This study, taught by pastor Barry Forder at our Sunday morning service on Sunday 4th October 2015 is part of our series of studies through the book of Second Kings – the 12th book in the Bible.
In this verse by verse study of chapter 20 we continue looking at the life of King Hezekiah, a king who “did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did” (2 Kings 18:3).
The events of this chapter occur at the same time as the previous chapter, i.e. with the Assyrian army surrounding Jerusalem, and king Hezekiah being told to surrender or be defeated. As if the Assyrian threat were not enough, we now find that Hezekiah falls sick and Isaiah the prophet comes to him with some bad news! “You shall die and not live!” (Prophets are not usually known for their tact and diplomacy!)
Yet one again this godly king doesn’t pout or blame God for being unfair, but turns his face toward his beloved Jerusalem (the Hebrew word translated ‘wall’ also means ‘town’), and looks toward the wall of the city, no doubt wondering what will become of his people if he were to die? Would the Assyrians use this as their opportunity to strike? Would Jerusalem fall to these blaspheming heathens? As Hezekiah had done when faced with every other trial so far, once again he goes straight to the LORD!
Before Isaiah has even left the courtyard God sends him back to the king with a new message. “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” (2 Kings 20:5). Isaiah also tells the king that God will add 15 years to his life!
Probably somewhat confused by all this – he has now had two contrasting messages from Isaiah in the last 5 minutes! – Hezekiah asks for a sign, as confirmation that this is Isaiah’s final word on the matter! The sign that is promised is for the shadow on the ‘dial of Ahaz’ to move backward! There are books written about this phenomenon, but there may be a clear and simple answer found within the text itself!
May you be blessed and challenged as you listen to this study.
You can listen to the audio on this web page, or save it for later listening. The PowerPoint slides in PDF format are also available for download.