Fifteen More Years
JUNE 25 - Nº 176 2 Kings 20; 2 Chronicles 32:24-33; Isaiah 38 – 39
King Hezekiah became very sick. The prophet Isaiah went to him with a message: “God has told me that you will not recover from this illness. It is time to put your affairs in order before you die.” When he heard this, Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and cried to the Lord, “Please remember how faithful I have been. I have served you wholeheartedly and done everything You wanted me to do.” God spoke to Isaiah again, “Go back and tell the king that I have heard his prayer and seen his tears—and I will heal him. In three days, he will be well enough to go to the Temple. I am going to add fifteen more years to his life, and I will give him peace with Assyria.” So, Isaiah quickly returned and told the king’s medical staff to prepare a bandage and apply it to the boil that was infecting Hezekiah’s body. When Isaiah told Hezekiah what God had promised, the king wanted proof. “How will I know that this is really going to happen?” he asked. “This will be the sign,” Isaiah replied. “God will cause the sun’s shadow to go backward up the ten steps that it just came down.” Sure enough, the shadow reversed directions—it climbed up the ten steps! Immediately Hezekiah began to feel himself getting better. Exactly three days later, he was able to go to the Temple to worship and praise the Lord. Although he had promised God that he would sing His praises every day, it wasn’t long before King Hezekiah began to sing his own praises instead. When the king of Babylon first heard of Hezekiah’s illness, he sent messengers with gifts and a letter to the King of Judah. However, since Hezekiah was feeling better by the time they arrived, he personally gave them a grand tour of his palace and government buildings. He showed them everything he had—all the silver and gold and spices and oils. Instead of introducing the foreign envoys to the one true God who had just saved his life, King Hezekiah showed off his own achievements! When they had gone, Isaiah asked the king, “Where did those men come from and what did they want?” The king replied, “They are from a distant land called Babylon.” Then Isaiah wanted to know, “What did they see in your palace?” “Everything!” King Hezekiah responded. “I didn’t hide anything from them.” Isaiah then relayed this message from God: “A time is coming when everything in your palace will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left behind. And some of your own descendants, who have not yet been born, will be taken away. They will become servants in the palace of a foreign king.” But Hezekiah was not as upset as he should have been. In fact, his response was very selfish: “I’m glad this is going to happen to my descendants—not to me! At least there will be peace and security in my lifetime!” King Hezekiah accomplished some great things during the extra 15 years God gave him—like digging a 1750-foot tunnel through the mountain to bring water directly into the city of Jerusalem. But his prideful actions soon led to a very dark time in Judah’s history known as the Babylonian Exile (see #184—#186).
How often do you take credit for your successes instead of acknowledging God’s role? He is intricately involved in everything we do. We must take every opportunity we can to focus on God’s goodness and power. We need to help others realize how awesome He really is!