Daily Devotional: Day 193
“And the word of the LORD came to Isaiah, saying, “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days 15 years” (Isaiah 38:4-5, NKJV).
Hezekiah became King of Judah when he was only twenty-five years old. He is one the greatest kings Judah or Israel ever had. His heart was wholly devoted to the Lord. His reign in Judah was characterized by remarkable religious reform. During Hezekiah’s reign, Isaiah was one of the prophets who ministered in Judah.
At one point, Hezekiah became sick and he was near death. Then, Isaiah brought him a message from the Lord. It was the last thing Hezekiah wanted to hear: “Thus says the LORD: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live”’ (Isaiah 38:1). What are you supposed to do when you hear news like this?
Hezekiah responded to the news by turning to God in prayer. He said, “Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what is good in Your sight” (Isaiah 38:2-3). God heard his prayer and added fifteen years to his life. Now let’s consider some lessons we can learn from this story.
Lesson 1: God can change His mind. Sometimes we think that one’s destiny is predetermined, with no possibility of alteration. But that’s not the case. A lot can still change. Prayer changes things, as does repentance. Hezekiah believed that God could change His mind. If he didn’t believe it, he wouldn’t pray to the Lord for extension of life. God sent Isaiah to prophesy Hezekiah’s imminent death. But when Hezekiah prayed, the Lord extended his life.
Lesson 2: Hezekiah wasn’t mad at Isaiah for ‘speaking death’ into his life. Nor did he charge him with false prophecy. If you proclaimed today a message identical to Isaiah’s, people would probably reject your word altogether and label you as negative. We’ve been groomed – unfortunately – to expect that God mainly gives us ‘positive’ and ‘uplifting’ news, where ‘positive’ and ‘uplifting’ means ‘what pleases our ears.’ Consequently, the love for truth is steadily fading from modern Christians.
Many fail to understand that not all positive and uplifting messages are from the Holy Spirit. And, not all truths from the Holy Spirit will sound positive and uplifting. What Isaiah told Hezekiah didn’t sound positive or uplifting, but Hezekiah knew it was true and he accepted it. Yes, he was grieved, but he reacted graciously and turned to the Lord in humble appeal for mercy.
Lesson 3: You can appeal to the friendship between you and God when you need a breakthrough. Hezekiah asked God to remember he had walked in truth and uprightness before Him. The Lord honors those who are loyal and faithful to Him. This doesn’t mean that friends of God will not have problems. It simply means that the Lord is particularly attentive to the prayer requests of the righteous. In Psalm 34:15, the Holy Spirit declares, “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry.” Even when God declines the requests of His friends – for reasons best known to Him – He grants them supernatural strength, joy and comfort in their time of pain. His grace will be sufficient for them in all their troubles (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
Walk humbly with God and be faithful to Him. He can extend your life and give you strength when you need it.
For further study: 2 Kings 18:1-37