Photo by Elsie esq. on Flickr.
By Lisa Nordell-Detres
This news does not set well with most people, but King Hezekiah’s response was especially passionate. “Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the (Western) wall and prayed to the LORD, and said, ‘Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before you in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what is good in Your sight.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly.” (Isaiah 38:2-3, NKJV) Not only did God hear his prayer and heal the King, He told him that Hezekiah would live fifteen more years. God even gave Hezekiah a miraculous sign of His promise by turning back time ten degrees on the sundial of Ahaz. I don’t know how much time ten degrees on the sundial of Ahaz was, but it must have been substantial.
I suspect that many people have prayed similar prayers when given that bad news, but God is sovereign and He can do whatever He wants, including healing or choosing not to heal the terminally ill and raising the dead. This does not mean that those who have been healed don’t die at some point in the future; nobody gets out of this life alive.
Had he died when Isaiah first told him he would die, Hezekiah would have passed peacefully, leaving his kingdom intact. As it was, over the period of the next 15 years, Hezekiah’s head swelled and he made the foolish decision to show the entire treasury to a group of visiting Babylonian emissaries. God rebuked Hezekiah and told him that everything he had shown to the Babylonians would be carried off to Babylon, along with some of his family members. (2 Kings 20:12-18)
Hezekiah also fathered Manasseh during that 15 year remission. Manasseh ascended the throne at the age of 12 after Hezekiah’s death and was recorded as the most evil king of Judah, committing atrocities beyond those practiced by the people who had lived in Canaan before the Children of Israel settled there!
We can never know what might have happened had the story ended differently, but what we do need to grasp is the concept that we are eternal beings who, if we are saved by the precious blood of Jesus, will live forever in heaven. Our eternal life is already upon us; all that separates us from eternity are these earthly bodies that are one step closer to death each day. Rather than being obsessed with cheating death and extraordinarily extending our lives here, we need to focus on the task that Jesus gave us to do and then when our time is up, take that last step into the arms of our loving Savior.
Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.
Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.