (Ex. 32). There is often a gap between God’s statement of His purpose and the fulfilment of it, and during that gap period we can reason with Him to act otherwise. His purpose is perhaps structured this way so that we can learn to pray more intensely and connect with Him more intimately than would otherwise be the case. It also inspires us to be spiritually ambitious enough to think of changing God’s intended plan of action.
20:5 Prayer isn’t always specific words; God understands situations as prayers. Thus here we see Hezekiah's tears paralleled with his words. God interpreted his tears as a prayer. Hezekiah had earlier requested for God to both hear and see the words of Sennacherib (19:26), as if these too were to be read as a prayer for Divine intervention.
20:8 Like Gideon wanting a sign, Hezekiah’s faith wasn’t total; and yet God still counted it as faith. 
20:19 This seems a very selfish and short termist thing to say. It seems Hezekiah overcame so much- bad parental background, apostasy in his nation, terminal sickness, invasion- and yet failed to get through the hoop of materialism, acclaim, acceptance and the soft life. Many modern disciples are challenged likewise. We must realize the massive power of these temptations. See on 23:3.