This is such an interesting and instructive portion for us to consider.  Let’s begin by reading 2 Kings 20:1, “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.”  How many of us get a warning from the Lord that our days left on earth are few?  Hezekiah, when very sick, was informed by Isaiah with a message from the Lord.  He would not be healed, but would soon be taken in death.  He was instructed to ‘set thine house in order.’  We should consider the words of the Lord to be a warning, not a prophesy.

Perhaps it is better that we NOT know that our death is impending.  This faithful king became very distraught with the news of his imminent death.  In a plea for his life, Hezekiah reminds the Lord in verse 3, “I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.”  Maybe you and I would do the same thing if we knew that our death was positively near.  He reminds the Lord of his faithfulness and pure heart.  In verses 4-6, we learn that the Lord had heard Hezekiah’s prayer and would grant him 15 additional years to live.  Also, the Lord would grant him a great victory over his enemies.

This news was too incredible to believe so Hezekiah asked the Lord for a sign.  In those days, seeking a sign from was not necessarily an unfaithful thing to do.  We read in Isaiah 7:11, “Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.”  When Hezekiah asked about the sign, he was given an option by Isaiah.  Verse 9 says, “And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he hath spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees?”  Hezekiah considered it an easy thing if the Lord would hasten the hours and move the shadow of the sundial forward by 10 degrees.  If, however, the Lord would cause the shadown to go BACKWARDS by 10 degrees, that would be a significant sign from the Lord concerning His promise to extend Hezekiah’s life by 15 years.  As impossible as it may sound, we read in verse 11 that the Lord, “…brought the shadow ten degrees backward…”  We could spend the rest of our lives arguing this point, or we could spend countless hours trying to explain how this could happen.  As people of faith, may we simply accept what the Word of God says and realize that the Lord caused time to reverse, thus moving the shadow of the sundial backwards.

So, was it a blessing for Hezekiah to be able to live 15 additional years?  First we see in verses 12-13, that Hezekiah weakened his house by showing all his riches to his enemy.  Because of that, Isaiah told him in verses 14-18 that, “all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD.”  In his actions, Hezekiah had, in effect, ‘cast his pearls before the swine’, by exhibiting to his enemy the precious blessings he had received from the Lord.  He acted in pride and incurred the wrath of God upon him and the Lord’s people as a result of that pride.

We learn in verse 21 that Hezekiah died “and Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.”  Let’s now read 2 Kings 21:1, “Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign…”  Notice that Manasseh was 12 years old when he began to reign.  That means that he was a product of Hezekiah’s extended years.  What kind of king was Manasseh?  Verse 2 tells us, “And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.”

How much better it would have been if Hezekiah had just accepted his impending death as part of the perfect will of God.  How good it would have been if he could have said as Job did in Job 1:21, “And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”  May we all learn that even when the will of God seems contrary to our way of thinking, His will is perfect and is ALWAYS the right thing to do.  (191.10)