Monday, July 28, 2008

Isaiah 38: A plea and an answer

This chapter continues the narrative of Hezekiah.  He is very sick and Isaiah confronts him with his impending death and bids him set his house in order.  Hezekiah immediately begins a very plaintive prayer, weeping and asking the Lord to remember his faithfulness.    In answer, the Lord reveals to Isaiah that Hezekiah will live another 15 years and that Jerusalem will survive, and he even promises a sign to assure Hezekiah that this will happen.  The remainder of the chapter is a psalm of Hezekiah, praising God for his miraculous delivery.

To me, this is an excellent lesson and testimony on the effectiveness of sincere prayer.   The first point to notice is the desire of Hezekiah’s heart.   He was not sad about dying because he was afraid of death, or for the missing of the joys and pleasures of this life.  He was deeply sad because he loved to serve the Lord and he didn’t want to be released from his calling.   The sore weeping and pleading show the magnitude of this desire.  The fact that he was willing to entreat the Lord in this manner, presumably in the presence of Isaiah, shows the incredible sincerity and faith possessed by Hezekiah.    Truly the Lord grants unto the children of men according to their desires.

The next point is that even though a prophet came to Hezekiah and foretold his imminent demise, Hezekiah still asked for a reprieve and he got it!  This kind of thing can be found throughout the scriptures.  Some notable examples are Abraham’s pleading for Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18,  Enos’ request for the salvation of the Lamanites in The Book of Enos, and the sealing powers granted to Elijah, Nephi, and others.  It appears that in some instances, the Lord is ready to do one thing, but because of the pleadings of his righteous children, he does another.   It fascinates me how intertwined the Lord’s purposes are with the desires and wills of his own children.  As a father myself, I should take note!




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