In our passages today, I was drawn to the verses speaking of Hezekiah’s illness, prayer & healing.
2 Kings 20:1-6
In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”
2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 3 “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
4 Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: 5 “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord. 6 I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.’”
After reading it, I thought, what a great example of the power of prayer. However, in doing a little digging on the topic, I came up with an interesting perspective (sermoncentral.com)
First of all, a little side note: God does choose to heal Hezekiah, but shortly after that Hezekiah forgets God’s goodness & that his successes are all due to God’s greatness, not his own & pride sets in. It's important for us to remember what God does in our lives & not become arrogant & proud. Hezekiah could have taken this opportunity to give the credit to God & spread the news of the true God in heaven. But what does he do instead? He exalts himself & becomes proud. (“But Hezekiah’s heart was proud & he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the Lord’s wrath was on him & on Judah & Jerusalem – 2 Chronicles 32:25)
Anyway, here’s what I found so interesting (go with me here, but to get it we have to switch gears for a moment). This is what sermon central says...
This was a terrible man. Manasseh was the worst king Israel ever had. He ruled 55 years, the longest of any king of God’s people from 696 to 641 BC. He not only encouraged evil but discouraged good. The faithful few that were left were objects of his bitter hatred. Manasseh tried to find success by lowering the standards and uniting with the world. When the church begins to act like the world, dresses like the world, has the same music as the world, the same standards of the world, we are going backwards like Hezekiah’s sundial. It is time for the church to hold a high standard, the standard of Jesus Christ and His salvation.
So we must ask a vital question: Why did God allow Manasseh to be the king? Why did He even want him to be the king? Why did He allow such a wicked man to ever even be born? God makes mistakes, doesn’t He? A lot of mistakes. Or, did He?
Come to 2 Kings 21:1 look carefully at this verse. Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king. How old? 12. And he reigned in Jerusalem 55 years. What if Hezekiah had submitted to Gods will and said, I’ll go ahead and die. I’m not going to moan over this. I’ll get my house in order. OK God, I am ready and confident that some day I will live again forever in your kingdom! Hezekiah was Manasseh’s daddy. Manasseh would never have been born. The reason he was born was because Hezekiah refused to submit to God’s will. It is a lesson here…
Do we dare, ever, to pray for our own will to be done? Is it ever appropriate for us to pray for our will to be done? Well, yes, it is. Did Jesus ever do that? Oh, yes He did. How did He pray? He said, "Father, if possible, I don’t want to drink this cup. But, if not, go ahead and give it to me. I will drink it." "Father, I don’t want this cancer. I don’t want this problem. But if You don’t remove it, it’s okay. I’ll submit to it. That’s the position of strength. That’s the position where we need to be.
What a challenge, to trust God, to pray, ask & even beg & then submit no matter the answer.