Daily D – Isaiah 38:2-3
Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD. He said, “Please, LORD, remember how I have walked before you faithfully and wholeheartedly, and have done what pleases you.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
ISAIAH 38:2-3 (CSB)
What do you do when you receive bad news? Hezekiah was terminally ill. Isaiah visited him with a message from God. “This is what the LORD says: ‘Set your house in order, for you are about to die; you will not recover,’” (verse 1).
That is bad news indeed.
What did Hezekiah do in response to the news from God that he was going to die? He prayed. He gave God a reason to let him go on living. He reminded God of how he had lived. He had lived a life before God that was faithful, wholehearted, and pleasing.
This is a good insight into how we should pray. Why should God say yes to our prayers? Will his positive response help people see how good and kind he is? Will it demonstrate his mercy and grace? Will it teach others how to relate to God?
This kind of praying is quite different from prayers about winning the lottery or seeking your favorite team’s victory.
What happened after Hezekiah’s prayer? Check out verses 4-8 about how God dramatically demonstrated his positive response. Next, read Hezekiah’s poem of praise and thanksgiving beginning in verse 9. In verses 21 and 22 we find God’s remedy for Hezekiah’s illness.
Chapter 38 ends well. Chapter 39 begins well but ends poorly. Hezekiah was granted fifteen extra years of life. He was careless. Isaiah confronted him and told him of the coming destruction that would happen to the land and to the people, including his close relatives after he died. This did not bother Hezekiah since he would be dead and gone when it happened.
Hezekiah wasted his extra life.
You and I probably will never experience anything like Hezekiah. However, look around and notice how many people are wasting their lives. This is a temptation and danger for each of us.
How we live today will make the world a better place for our children and grandchildren or a worse place. How will you live today? Will you live as the positive alternative to a coarse and tasteless society? Or will you go with the flow and the tide of the times?
If God needed a good reason today to let you live tomorrow and beyond, what would you offer him? How would you join him in his work of building a better world?
I will fill my days and years with Kingdom-building activity.
Our Father, thank you for the gift of life. Fill our days with meaning and purpose. Make us fruitful and effective in extending your kingdom. Use us to demonstrate your goodness and love. Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”