Isiah 38 and 39 – A Reprieve for Hezekiah
Vs. 1-7 What does it mean when Isaiah tells Hezekiah to “put his house in order?” At this point in Hezekiah’s life he has no sons. There is no heir to the Davidic throne from him. He will have to seek out the next in succession. He is 39 years old. He dies at 54.
2 Kings 20:5 the miracle of Hezekiah’s healing happens within three days of his petition to the Lord for healing and more time. He is also promised that Jerusalem will not be taken by the Assyrians.
God offers Hezekiah a sign that he will keep his promises. He didn’t have to, but He did it anyway. The stairway of Ahaz is a type of sun dial. The effect here is that God reversed time in order to prove that He is able and willing to keep His word. Time is not over God. He is over time. Time is His creation and He contains and controls it.
Does God extend our years?
I have a very personal story about this. When I was 10 years old my father was very sick. He was very ill with a pulmonary condition that was compounded by rheumatic fever he’d had as a youth. During our family time every evening we would read a story from the Bible, talk about it, and pray together. I remember for a long time my dad would pray from the Psalms 90:10 about the days given to a man and he would ask for those days that were allocated for him. This was when he was 40 years old. One evening his lungs filled and he couldn’t breathe. He was turning blue. I remember pounding on his back to help his lungs produce as my mom called the doctor. The whole time we were praying. They rushed dad to the hospital. His regular pulmonary doctor was out of the country and the substitute that came to see him took one look at my father and knew exactly what was wrong with him. He actually specialized in his exact condition. After treating my dad with a new medication, dad lived for almost exactly another 30 years. When dad died it was from a blood clot following a heart valve replacement (due to the rheumatic fever again). He was only 70 and most people felt that he died too young. I always knew that the Lord had given him exactly what he asked, three score and ten. He had graciously extended his life by 30 years. I’ve heard people mock this story about Hezekiah, but all of our time is in God’s hands. Time doesn’t own us. It was made for us by God.
Vs. 8-20 What is the byproduct of this healing? Because of his extended life, Hezekiah’s own son, Manasseh, will be the next King of Judah. Unfortunately, he turns out to be the worst one ever. The very temple that Hezekiah goes to is the one his son sets up for idolatry. This isn’t a punishment against Hezekiah or a balancing of his extended life. God doesn’t deal in Karma. He knew and He knows. He is always gracious and He is always good.
Chapter 39:1-8 This is the beginning of the consequences of Manasseh (and a really stupid move by Hezekiah). Babylon shows up to give Hezekiah a get well present and he shows them everything of value in the kingdom. Isaiah prophecies that it will all be carried away and that some of his own descendants will be carried away to Babylon. Remember that Daniel is of the house of David. He is not of the kingly line, but he is of the royal house. (Daniel 1:3-7) He repents and accepts what God has decreed. (2 Chronicles 32:24-31) There is a pride issue here though, because he is happy that there will be peace in Jerusalem during his lifetime, but doesn’t seem to care what happens after he is gone.