Hezekiah was a godly king of Judah who ‘did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his ancestor David had done’ (2 Kings 18:3). He rid the land of idols and was faithful in serving the Lord. When the great Assyrian king, Sennacherib, threatened to invade Jerusalem, Hezekiah cried out to the Lord for help, and the Angel of the Lord killed 185,000 soldiers in the camp of the Assyrians one night, causing the remainder of the army to withdraw from Jerusalem. The Bible says that Hezekiah was a God-fearing king who faithfully held on to the Lord, and kept His commandments (2 Kings 18:6-7).
But then something happened to test Hezekiah’s faith and trust in God. He became deathly ill. The prophet Isaiah was sent to Hezekiah with this message: “This is what the Lord says: Set your affairs in order, for you are going to die. You will not recover from this illness” (2 Kings 20:1). Understandably Hezekiah was very upset, however, he refused to accept God’s decision, and cried bitterly. The Lord sent Isaiah back to Hezekiah with this message: “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you…I will add fifteen years to your life.”
This sounds like a happy ending to this story, but in the fifteen years following Hezekiah’s plea for healing, several terrible things happened that would have been prevented, had Hezekiah submitted to God’s will and timing. When Hezekiah died, his son Manasseh, who was born in the fifteen years that God added to his life, became king at the age of twelve. Manasseh did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. He rebuilt the pagan shrines his father destroyed, constructed pagan altars in the Lord’s temple, sacrificed his own son to foreign gods, practiced sorcery and divination and also murdered many innocent people in Jerusalem. Hezekiah’s grandson, Amon, who succeeded his father Manasseh, was also wicked, and followed in his father’s footsteps, leading the nation of Judah astray. The nation of Judah would have been spared much turmoil if Hezekiah abided by God’s will.
God is a big-picture God who sees the end from the beginning. Sometimes it may seem to us as if God’s will for our lives is painful, uncomfortable and even irrational. However, His word tells us in Isaiah 55:9, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
The account of Hezekiah reminded me of when Jesus was faced with a similar scenario as Hezekiah. Jesus knew that He was going to die. He even knew exactly how cruel and painful it would be, but Jesus’ response was very different from Hezekiah’s. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus felt intense grief, distress and sorrow at what He knew was about to happen to Him, and he also desired to be spared the agony awaiting Him. Matthew 26:39 (Amplified) says, “And going a little farther, He threw Himself upon the ground on His face and prayed saying, My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from Me, nevertheless, not what I will [not what I desire], but as You will and desire.” Jesus was completely submitted to whatever His Father deemed best, even if it meant suffering and death.
Romans 8:28 says, “We are assured and know that … all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.” I was so challenged about my own heart, and the tendency to desire for God to do things in a way that will cause as little as possible discomfort and difficulty to my life, while His ways and His plans for me are always far better, and always aimed at bringing Him glory. I am challenged to learn to pray, “not what I will [not what I desire], but as You will and desire.” How about you?
Prayer: Father, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to model your heart and Your ways to us. I am sorry for often being so impatient with the way You choose to answer my prayers, especially when it may include hardship or discomfort. Help me to confidently pray, “Your will be done,” and to trust You with the way You answer this prayer, so that You may receive glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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