Hezekiah's Sickness and Healing
John G. Lake
Our lesson today is the story of Hezekiah’s sickness and healing. The story is told in three different places in the Scriptures. In Second Kings 20, we read one of the accounts.
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.’”
Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the Lord, saying, “I beseech thee, O Lord, remember how I have walked before thee in truth and in ta perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight.” And Hezekiah wept sore…
And afore Isaiah had gone out into the middle court the word of the Lord came to him saying, “Turn again and tell Hezekiah … Thus saith the Lord … ‘I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tear: behold I will heal the’” Verses 1-5.
How quickly his cry reached heaven! How speedily god sent the answer! God has His eye on us hasn’t He? We are inclined to feel some times that by some spiritual telephonic communication the Lord hears our prayer, but we forget that He sees our tears also. What a wonderful lesson is contained in that last verse. After he was healed he was to go up to the house of the Lord and give thanks. God was instructing him. A whole lot of folks have taken their healing like a dog or an animal and have run off with it. They have never even taken pains to give thanks in “The house of the Lord.” It betokens a low state of mind and an ungrateful state of soul. Lack of gratitude is more repellent. It bespeaks a brutish person. Beloved, we need in these sodden days, when it seem as though the light of the Spirit has almost gone out, to be careful and by the Grace of God keep in harmony with the Spirit of faith in God, and show our gratitude to Him.
It was just like our Father to give more than we asked for. We read later that the Assyrians came with a vast army, and of the marvelous deliverance by the Lord through His power. God kept His Word.
I want to call your attention to Hezekiah’s prayer as recorded in Isaiah 38. He is recounting the things that went on in his soul while that battle for his life rages.
“The writings of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick, and was recovered of his sickness: I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave: I am deprived of the residue of my years. I said, I shall not see the Lord... in the land of the living. I shall behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world. Mine age is departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd’s tent: I have cut off like a weaver my life: he will cut me off with pining sickness.” Isaiah 38:9-12.
There are tremendous lessons associated with these simple statements. You go back in his life and you will see that through disobedience to God, sickness had come upon him, and he was now confessing his sin. He is not blaming God for it, but himself. That is the spirit of confession. “I have cut off like a weaver my life … O Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me.”
Sometimes we sing, “when we get to the end of the way.” There is a “getting to the end of the way” with ourselves, or an end to ourselves and our self-effort, where in the fullness of our hearts we cry, “LORD UNDERTAKE FOR ME.” Sometimes in our strength and the inspiration of faith that is in our soul, we put up a great battle. Again and again I have faced death, and I have won by sheer persistence of tenacious faith. But there came an occasion when I had no strength to pray. That was when I had the flu. I went down into very death until my toenails turned black, and death proceeded up my body until it reached my abdomen. My fingers died, my arms, my shoulders died. Death struck the top of my head and came down through me to my heart. My brain was so weak I could scarcely think, let alone pray.
My wife was worn out, and had been persuaded to sleep downstairs. Everybody was worn out caring for the sick through the epidemic. My nurse, Mrs. Mero, sat down in a rocking chair and went sound asleep. I wanted to be alone with God, so I was glad she was asleep. After awhile it got to the place where I could scarcely think. I could not speak a prayer, but I just thought, “Lord I am too weak to pray. I am just going to cuddle down in your arms. It is all right with me Lord, but I it really time to go home I am ready, but Lord, I do not believe it is. I have not begun to do the things that my heart has been asking to do in life.”
And as I lay there perfectly still, after about thirty minutes, I heard the Voice of God speak to my soul. The Voice was rebuking the disease. “Thus far shalt thou go and no farther.” And I rose to health from that minute.
You know there are death bed resolutions as well as death bed repentances. Hezekiah, in his prayer for healing had promised the Lord, “I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul.” Verse 15. I wonder how many like Hezekiah, have sworn to “walk softly” before God and then have forgotten? It reminds me of the lines “The devil was sick, the devil a saint would be. The devil was well, the devil a saint was he.” The sad record is that Hezekiah did not keep his vow. We read in 2 Chronicles 32:24-26: “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. Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem so that the wrath of the Lord came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.”
After wrath threatened, then he proceeded to humble himself. Lots of folks do that. It is better to learn to walk at the feet of the Lord, so that wrath does not come at all. What a call there is in this lesson to that humbleness of walk before the Eternal God, through whom we receive blessing.
There is another lesson, the importance of a healing in God’s sight, which seems to me the deepest and most powerful in all this story. When Isaiah came to the bedside to tell him what the Lord had said, that he would not die but live, and that the Lord would add fifteen years to his life, Hezekiah said, “What shall be the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up into the house of the Lord the third day?” The answer was given that the shadow should return backward on the sun-dial ten degrees. Verse 8-11.
Think of the magnitude of the thin that Isaiah the prophet was proposing—the fact that the shadow should return backward ten degrees. There is only one other incident of this order in all the Word of God. It was when Joshua prayed, and the sun stood still, and the moon was stayed during the progress of one of their battles, until they had won that battle. See Joshua 10-12,13.
This incident of the sign given to Hezekiah struck me with new force today. Mrs. Lake read this story as we rode along the highway between Eugene and Portland. She said, “Is it not strange that there should be such a tremendous sign given for a healing?” It would naturally seem as if the healing were an insignificant matter compared to the sign that the prophet gave as an assurance of the healing.
Beloved, does it not prove that in the sight of God, the king’s healing, or the healing of anyone else, is as great and wonderful in the mind of God as the moving of the sun backward ten degrees, or the staying of the sun and the moon in the Valley of Ajalon? It required the same action of the mind of God to bless Hezekiah and heal him as it did to turn the sun back and record it on the sun dial.
Dear ones, I wonder if we are not in the habit of just accepting the wonderful healing of God, and running off with them as though we had a toy of some kind, and as though the Eternal God of the universe had not taken time and pains to heal us? Oh how we forget that these are matters of life and death. So important is our healing in the mind of God that He would stop the revolution of a world if necessary to accomplish it.
Yesterday afternoon I went out with a group of ministers to pray for some sick folks around the city. In one home we ministered to a whole household. Some members of the family had recently died, several others were confirmed invalids. It made my soul sick. I said to one of the ministers, “Such a sight as this reveals our present-day Christianity as a helpless, wretched force. What would happen if Jesus Christ came into this house? He would show us what Christianity is by healing this family. Is it not time that we came out of our wretched theological debates, and get hold of the Eternal God, and called the power of Christ down upon a house like this?” The house was afflicted with a spirit of infirmity. The whole family was in the same condition. It is only the Eternal God and His eternal power that will blast the curse of sickness from the homes of people, cast it out and set mankind free.
Think of five or six splendid ministers sitting around in a town debating all kinds of little quibblings, such as WILL He heal this way, or will He heal that way, or will He heal at all?” Beloved, for the sake of a dying suffering world, pay the price, get God’s power, and set prisoners free!
Think of Jesus Christ coming to the world after these hundreds of years and finding the church asleep and the people dying in the toils of suffering! I wonder if we appreciate the light of God that has come to us? I wonder if we appreciate what it means to have homes where there is health, and where there is holiness?
Hezekiah’s sickness was “UNTO DEATH.” And so God in His love sent the prophet to him saying, “Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.” You may have brought upon yourself a tremendous curse just like Hezekiah did. For his own sin, according to his own confession, was the cause of his calamity. What is your sin? Is it carelessness and inactivity of the soul, that peculiar lethargic condition that steals over the heart of the Christian, until something drastic comes along to wake him up. So God said, “Thou shalt die and not live.” This is the law of sin. That is the law of circumstance.
According to every know law, he would die. God knew it, God wanted him to be ready. It was not a decree of God. He was not killing him or giving him a sickness. That was the development that came from sin. God has a care for those we leave behind. Hezekiah had a kingdom to be continued when he was gone.
I want to tell you, when you begin to analyze the subject of sickness, you will discover that usually the difficulty is that there is sin behind it. Not necessarily that there is an act of sin or some personal sin, but more likely the laziness of our soul, or the inactivity of our spirit, or neglect of God’s Word, or neglect of faith and love and prayer. These are the things that usually underlie and generate difficulties in men’s lives.
Next, God will heal you when you repent and confess your sin, and your need of Him. Now God loves to answer prayer. How God loves an honest repentance. How God loves that soul that is big enough to pour out his heart in prayer, and pour out his tears with it! We do not see enough of tears these days. I was talking to a brother about the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, and I said, “One of the things we need is a baptism of tears.” A baptism of tears for the lethargic state of our life, and the curse our souls have tolerated. My how the church needs to confess!
Have you been weeping over your sins lately, or over your sicknesses? Bless God if you have, the Lord has heard your prayers, He has seen your tears.
When we get sick, the trouble is we do not get to the place of tears. Usually before Christians get halfway there, they are ready to run to the hospital and get something cut out. Let the operation take place in the head and the heart, and the disease will disappear. Bless God. Add a few tears to your prayers and see if it will not bring the desire results from heaven. I cannot remember a circumstance when I prayed for a soul that was broken in spirit and bathed in tears, that was not healed. It is beautiful to see the harness of men’s nature dissolve in tears, when they are the tears of true repentance unto God.
I was preaching in Chicago on one occasion when a dear woman came to the altar. She told me she had been seeking healing for seven years. She had been everywhere. She had been prayed for dozens of times. I watched her for awhile but I did not offer to pray for her. Brother Fockler and I strolled off after the meeting. He said, “Lake, you did not pray for that woman.” I said, “I felt in my soul it would be a good thing to leave her alone for awhile.” After an hour or so we came back, and that poor soul was still kneeling there. But the tears were flowing until there was a puddle upon the floor. The next meeting was about to begin, but as I took up my hymn book I saw that poor should and I said, “Brother Fockler come on, we are going to pray for her now.” We laid hands upon her head, and as we did, the fire of God struck her; that was the end of her trouble forever. She was instantly healed.
Beloved, mix your tears with your prayers when you come to God. If your prayers are deep enough in your spirit, so that they bring forth tears, bless God, it means God is finding a way down into your life. God has a difficult time getting the rubbish cleared out of our mind, out of our heart, and getting us down into the solid of our life.
How many of you have confessed your sin to God who have come for healing? How many of you have really asked God to save you out of your sins and meant it? How many of you have really put yourself on God’s altar? That is what get the pathway clear. God’s chariot will come down the road when the stones are taken away. Blessed be God.