Hezekiah prays for the nation and the Lord responds. The Assyrian army finds many dead among them and they return home. The Lord tells Hezekiah his life is over and Hezekiah prays again reminding the Lord of the life he has lived and the Lord gives him fifteen more years of life. There are times when we can present our request to the Lord and he will grant it but we must ask. Instead of facing the end of his life, Hezekiah rejoices saying in Isaiah 38:19–20 “The living, the living one praises you like me today”.
The Angel of Yahweh Set Out
When the Lord says he will act, things happen. And in
Isaiah 37:36 And the angel of Yahweh set out and struck one hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians. When they rose in the morning, look! All of them were dead corpses.
So, the King of Assyria returned home where he was killed by his own sons as it was said in
Isaiah 33:1 Ah, destroyer, and yourself not destroyed! And treacherous one, and no one has dealt treacherously with him! When you cease destroying, you will be destroyed. When you stop dealing treacherously, one will deal treacherously with you.
O Yahweh, Please Remember
In Isaiah 38:1 “Hezekiah became sick to death, and Isaiah … came to him and said to him, “Thus says Yahweh: ‘Order your house, for you are about to die, and you shall not recover.’ ”
We learn later in Isaiah 38:20 that Hezekiah had a boil, an infection, and in those days, they did not have antibiotics like we have today. But more importantly, there was no help coming from the Lord as Isaiah said “you shall not recover”. But Hezekiah didn’t listen to Isaiah’s words, he turned to the Lord in
Isaiah 38:2–3 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to Yahweh, 3 and he said, “O Yahweh, please remember how I have walked before your presence in faithfulness with a whole heart, and I have done the good in your eyes!” And Hezekiah wept with great weeping.
Now, let me ask you, does God ever change his mind? Well, we need to understand that we also have something to say about how long we live on the earth. Yes, there are limits, one hundred and twenty years as it says in
Genesis 6:3 And Yahweh said, “My Spirit shall not abide with humankind forever in that he is also flesh. And his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”
But God has also said he would satisfy us with long life and show his salvation in
Psalm 91:14–16 Because he loves me, therefore I will deliver him; I will protect him because he knows my name. 15 He will call upon me and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him, and show him my salvation.
So the Lord hears Hezekiah’s prayer and speaks to Isaiah and sends him back to Hezekiah in
Isaiah 38:5–6 “Go and say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says Yahweh, the God of David your ancestor: “I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Look, I am going to add fifteen years to your days. 6 And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city.” ’
The Lord promises not only to add years to Hezekiah’s life, but also to deliver Hezekiah and the city from the Assyrians. But the Lord doesn’t want Hezekiah wondering if this word from Isaiah is really true. The Lord offers Hezekiah a sign in
Isaiah 38:8 Look! I will cause the shadow of the steps, which it had gone down on the steps of Ahaz with the sun, to turn backwards ten steps.” And the sun turned back ten steps on the steps which it had gone down.
The sun never moves back, at least that is what most scientists will tell you. But there are two occasions in history where time stood still or went backward and this is one of them. The other is in
Joshua 10:12–14 Then Joshua spoke to Yahweh, on the day Yahweh gave the Amorites over to the Israelites, and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun in Gibeon, stand still, and moon, in the valley of Aijalon.” 13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on its enemies. Is it not written in the scroll of Jashar? The sun stood still in the middle of the heaven and was not in haste to set for about a full day. 14 There has not been a day like this before it or after, that Yahweh listened to the voice of a man; for Yahweh fought for Israel.
But let us not be carried away with the many miracles of God, this is about God hearing the word of a man and responding to it. The Lord added fifteen years to Hezekiah’s life because he asked for it.
Restore Me to Health and Keep Me Alive
Hezekiah had not expected that his life would be over in Isaiah 38:12 he says “My dwelling place is pulled up and removed from me like the tent of my shepherd … from day to night you bring me to an end”. Suddenly, as his life is extended, every day has new meaning for him as he says in
Isaiah 38:19–20 The living, the living one praises you like me today; a father will make your faithfulness known to children. 20 Yahweh, save me, and we will play my music on stringed instruments all the days of our lives at the temple of Yahweh.”
And if God had not wanted us to live full rich lives, He would have taken us up with Jesus. Instead, he wants us to live and celebrate life and honor Him while we are on the earth.
Psalm 116:15 Costly in Yahweh’s view is the death of his faithful ones.
- Isaiah 37:36–38 The Angel of Yahweh Set Out
- Isaiah 38:1–11 O Yahweh, Please Remember
- Isaiah 38:12–22 Restore Me to Health and Keep Me Alive
- Isaiah 37:36-38
- Isaiah 38:1-22