While all this was going on, (Judah being threatened, and God responding), Hezekiah became very ill.
The Word of the Lord came to Isaiah with a message for Hezekiah.... and it was not a very pleasant message. "King Hezekiah," Isaiah said as Hezekiah lay feverishly in his bed. "God said that you should get all your affairs in order, because you are going to die very soon."
Hezekiah was devastated! As soon as Isaiah left, Hezekiah rolled over and faced the wall. Through his tears, he began to pray. He asked God to let him live. He reminded God about all that he had done for Him.
Meanwhile, God told Isaiah to turn around and go back to Hezekiah with a new message. Hezekiah was surprised to see Isaiah again so soon. Isaiah said, "The Lord has heard your prayer. He has decided to give you an additional 15 years to live as well as keep you and this city protected from the king of Assyria.
Once again we see that God hears our prayers. It doesn't matter if you say them out load, whisper them of even think them. God DOES hear our prayers. Many times as we are praying, we think to ourselves, is God even listening? Yes He Is. Also, God answers prayers. Hezekiah was a living example of this.
Then Isaiah continued, "God also said that he will send you a sign so that you will know that He will do this thing He has promised. God will cause the Sundial of Ahaz to move backward 10 units. Then you will know that God has done what He said He would.
One of Hezekiah's men was looking out the window. He called the king over to witness an amazing thing. The Sundial of Ahaz was moving backward! Hezekiah was overjoyed! He wrote a poem of praise about all he had been through and how God answered his prayers. It is found in verses 10-20.
The king of Babylon's son, Merodach-baladan, heard that King Hezekiah was very sick, and that he had recovered. He sent a special group of messengers with a gift and his personal best wishes. Hezekiah was very surprised that the son of such a powerful king would even acknowledge his illness and recovery. He was so thrilled when they arrived, that the king brought the envoy around the palace and showed them all the treasures that he had. He was trying to impress the special messengers with all the gold and treasures, but the men were more interested than impressed.
Isaiah showed up just as the special messengers were leaving. "What did those men want?" He asked. "They brought me a gift from Babylon. So I showed them all the treasures I had, every last piece of gold! They were very impressed." Hezekiah answered.
Isaiah could not believe his ears. He knew that Hezekiah let his pride lead him into major trouble. Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, "Listen to this message from God, 'The time is coming when everything in your palace, all the treasures that you and your ancestors have stored up, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left. Even some of your very own grandsons will be carried off into exile."
Sometimes we try to impress people with what we have. It not only doesn't impress them, it leads to problems for us. Not only may we lose what we have, but our pride and ego are fed by the compliments of others. God warns us in Proverbs 16:18, "Prides comes before a fall."
Hezekiah's response was surprising and selfish. He said, "Well I don't have to worry about that in my lifetime. God promised peace and security while I am still around." Instead of honoring God and doing what was right with his extra 15 years, Hezekiah became selfish.
God blesses us in many ways, with a loving family, a nice home, friends, food, health etc... we can choose to be selfish, or we can honor God with what he gave us. When we honor God with what we have, that is called stewardship, and God will ask us what kind of steward were we when we stand before Him one day.
Chapter 40 begins a 26 chapter section on the comfort that God will give His people after the Babylonians carry off all the treasures and take the people of Judah away with them. The people of Israel will be very disheartened with God after the exile, but God gives them hope in the next 26 chapters. Much of it is filled with prophesies about Jesus. we will look at those next time. But for now, Chapter 40 focusses on who God is, and how powerful He is. He says that "The grass will wither, but His word (the Bible) will never die. He states that He has no equal. Who can be compared to God. No one! He continues by pointing out that He, and He alone created the stars, the sun, the earth and all things on it. God says that 'He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of His understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even the young will become weak and tired and will collapse from exhaustion....' Vs. (28-30) Then comes one of the most famous verses in the book of Isaiah....