So in Isaiah 38, we run into my new friend Hezekiah. Hezekiah is about to die (that’s an uplifting moment, huh). God has literally sent Isaiah to Hezekiah to inform him that it’s about that time, so he needs to start getting ready.. What can you really do when you get news like that…from God? It’s one thing to get it from a doctor, or some random person who doesn’t know what they’re talking about, but…God? What do you do when the God of life speaks death over you? More importantly, is it at all possible to get God to change His mind on something like that? Can we get a negotiation in grace? My friend Hezekiah has a few answers to those questions, let’s see what he did.
An important thing to know about Hezekiah is that he’s an excellent reminder that trouble hits everybody. Hez (yeah, I think I’m going to stick with Hez) is a king. He’s got status. He’s the one making all of the major decisions. Yet, he’s dying. He’s also a pretty decent servant of God. He’s one of those people that bring order back to the church. He’s the type of person that’d be on the usher board, praise & worship team, and hospitality committee at the same time, and still find time to make it back early for Sunday night service. Yet, God has sent a messenger to tell Hez that his time is up. Finally, he’s young. Hez isn’t getting a death report after 300 years on earth. He’s about 40 years old…..finding out that death is approaching faster than he’d prefer. I’m mentioning this, because I think that we often see “stuff” as our solution. We think that if we only had (insert desire here), that our lives would be so much easier, when in reality, it only brings a new set of problems. Please recognize that the new house, the new job, the promotion, etc. won’t necessarily keep trouble away. There are certain things that no amount of money, no amount of connections, or level of elevation can save you from (that’s why we need God, suga). It isn’t a question of if you’ll go through anything; it’s how you respond to what you have to go through.
Hez’s response was deep: he turned to a wall. Why? He needed to pray. So he turns from the messenger, towards the Master, and “reminds” God of what he’s done for Him (“usher board, hospitality committee, etc., remember me?”) in addition to the fact that, you know….he’s really trying. Hez attempts to let his works speak for him. (sidebar: if your works could speak for you, would they save your life? Just a thought…back to the blog) He pleads to God, gives it an ugly cry…and Isaiah walks out the door. However, on his way out, God responds….and that’s where the “juice” of today’s post resides.
While Hezekiah was still “weeping bitterly”, God tells Isaiah to turn around, and tell Hezekiah that He’s going to give Hez 15 more years AND He’s going to deliver Hez’s people. Now, most churches would start shouting and dancing right there, but doing that would cause us to miss the core of the story. See, what I didn’t tell you is that it’s said that Hez cried because he didn’t have a male heir, which would make him the end of the royal family. I also didn’t tell you that 3 years after this lovely incident, Hez had a son. Ooh! I also didn’t tell you is that Hezekiah is a descendant of David. These seemingly random facts are important for this reason: if God hadn’t extended Hezekiah’s life, we may not have had Jesus. If God hadn’t extended Hezekiah’s life, His covenant with David would’ve been in jeopardy. God didn’t extend Hez’s life, nor did He extend Hez’s life to be nice, He extended Hez’s life because He made a promise to David that the Son of Man (Jesus) would come from his lineage. We always talk about how Jesus “came through 42 generations”, but that wouldn’t have been able to happen if God hadn’t given Hez another 15 years. God’s response to Hezekiah is important because it shows us that God doesn’t bless you for your own gain or because you’re that good. Sometimes, God will bless you because of a promise He made to your parents, or people that you didn’t even know existed. Your blessings are rarely (if ever) about you; they’re always about Him. It’s your life, but it’s always His story. God won’t let anything tarnish His reputation, character, or promise.
When God extended Hezekiah’s life, He delivered a city, healed a man, added to a legacy, AND kept His promise AT THE SAME TIME!!!! Hezekiah wasn’t healed because he was faithful; Hezekiah was healed because God was (and still is) faithful. God was (and still is) faithful to His word. God was (and still is) faithful to His people. God was (and still is) faithful to sustaining His reputation and His character. When God told Isaiah to turn around, He specifically reference Himself as “the God of your father David”, which was basically His way of reminding Hezekiah that this was bigger than him. Hez was primarily focused on his own life; God was focused on His promise & purpose. Sweetie, God didn’t give you what you asked for because you prayed a specific prayer. He didn’t give it to you because you’re such a good Christian. He didn’t bless you because you asked nicely, used your manners, and acted like you had home training. God has blessed you to bless others. He’s given to you with the intent of you using it to bless other people.
A final point that I love about Hez’s story is verse 20, which says “the Lord was ready to save me.” I love it because it reminds me that God does in fact know what He’s doing. God was ready to save Hez when He sent Isaiah with the news. He was ready to save Hez when Hez was giving his church resume. He’s ready to save you. Yep, you…the one in the storm, the one struggling to pay the bills, the one who wants to do right & feels like they always end up doing wrong. He was, is, and will forever be ready to save you. He’s not playing with your life. He doesn’t get joy out of your torture. He’s not teasing you with death to watch you cry. He’s building a legacy in you. He’s creating something greater inside of you. Greater stewardship. Greater grace. Greater peace. Greater patience. He’s making a greater…you. We typically don’t understand God’s plan until we’re months or years out of a situation, but I dare you to believe that right now, in the middle of your storm, that God is not only ready to save you, but that He’s saving you even now. One day at a time. One victory at a time. He’s saving you from quitting. He’s saving you from destruction. He’s saving your legacy. He’s saving your family. He’s saving your future. You may feel like you’re falling apart, but from personal experience, I can say that you’re actually coming together. In the mean time, turn to a wall, and go straight to the throne for the grace, strength, and peace you need to outlast the storm. Nobody is exempt from trouble, but in Christ, we’re exempt from complete defeat.
Background music: His Record - Vashawn Mitchell & Deserved - Anthony Brown & Group therAPy
Words from the Author
At the end of the day, these posts are the thoughts that run through my mind. These are the lessons I've learned. The doors that I've walked through. The path I've chosen. This is part of what it means to be me. Hopefully, it'll help you be...you. Let's grow together, kay?
Within the first year, Church Decoded was viewed over 15,000 times! FIF...TEEN....THOUSAND!....IN A YEAR! I am SO grateful to everybody that has ever read, shared, and/or liked a blog post. Ya'll have truly blown my mind. Let's keep telling (our lives) His story!