Read 2 Kings 20
20 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.’”
7 Then Isaiah said, “Prepare a poultice of figs.” They did so and applied it to the boil, and he recovered.
8 Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, “What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the Lord on the third day from now?”
9 Isaiah answered, “This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?”
10 “It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.”
11 Then the prophet Isaiah called on the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.
Envoys From Babylon
12 At that time Marduk-Baladan son of Baladan king of Babylon sent Hezekiah letters and a gift, because he had heard of Hezekiah’s illness. 13 Hezekiah received the envoys and showed them all that was in his storehouses—the silver, the gold, the spices and the fine olive oil—his armory and everything found among his treasures. There was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.
14 Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked, “What did those men say, and where did they come from?”
“From a distant land,” Hezekiah replied. “They came from Babylon.”
15 The prophet asked, “What did they see in your palace?”
“They saw everything in my palace,” Hezekiah said. “There is nothing among my treasures that I did not show them.”
16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord: 17 The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. 18 And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”
19 “The word of the Lord you have spoken is good,” Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?”
20 As for the other events of Hezekiah’s reign, all his achievements and how he made the pool and the tunnel by which he brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? 21 Hezekiah rested with his ancestors. And Manasseh his son succeeded him as king.
Unlike most of Israel’s kings, Hezekiah was largely faithful. Over the past few days, we have read about his reign and we know that he did not make the same mistakes as his father and worked to rid the kingdom of foreign gods and idols.
In today’s passage, however, Hezekiah makes a mistake that will cost Israel dearly. This chapter is a tale of two stories. In the first, God hears Hezekiah’s prayer and extends his life an additional 15 years. The king is deathly ill but doesn’t want to die because the Assyrians are still a threat to his people. God answers his prayer in a miraculous way. But in the second half, Hezekiah takes visitors from a “far country” called Babylon and shows them all the treasures of the kingdom, blind to their ambitions of conquest. Indeed, those same people from the far country will one day return to plunder Israel of its people and its treasure.
While Hezekiah is focused on one enemy, he lets another walk right into the door. We have something to learn from this. Oftentimes we need to get our own house in order but that comes at the expense of something else. His failure to prepare Manasseh (his son and ultimately his successor) to faithfully lead Judah into the future proved to be detrimental (as we’ll read about in the coming days).
When we address sin or chaos in one part of our life, we often allow it to rise in another (sometimes without even realizing it). This is another reminder that having other believers who can speak into our lives and know our blind spots is so helpful in combating sin. As we go about our days today, let us keep both eyes open and both hands ready.
- In which area of your life do you see that God is actively working?
- Is there an area of your life that is in need of attention?
- Who can help you identify where God is working or might need to be invited into your life?
Did You Know?
Both Isaiah and Micah prophesied and ministered during Hezekiah’s reign.
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