Fifteen years is a sophomore in high school. Or 473,400,000 seconds. It seems like a long time, but what would you do if you knew that was all the time you had left?
Meanwhile in the castle…King Hezekiah was sick! Isaiah 38-39 opens with a record of Hezekiah’s illness, so bad that Isaiah came with a message from God to tell him that he would die. Why did God send Isaiah? Had Hezekiah been praying? Regardless, he needed to make sure his will was updated.
But Hezekiah prays that God would remember his faithful life. In the parallel chapter in 2 Kings 20, it says that Isaiah didn’t even get out of the house before God sent him back.
Fifteen years. What would you do if you had 15 years?
Not only that, but God delivered them from Assyria and gave Hezekiah a sign by turning back time, literally. He turned back a shadow 10 steps as a sign. God is truly in control of all of life, and knows our days. Just like He knew the end of life for the Assyrian soldiers, He changed the prospects for His faithful king.
Hezekiah wrote a song about it. When he was sick, he felt cut off in the middle, like God as a weaver cutting him off the loom early.
God, be my pledge for safety! God, why is life so painful right now? This is not a good time to die!
God allows heartache for our good, lovingly keeping us from worse. He is teaching us, but He’s already thrown our sins into the trash heap where He can’t see them.
And Hezekiah recovers and promises to serve God and praise Him for the rest of his life. And then comes chapter 39…and Hezekiah shows off for Babylon. Yes, I am a great king. Yes, I have all this cool stuff. Isaiah came to him after that, “what did you show them?” Everything. And everything will be taken, even some of your sons.
So judgement was still coming, and the deliverance was not permanent.
And Hezekiah accepts it, knowing there would be peace in his days. Is he being selfish or trying to see tragedy in the best light? In the end, you can only do so much, and Hezekiah himself would be blessed. It is interesting, though, that the next king was a wicked man. And 2 Kings records that he was born within the 15 extra years Hezekiah enjoyed.
Sin taints the blessings, but it will be defeated! Salvation is coming! And while all the trappings of this world keep exchanging hands, there is one thing that no conquering kingdom could take away: hope.
God, thank You that You save us. And You allow such heartache and pain. It is hard to deal with it, God. Sometimes You move in mighty ways, and sometimes You allow evil to run over the good. God, thank You that You have the overarching plan. No matter if You turn back time, or allow destruction. You are God, and You are good. Thank You.