II Kings 20:1-6 New King James Version (NKJV)
Hezekiah’s Life Extended
1 In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.’”
2 Then he turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the Lord, saying,
3 “Remember now, O Lord, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
4 And it happened, before Isaiah had gone out into the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying,
5 “Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord.
6 And I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake, and for the sake of My servant David.”’”
What about healing? "Hezekiah is sick, near death."
--I've experienced that, as a child, I almost died.
--I had diptheria; was treated for tonsilitis.
--Many prayers for many days .. defeated death for me.
--Prayer also did for King Hezekiah. Maybe for you.
In Psalm 103:3 we read of God "Who heals all diseases."
--Is it in heaven? Or on earth? Is it for everyone?
Despite doctors, drugs, advances, prayer, many suffer.
--Many get ill. And many get well. We live longer.
---Some ills we bring on ourselves. AIDS is increasing.
--Some ills just come, like this to Hezekiah, a king.
What can we do? Make every effort to prevent ills.
--Then, seek cures for all the ails we can.
--Third, use all human and divine aid, to give care.
--Four, make prayer a priority for all God can do.
Some ask, "Why does a good God allow human suffering?"
--It is a question over four thousand years old!
--Job (10:2-8), who suffered so much, asked the same.
--My friend, sickness, suffering, takes understanding.
--It is all through life, history, and the Bible.
--Sometimes we suffer in the will of God, as did Job!.
--Jesus was sinless, suffered as no other, on a cross.
--Jesus suffered, to spare us from such! And to save!
No life is all sunshine. Some clouds, storms, arise.
--Jesus said "It rains on the just and unjust."
--Ills can come to anyone, any time, like King Hezekiah.
--His illness is recorded 3 times, in the Bible.
--He sent for the Prophet Isaiah, the man of God.
--"Set your house in order, for you shall die" (v 1).
--Sometime we all have such an appointment. Be ready.
--Hezekiah "did what was right." A good man. Ill.
--He turned to the Lord God!
As a teen our family faced this when dad's appendix ruptured, and spent weeks in a hospital at death's door.
--It put life in perspective! Welded us all in prayer..
--In pastures, barn, everywhere, on my knees I went.
--It transformed our whole family. Proved a blessing.
Praise God, Dad finally healed. He lived many years.
--A benefit: We drew closer to God! One another.
--Began to love each other more. Appreciate each day!
What did ill.. Hezekiah do on the news? "He prayed."
--"Turned his face to the wall." His heart to God.
--Asked the Lord, "Remember how I have walked before You in truth, with a loyal heart; and, done what was good in Your sight .. he wept bitterly" (v 3).
--Suppose you received sad news, what would you do?
Did the Lord hear his prayer? Yes, and answered!
--Before the prophet left the palace! Listen to God.
--"Return, tell Hezekiah .. 'Thus says the Lord, I have heard your prayer .. seen your tears .. I will heal you .. and I will add to your days fifteen years."
--"Hezekiah recovered" (II Kings 20:7). For 15 years.
It is not easy for anyone to be ill. Or face death.
--Yet, unless Jesus comes soon (and He could), it will knock on the heart's door of everyone, some day.
--Few have any idea when. All ought to make ready!
In Hezekiah's case, God used both natural and supernatural means .. such as repentance, prayer and faith.
--Remember what James (5:14) says, "Is any among you sick?" Naturally, we would seek a physician.
--God uses doctors. But they are not all He uses.
--The rest of the verse says, "Let them pray .. in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick ..." We are to "pray for one another."
Illness, disease and death comes to us, of all ages.
--When young, we dislike bothering, thinking of these.
--We say, "Don't bother me with that, I'm having fun!"
--I've read many tombstones. They show all ages.
Let's be saved. Follow Jesus, our Savior, in living.
--We can do nothing better, as believers, than pray.
--After we pray, we can do everything better.
--After salvation, prayer is a vital part of healing.
--"Fervent prayer of the righteous avails much" (Jas. 5).
My friend, God has a plan, a purpose, for sparing us.
--For healing. A purpose, when you and I healed.
Those years God added to Hezekiah were bittersweet.
--Who knows which would have been best, for many heavy burdens, and mistakes came. Bore a wicked son.
--By his pride, allowed the loss of temple treasures.
It's always best to pray for "God's will to be done."
I've seen God miraculously heal many - myself included.
--And godly people not healed, though prayed for, also including myself. Yet, growing in God's grace!
--If all were healed right away no one would ever die!
--And friend, no one would want to go to heaven!
In sickness or health, let's trust and obey the Lord.
--Living close to Christ, we will have God's best.
Jesus lived in total submission to the Father's will.
--Yet suffered so much, from Satan; even a cruel cross.
--Tasting death, and defeating it, for us all.
Job was a very godly man, yet think of all he endured.
--Or John the Baptist. Saintly, winner of souls.
--A cousin of Jesus by Mary. Commended by Jesus.
--Lived a holy life, yet beheaded by a wicked queen.
--And what about saintly Stephen? First Church martyr.
--Prayed for those stoning him, as Jesus did, "Father, forgive them. Lay not this sin to their charge."
I ask, are these godly folk so evil, all help fails?
--Of course not! Don't believe "all suffering is due to some sin .. or lack of faith," as some say.
--That is only one of many causes, as Job teaches us.
--Sometimes it is due to the will of God for us.
--So God's glory, grace, and power may show in us.
--In us! By the way we handle what we cannot change!
In my years of seminary, James Telford taught missions.
--Dr. Telford was a missionary in India many years.
--Cancer brought him back to the states, being treated.
--His neck was all red. In pain. But what faith!
--How this servant of God could pray! And teach!
--And suffer so valiantly, and faithfully! Inspiring!
We do well to do that as well. To thank God for life.
--To leave it to the Lord's will to be healed, or not.
Do I believe in doctors? I do. Paul had Dr. Luke.
--Do I believe in divine healing? Yes, all healing is.
--Do I believe in demanding. God to heal? No, I don't.
--To demand God is wrong! Pray, for His will is right.
--To demand God is not Biblical or practical, for it is putting our will above the Lord's. He knows best.
Nor is all suffering due to sin. Or lack of faith.
--Sure, we should confess, repent, keep right with God.
--To seek human help available. Pray for God's will.
--Then, let's leave it up to the Lord.
The whole Bible teaches this. Look at Paul's Epistles.
--He wrote Timothy, "Use a little wine, for your stomach's sake and frequent infirmities" (I Tim. 5:23).
--"Wine" is the Greek word oinos, or "grape juice."
--It was a "frequent infirmity," yet not healed.
--Paul wrote about Epaphroditus, "nigh unto death."
--He wrote of Trophimus, "I left at Miletus sick."
These all prayed for. Most Dr. Luke cared for.
--All were living right, and serving the Lord Himself.
--But not all healed! But they kept faithful!
Or, take Paul himself, suffered a "thorn in the flesh."
--Bible verses cause me to believe, was eyes or vision.
--Paul earnestly prayed, "Three times," for healing.
--God said, "No. My grace is sufficient for you."
--Paul healed others, raised the dead; but not for him.
--His life, unhealed, to be a trophy of God's grace!
Or, take Jesus, Son of God and Savior of the world, in His oppressions, temptations, sufferings and cross.
--Prayed, "Let this cup pass from Me ..nevertheless not My will but Thine be done." The cross did not pass!
--But Christ's cross is what brought our salvation!
To expect to always be healed, not grow old, or die is contrary to God's Word, Jesus, and lives of saints.
--So do all we can to avoid illness. And for healing.
--But if not, trust the Lord. Grow closer to Him.
--When "born again" in Jesus, one can face anything.
How about you my friend? Been born again? Saved?
--It is the real healing!
Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD. 47