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Read Isaiah 38

Hezekiah’s Illness

38 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.”

Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “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.

Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; 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.

“‘This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.’” So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down.

A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah after his illness and recovery:

10 I said, “In the prime of my life
    must I go through the gates of death
    and be robbed of the rest of my years?”
11 I said, “I will not again see the Lord himself
    in the land of the living;
no longer will I look on my fellow man,
    or be with those who now dwell in this world.
12 Like a shepherd’s tent my house
    has been pulled down and taken from me.
Like a weaver I have rolled up my life,
    and he has cut me off from the loom;
    day and night you made an end of me.
13 I waited patiently till dawn,
    but like a lion he broke all my bones;
    day and night you made an end of me.
14 I cried like a swift or thrush,
    I moaned like a mourning dove.
My eyes grew weak as I looked to the heavens.
    I am being threatened; Lord, come to my aid!”

15 But what can I say?
    He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this.
I will walk humbly all my years
    because of this anguish of my soul.
16 Lord, by such things people live;
    and my spirit finds life in them too.
You restored me to health
    and let me live.
17 Surely it was for my benefit
    that I suffered such anguish.
In your love you kept me
    from the pit of destruction;
you have put all my sins
    behind your back.
18 For the grave cannot praise you,
    death cannot sing your praise;
those who go down to the pit
    cannot hope for your faithfulness.
19 The living, the living—they praise you,
    as I am doing today;
parents tell their children
    about your faithfulness.

20 The Lord will save me,
    and we will sing with stringed instruments
all the days of our lives
    in the temple of the Lord.

21 Isaiah had said, “Prepare a poultice of figs and apply it to the boil, and he will recover.”

22 Hezekiah had asked, “What will be the sign that I will go up to the temple of the Lord?”

Go Deeper

Let’s begin by reviewing a few facts regarding King Hezekiah as the books of 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, and Isaiah tell the story of his life. 2 Kings 18:5 reveals “There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.” He was the son of the notoriously wicked King Ahaz, and reigned over the southern kingdom of Judah for 29 years. For the most part, he faithfully walked with God. His contemporaries were the prophets Isaiah and Micah, who were instrumental in him ridding the land of pagan idols, altars and temples. Hezekiah was credited for the temple in Jerusalem being cleaned out and reopened, as well as the reinstating of the Levitical priesthood and Passover according to an article from It may be surprising to read of the next events that unfold in Isaiah 38 as Hezekiah is faced with one of his greatest challenges, a fatal sickness. Let’s focus on the posture of King Hezekiah’s heart and how it played out in this part of his story. 

Isaiah delivered the dreadful news, “This is what the Lord says: Set your house in order, for you are going to die. You will not recover from this illness” (v. 1). Faced with deep trouble, Hezekiah humbled himself, turned his face to the wall, prayed, and wept bitterly. He asked that God remember how he has tried to be faithful and do what was right. God heard his pleas and sent a  swift reply through Isaiah. It included adding 15 years to his life and rescuing and defending the city from the mighty Assyrian army. 

Recall this is not the first time Hezekiah had felt backed in a corner, yet he continued to prove he knew where to turn, to the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. His heart was in the right place. Hezekiah’s response to answered prayer was marked by an awareness that God had been merciful in sparing his life, and a solid determination to pass the legacy of faith to the next generation. After deliverance, he creates a poem of praise and testimony of faith that closely resembles a psalm of David. So far, Hezekiah seems to clear most every hurdle and test thrown his way, let’s continue to read and learn from his successes and failures.


  1. When faced with trials, where is the first place you turn? Are you convinced God meets you in every area of your life?
  2. How is your prayer life? Do you earnestly seek His heart and dwell in his presence?
  3. Do you understand the gravity of sharing your faith with the next generation?

A Quote

In v. 19, Hezekiah proclaims in his poem of praise to God, “Each generation can make known your faithfulness to the next.” JP mirrors the urgency of Hezekiah in his book Welcoming the Future Church: “The greatest opportunity for you to change the world for Jesus Christ is for you to take whatever days you have left and invest them in reaching young adults.”

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7 thoughts on “Isaiah 38”

  1. V19 “Each generation can make known your faithfulness to the next” is a mandate that we must take seriously. Think of the amazing blessing of picking up a copy of scripture that has been preserved across the years that is applicable and instructs us today! My personal faith has come through many faithful ones who intentionally invested in me, parents, Sunday school teachers, pastors & godly friends. Now as a grandparent, I sense the urgency of living and giving the gospel to 13 precious ones. It is a significant task that I do not take lightly. As we begin the advent season, what could we incorporate into our daily activities to focus on the Savior of the world being made known to the next generation? We must first prepare our hearts and then joyfully share wherever we are.

  2. Some of you know my story and some don’t but I died, dead. CPR was performed for over 40 minutes BUT GOD had other plans for me. For the first year, we were not involved in a church at that time, I was like why me and what do I do with this incredible amazing story of a second chance. Here in Isaiah 38 is Hezekiah with a new opportunity also. I have a new appreciate for life. I have a deeper love for God and hopefully as I learn more, a deeper relationship with Him. I want to praise God all the days I have left and to make sure that they are for HIM!! Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. I want to praise God at all times and yet I am still struggling with how to speak it out to others. My heart is shouting WOOHOO!! so so so much but my people pleasing, insecurities, and pride hold me back. I know in my head knowledge and mostly with heart knowledge what to do but fear, which is not of God, deters me. Psalm 139:14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. YES YES YES!!!! my soul knows it very well!!!! And it is well!!!
    God I am so thankful for another day to Praise You!!! Thank You that I can come out of my insecurity and just speak Jesus!!!! You have given me this second or more chance with life, I pray that I do this part well. I know that my heart is so much closer and that the LOVE I have for You is far greater than it has ever been. Thank You for me speaking, praising, loving, doing and above all listening to You, so that I do, say and act on the right things! in Jesus name amen
    WOOHOO!!! AND WOOHOO!!!!!!

    1. Amy, you have such a remarkable testimony! God surely gave you life to save another. The healing births a healer. 🤗 keep sharing the good news!

  3. The foliage has been indescribable gorgeous, so I decided to take an afternoon drive to Sabine County to visit my dad’s former church, and was lucky enough to crash mid-way through evening service. I believe I made the 6th person in attendance, and the preacher looked up from his reading to greet me and let me know they were reading from the book of Isaiah…chapter 40 to be exact. I nearly lost it. After the service I visited with pastor and his wife and we talked about Isaiah. I told him my thoughts about how God used Isaiah to intervene for Hezekiah’s sake in his answered prayers. The pastor pointed me to 2 Kings 20:4-5 “ 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.”
    I had to share how marvelous God intercedes on our behalf, too. I’m sure I don’t have to connect the dots for you to read how God moved to answer my prayer that I shared on Saturday about the quickness of feet Isaiah had. It was such a sweet fellowship last night, and it wouldn’t have been without the hand of BRP…thank you.

  4. Hezekiah’s story is especially meaningful to me, as I prayed his prayer when my Mom was diagnosed with terminal mesothelioma. I shared his story with her, and it gave us great comfort. She lived over four more years with gratitude that God would grant her this borrowed time.

    1. 🤗 what a sweet story… I, too, have been granted that gift. today, marks the reunion of my mom in heaven after her battle with cancer we are never alone.

  5. This passage hits particularly close to home as I grieve the loss of a family member whose life was cut unexpectedly short. Just this morning I confided to my LG that while I believe my loved one believed in God, they did not particularly live FOR him. Now each day is a struggle as I contend with various matters, both practical and spiritual, that were NOT put in order. I guess they thought there would somehow, always be “more time.”

    I think that, too—even though Psalm 90-12 cautions me otherwise.

    I must confess, one of my greatest sin struggles is wasting time. I can easily spend HOURS in mindless, mind-numbing activity as a way of “decompressing” from grief and suffering.

    How I long to receive a “new lease on life” as Hezekiah did! How comforting to learn his pain and suffering served such purpose! His brush with death makes him more determined than ever to use his life well, proclaiming God to all God’s people.

    When we come face-to-face with mortality—whether our own or someone else’s—it should be a game changer. What “affairs” do I need to “get in order” today?

    Lord, give me humility in the midst of suffering, the wisdom I need to direct my days, and a voice that sings praise to the next generation.

    To God be the glory!

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