Hezekiah's Sickness
(2 Kings 20)

Rev. Jim Bogle, given May 20, 2007

Amos 4:12

…prepare to meet thy God...

Every one of us, this morning, ought to be prepared to meet our God.

God’s prophet Isaiah has come to God’s King Hezekiah and must share with the king some disturbing news.

2 King 20:1

In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death.  And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.

Hezekiah was one of only eight godly kings of the nineteen kings that would reign over the Southern Kingdom of Judah. His sickness is recorded here in 2 Kings, and in 2 Chronicles 32 and in Isaiah 38.

Doctors will tell you the hardest thing to do in their profession is to tell their patients that unless some miracle occurs they have done all they can do and that their going to die. Isaiah wasn’t a doctor, but it had to have been a difficult thing for him to tell his king!

But the truth is, Death, sooner or later, comes to every man. 

Hebrews 9:27

it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment

Every one of us has appointment with the death angel, unless of course Christ comes before!

Hezekiah has been told that he is going to die,

2 Kings 20:1

…Set thine house in order...

I had an insurance salesman quote me this very verse of scripture back some years ago, trying to encourage me to purchase a life insurance policy. But God expects every man to set his house in order, to be prepared for that day when he might be called home.

1 Timothy 5:8

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

God expects us to take care of our families.

Hezekiah has been told that he’s going to die. I have never had a doctor tell me that I’m going to die, but I have been present when others have received the word. It’s an eye- and heart-opening experience to receive such a message.

J. Vernon McGee shares a letter from a young pastor he knew, who had been told that he had cancer and that his days were limited. And so the young pastor sent out a letter to some of his friends, and Dr. McGee was one of the recipients of that letter.

The young pastor wrote

One thing I have discovered in the last few days. When a Christian is suddenly confronted with a sentence of death, he surely begins to give a proper evaluation of material things. My fishing gear and books and orchard are not nearly so valuable as they were a week ago.

Then McGee comments:

…many years later I had the experience of having cancer myself. My doctor told me he thought I had only about three months to live. I can bear witness to the accuracy of the young preacher’s statement. It was amazing how certain things suddenly became very unimportant.

Our relationship to Christ and our relationship to our families ought to be the most important things in our lives today!  And yet so little time today is spent with family! Both moms and dads working to make ends meet, little people away in daycare centers, or at school, and our home life is spent glued to the television set, some 26 hours a week.

Suppose you had one week to live...I bet those 26 hours would be spent differently.

Hezekiah has been confronted with the reality of death. He was dying of some type of cancer or leprosy, the record says he had a “boil” (verse 21). What did he do?

He made petition to the only one that could help him.

2 Kings 20:2-3

2: Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying,

3: I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight.  And Hezekiah wept sore.

The young preacher testified that he wept often, after he was told he would die. McGee says he wept also when he heard that he was going to die.

I believe that you and I would do no differently. But when our time comes, when our day of departure arrives, then we can be comforted by the words of Paul...

2 Timothy 1:12

…for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

That day can be the day of death, or the day of the coming of Christ, whichever occurs first.

It’s a comforting thought that when the Old Testament patriarchs died, they were "gathered to their people.” It’s a comforting thought to know that the New Testament teaches that at the very moment of death, angels sweep in and carry us out to meet the Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 16:22

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom…

It’s a comforting thought to know that the Bible teaches us that Christ has taken away the “sting” of death.

1 Corinthians 15:55

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Hezekiah is weeping, and we most likely would be too! And God hears his prayer.

2 Kings 20:4-6

4: And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying,

5: Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD.

6: And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake.

There is such a thing as the perfect will of God, and there is such a thing as the permissive will of God.

The perfect will of God is fixed, and will not change. For example the Gospel message, salvation by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will never change.

God’s ultimate Goal of seeing Israel through to victory over her enemies, and reigning in the New Jerusalem with the Lord Jesus Christ will never change; this is the message of Malachi.

Malachi 3:6

For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

These are examples of the perfect will of God. Yet there is also the permissive will of God.

God permits us to have our own way in some matters to teach us that His way is better. God called me to the ministry long before I entered the ministry. Yet I thought I was supposed to do this and that instead of answering his call. His permissive will was to allow me to exercise my will that I might come to see that His will was really what I needed.

The Prodigal son, God allowed him to leave his father’s house in order that he might find the pig pen, and come home a truer son than when he left.

Here, in Hezekiah’s case, I believe we see the permissive will of God at work. Hezekiah thinks that more of this life is what he wants. And so the Bible says that God healed him.

2 Kings 20:7

7: And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs.  And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered.

In verses 8-10 Hezekiah asks for a sign that he would recover and that he would go up again to the temple and God gave him the sign he requested. This request was not unusual for men of God in the Old Testament. God often helped increase the faith of his men by granting them a special sign!

Gideon was granted a special sign.

      Joshua was granted a special sign.

                  Hezekiah is granted a special sign too!

2 Kings 20:12-18

12: At that time Bero-dach-baladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present unto Hezekiah: for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick

13: And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.

Now these men, sent from the king of Babylon, were merely there to deliver a get well card, and a small gift!

And, In 2 Chronicles 32:31, it tells us that the ambassadors from Babylon also came to Hezekiah because of the wonder that was done in his land. These men came just to investigate the report and to return to Babylon.

Yet Hezekiah, in his pride, had to show off his treasures. He wanted them to go back to the king of Babylon and tell him they’d never seen such treasurers before in their lives. And that’s exactly what they did!

Hezekiah, in his pride, was whetting the gold and silver appetite of the devil. His pride was opening the door to Satan’s devices. Pride always opens the door to the works of the devil.

14: Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men?  and from whence came they unto thee?  And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country, even from Babylon.

15: And he said, What have they seen in thine house?  And Hezekiah answered, All the things that are in mine house have they seen: there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them.

He’s proud...

16: And Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD.

17: Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD.

18: And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.

Hezekiah’s heart was lifted up because of his healing. God had worked a miracle in Hezekiah’s life, and instead of God being made the center of praise, honor, and glory, Hezekiah became the center of attention.

2 Chronicles 32:24-25

24: In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the LORD: and he spake unto him, and he gave him a sign.

25: But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem.

The Bible says “his heart was lifted up.”

Proverbs 16:18

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Isaiah’s prophecy of Hezekiah’s future is not good at all; it is a prophecy of doom and gloom for his children.

      Hezekiah should be ashamed of himself. 

                  He should be asking forgiveness for his foolish actions. 

But how does he respond? Just listen to him…

2 Kings 20:19-21

19: Then said Hezekiah unto Isaiah, Good is the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken.  And he said, Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days?

In other words, "This is a good prophecy for ME! It doesn’t really matter what my children will face, as long as my days are good and peaceful.”

The Word in Life Study Bible says this, “Perhaps the saddest outcome of Hezekiah’s pride was the impact it would have on those who would succeed him."

Isaiah told the king that someday the Lord would allow the Babylonians to return and clean out the treasuries they had seen.  Amazingly, Hezekiah viewed this as positive word from the Lord for him. He had only his interests in mind.

20: And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

21: And Hezekiah slept with his fathers: and Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.

Manassah ascended the throne of his father at the age of 12 years old. He was the worst butcher of all the kings of Israel, doubling the sin of Ahab and Jezebel together. It is believed that Manassah placed Isaiah into a hollow log and had him sawn in half.

J. Vernon McGee writes:

This may seem like an awful thing for me to say, but Hezekiah should have died when the time came for him to die.  Three {tragic} things took place after God extended his life; he showed his treasure to Babylon, He begat a son, Manassah, who was the most wicked of all kings,...and His heart became filled with pride...You see, it might have been better if Hezekiah had died at God’s appointed time.

Now we can very easily say this morning that when God is ready for us to die, we’re ready to go. And yet, when the time comes, most likely our truest prayer will be, "Lord I want to live."

Jesus, in the garden, facing the horror to come his way that day, prayed, “Father if it be possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not my will but thy will be done.”

Our prayer for deliverance from death ought to include the words, “nevertheless, not my will, but thy will be done.”

How about you this morning? Are you ready to meet the LORD if he were to call you home today? If the rapture of the church was to take place in the next few moments, would you be caught up to meet the LORD in the air?