Neither greatness nor goodness can exempt us from sickness,
yet often when the death sentence has apparently been received within the body,
it is reversible through Spirit-born, faith-filled prayer.
II Kings 1
1 In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.
2 Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying,
3 I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.
4 And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying,
5 Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD.
6 And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.
7 And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs. And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered.
8 ¶ And Hezekiah said unto Isaiah, What shall be the sign that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up into the house of the LORD the third day?
9 And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he hath spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees?
10 And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees.
11 And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the LORD: and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz.
12 ¶ At that time Berodach-baladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present unto Hezekiah: for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick.
13 And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.
14 ¶ Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? and from whence came they unto thee? And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country, even from Babylon.
15 And he said, What have they seen in thine house? And Hezekiah answered, All the things that are in mine house have they seen: there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them.
16 And Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD.
17 Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD.
18 And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.
19 Then said Hezekiah unto Isaiah, Good is the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken. And he said, Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days?
20 ¶ And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
21 And Hezekiah slept with his fathers: and Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.
II Kings 1 – J. Vernon McGee
2 Kings 20:1-11 – The Shadow Turned Back on Life’s Dial.
What a contrast between Hezekiah and the Apostle Paul! To the great Christian hero, death seemed infinitely desirable. He was ready to be offered; it would be gain to depart and be with Christ. But Hezekiah, who had walked before God in truth and with a perfect heart, turned his face to the wall and wept sore as the shadow of death fell upon him. Could anything prove more conclusively how much we owe to the Lord Jesus, who abolished death for those who trust him?
Who does not know what it is to turn the face to the wall in unutterable anguish? There are moments when we are face to face with a blank wall, and only God can open a door in it. But he did for Hezekiah and he will for you. Only have faith and reckon on God’s faithfulness. Has the shadow gone down on your dial? Has the day of your earnest zeal for God begun to wane? Have the bright promises of the morning become overcast? Then turn to God with true repentance! Let him see thy tears of heart-sorrow, and he will restore the years that the cankerworm has eaten. It shall be with thee as in the past. The shadow shall return on the dial and the days of thy youth shall be renewed. There is a sense in which our sun never goes down, but leads our days forward, when the Lord becomes our Everlasting Light.
2 Kings 20:10—Let the shadow return backward ten degrees.
It is impossible for us to understand how this could be. The shadow of the declining day waxes ever longer, and only a miracle could change its appearance on the dial. It may suggest some significant thoughts about shadows that may still go back.
The shadow of a wasted life.— Of course, there is a sense in which the wasted years will never come again; they have passed beyond recall. But the shadow may go back on the dial of our life when we truly repent, and turn again to God, for He hath promised: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). And “I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten” (Joel 2:25).
The shadow of happier days.— These seem to have gone. For long you have noticed the growing twilight, and it has seemed impossible ever again to have the lightsomeness and spring of one or two decades back. But be of good cheer, for when a man comes into that fellowship with God which sorrow and temptation teach, when with growing years he attains added grace, we are told that he shall return to the days of his youth.
The shadow of early affection.— Have you lost loved ones, so that your life is like a house the windows of which, one after another, have become shuttered and dark? But love is not forfeited forever. Those who forsake all for Christ’s sake shall get all back again in Him. His love comprehends all human love. The relationships of His kingdom surpass in tenderness and tenacity those of the warmest earthly ties. Thy brother shall rise again, and thou shalt hear him call thy name, and shalt sit with him in the Home of Life.
2 Kings 20:12-21 – A Mistake and Its Penalty.
God does not always prolong life in answer to prayer, and we should always leave such things submissively to him, because he may see reasons why it would be far better for us to be removed from this world of temptation and sorrow. If Hezekiah had been taken away by early death, he would never have incurred the terrible sentence of v. 16, etc.
Let us watch against the sin of ostentation. It was a foolish act on the part of the king, because he aroused in these ambassadors desire and greed, which they communicated to their sovereign. There is too much of this spirit in us all. What a solemn inquiry that is, “What have they seen in thine house?” If that inquiry were put to us, we should too often have to confess that our visitors have not seen our piety, our family worship, the decorous behavior of our children, our love and devotion; but that they have seen our dresses and our ornaments, our best linen and our plate. Alas for us, if these are our treasures, and we have nothing behind them of the priceless jewels and wealth of Christian character! At the best we are only caretakers and stewards; we have nothing that we have not received (1 Corinthians 4:7)! Let us remember that at any time the Master of the House may arrive (Matthew 24:44)!