I Have Been Faithful
The Bad News
A Historic Interlude: Isaiah 36–39
In these chapters of historical narrative Isaiah told of an Assyrian invasion of Judah that swept up to the very walls of Jerusalem. But Judah had a godly king, Hezekiah, who appealed immediately to God. God responded to Hezekiah’s prayer. He struck the Assyrian army before it could reach Jerusalem. The city was saved, and during the life of Hezekiah, Judah knew peace.
It cannot be certainly determined what was the nature of Hezekiah’s sickness. Many have inferred from הַשְּׁחִין ver. 21; 2 Kings 20:7, that he had the plague, and have associated this with the plague in the Assyrian camp.
Reminding the Lord of his faithful deeds, the king pled for his life. The Lord decided to give Hezekiah fifteen more years of life and also promised He would protect Jerusalem from the Assyrians. In response to Hezekiah’s request for a confirming sign, the Lord refracted the sun’s rays so that the shadow they cast was reversed.
perfect—sincere; not absolutely perfect, but aiming towards it (Mt 5:45); single-minded in walking as in the presence of God (Ge 17:1).The letter of the Old Testament legal righteousness was, however, a standard very much below the spirit of the law as unfolded by Christ (Mt 5:20–48; 2 Co 3:6, 14, 17).
wept sore—JOSEPHUS says, the reason why he wept so sorely was that being childless, he was leaving the kingdom without a successor. How often our wishes, when gratified, prove curses! Hezekiah lived to have a son; that son was the idolater Manasseh, the chief cause of God’s wrath against Judah, and of the overthrow of the kingdom (2 Ki 23:26, 27).
4. In 2 Ki 20:4, the quickness of God’s answer to the prayer is marked, “afore Isaiah had gone out into the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him”; that is, before he had left Hezekiah, or at least when he had just left him, and Hezekiah was in the act of praying after having heard God’s message by Isaiah (compare Is 65:24; Ps 32:5; Da 9:21).
5. God of David thy father—God remembers the covenant with the father to the children (Ex 20:5; Ps 89:28, 29).
In response to the Lord’s merciful deliverance, Hezekiah offered a song of thanksgiving, in which he recalled his time of need, acknowledged the Lord’s intervention, and promised to praise Him all his days.
This account has a twofold purpose. First, Hezekiah serves as an example to God’s people of dependence on the Lord in the midst of a crisis. Second, Hezekiah’s recovery was representative of the nation’s future. Just as the Lord healed Hezekiah and granted him additional years, so He would give Judah and Jerusalem a new lease on life by miraculously removing the Assyrian threat. Nevertheless, like Hezekiah’s briefly extended life, so Judah’s and Jerusalem’s days remained numbered.