“The writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick, and was recovered of his sickness:
I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave: I am deprived of the residue of my years.
I said, I shall not see the Lord, even the Lord, in the land of the living: I shall behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world.
Mine age is departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd’s tent: I have cut off like a weaver my life: he will cut me off with pining sickness: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me.
I reckoned till morning, that, as a lion, so will he break all my bones: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me. Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail with looking upward: O Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me.
What shall I say? he hath both spoken unto me, and himself hath done it: I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul. O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit: so wilt Thou recover me, and make me to live. Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but Thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for Thou hast cast all my sins behind Thy back. For the grave cannot praise Thee, death can not celebrate Thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for Thy truth.
The living, the living, he shall praise Thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known Thy truth. The Lord was ready to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the Lord.
” Isaiah 38:9-20
King Hezekiah had been warned by God through the prophet that his days were ended and that he would die. Desiring life over death, the Bible says that Hezekiah wept sore and pleaded with God to spare him his life. This account is documented in the book of Isaiah, by the prophet himself, and in the book of II Kings. Both accounts support one another, fleshing out the story.
Hezekiah knew to whom he owed his life and his kingdom. According to his own words, when he prayed them allowed, he walked before the Lord in truth and with a perfect heart, having done good in God’s sight. Apparently, God agreed because He healed the king and blessed him with fifteen more years of life. God even gave him the choice of a sign to prove Himself, and then miraculously turned back the shadow of the dial of Ahaz (some sort of sun dial, apparently). It’s a beautiful account of the mercy of God upon His beloved children. Yet, there is more to the story.
In both accounts, the king of Babylon sent him letters when he heard Hezekiah was ill and had recovered. Hezekiah, after having been granted fifteen more years and being healed arrogantly walked Babylon’s emissaries through his entire household, showing them all of the riches held therein. Pride had swelled in the heart of the king. The sickness he had just experienced did nothing to humble him permanently.
How quickly do we do the very same thing in our own walk with the Lord? We experience trials and tribulations and we plead with our Abba Father to help us. We come to Him in tears, asking to be delivered from our circumstances when the circumstances were designed or allowed in order to bring us closer to God. Successful in the short term, but once God faithfully brings us through, we are soon returned to our own strength or talent as if to say, I’ve got it from here, Lord.
Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, though there is no longer condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus and who love God and are called according to His purposes, there should be humbleness. Always. We should be ashamed when we go our own way and try it on our own because the whole reason Jesus went to the Cross was so that God and man, each individual man, could have the relationship which we were designed and created to have. If we are in relationship with God, we should entrust our lives, in both good times and bad, to Him. Even when it seems mundane, we need to bring every detail before our Creator God and seek His Face. We were created to praise the Lord in all things.
So, the king was delivered from one problem and brought into another. Because of his pride and arrogance, God told him all that he had, including his sons, would be taken to Babylon. We know that is exactly what happened.
Here’s the thing: King Hezekiah heard everything the Lord said. The Lord told him that the kingdom would be delivered from Assyria and that he would add years to his life. Hezekiah knew that, though there would be consequences for his actions, God would not remove his promise from him. The issue, however, is that someone else paid the price. All of Hezekiah’s sons were made eunuchs. Hezekiah’s bloodline would end with them.
You see, when we don’t do what we are supposed to do, we are, in fact, acting selfishly. When we act selfishly, God does not remove His gifts. God does not retract His promises, but God is still a just God. There will be a price that is paid. Sometimes, other people die because of the decisions we make. Perhaps not physically, but spiritually, even if only a little. Our lives affect others.
King David experienced this, too. When he committed adultery and killed Bathsheba’s husband Uriah, the baby was lost. When he tried to move the ark of the covenant without consulting God, Uzza died. Time and again, David would make selfish decisions and, as a result, people died.
I’m not trying to scare anyone into obeying the Lord for fear of losing loved ones. God forbid. I am, however, concerned in the very same manner as was the Apostle Paul.
“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” I Corinthians 10:12
Pride and arrogance are easy traps wherein we can fall. We must handle this walk with great care, knowing that God is merciful and provides abundant grace. We should also remember that God is just and righteous. He looks for the very best from His children and when we choose to go astray, there will be a price paid.
May we pray as Hezekiah, David, Jeremiah, and all of the Old Testament icons did, but may we walk humbly in good times as we do in bad times, always revering the Lord, always knowing there will be consequences when we don’t.