Hezekiah and His Prayer not to Die
Many know of that time when the prophet Isaiah came to King Hezekiah who was seriously ill. The message was simple. Isaiah told the king that he was to die. “Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live” (2 Kgs. 20:1). When the prophet departed, Hezekiah prayed so fervently to God that before Isaiah had left the palace God told the prophet to return to the king and deliver the message that his life would be lengthened fifteen years. There are some vital truths we must learn from the details of this wonderful story.
You would think that Hezekiah would have immediately responded with a heart filled with thanksgiving for all that God had done. Such was not the case. “But Hezekiah did not repay according to the favor shown to him, for his heart was lifted up” (2 Chron. 32:25).
Now before you react too quickly, how often have you prayed about matters, and your prayers were answered? How did you respond? Adversity leads us to prayer, but we must learn to repay God for the favor he has shown.
No details are given, but that verse in 2 Chronicles shows that God’s wrath was looming over Hezekiah and over his kingdom. It never became a reality because of the king’s response. “Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah.”
Hezekiah was one of the great kings of the Jews, and it impacted the lives of all those in Judah. It is obvious that their petitions of God changed what was about to happen. God heard Hezekiah’s petition to spare his life and his petition for deliverance from the impending doom.
Don’t Live Too Long
God did lengthen his life fifteen years. What happened in those years? You may not be aware of the ungodly impact the next king had on Judah. His name was Manasseh, and he ruled for fifty-five years. During his reign, the Jews totally forgot about God and temple worship stopped. That glorious temple Solomon built fell into disrepair, and the Bible kept in the temple was completely forgotten and lost.
Who was Manasseh, and what was his relation to Hezekiah? He was Hezekiah’s son who was born to him during the fifteen years God added to his life. It would have been far better had Hezekiah died than to have lived and fathered evil Manasseh. The point is obvious. Better to die young and faithful than to live too long and create evil!