GOD WILL MOVE HEAVEN AND EARTH
by John Penn
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"In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, "Thus says the LORD: Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover." Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD:3 "Remember now, O LORD, I implore you, how I have walked before you in faithfulness with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight." Hezekiah
wept bitterly.4 Before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him:5 "Turn back, and say to Hezekiah prince of my people, Thus says the LORD, the God of your ancestor David: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; indeed, I will heal you; on the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD. 6 "I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David's sake." 7 Then Isaiah said, "Bring a lump of figs. Let them take it and apply it to the boil, so that he may recover." Hezekiah said to Isaiah, "What shall be the sign that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the LORD on the third day?" 9 Isaiah said, "This is the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he has promised: the shadow has now advanced ten intervals; shall it retreat ten intervals?" 10 Hezekiah answered, "It is normal for
the shadow to lengthen ten intervals; rather let the shadow retreat ten intervals. 11 The prophet Isaiah cried to the LORD; and he brought the shadow back the ten intervals, by which
the sun had declined on the dial of Ahaz" (2 Kings 2:1-11; Isaiah 38:1-8).
The healing of Hezekiah demonstrates the awesomeness and depth of God's love for humankind. God's love for us is so awesome, that it boggles the mind. Just when we think we have God all figured out, God shows us how deep and wide is his love. God's love is amazing!
The prophet Isaiah was sent by God, to tell Hezekiah to put his affairs in order, because he would die and not recover from his illness. But instead, he turns his face to the wall and prays to God, reminding God how faithfully he had tried to walk before God, serving God with wholehearted devotion. Hezekiah wept bitterly before God.
Before Hezekiah had completed his prayer and the prophet had left the middle of the court, the word of God was given to Isaiah. "Turn back, and say to Hezekiah prince of my people, Thus says the LORD, the God of your ancestor David: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; indeed, I will heal you; on the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD. 6 "I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David's sake." 7 Then Isaiah said, "Bring a lump of figs. Let them take it and apply it to the boil, so that he may recover."
There are several significant reasons why the healing of Hezekiah is so amazing. First, it demonstrates the importance and power of personal prayer. People who are sick often seek out the prayers of other believers, as if their prayers won't be heard by God. They seem to lack the faith or confidence that they can pray for themselves, or that their prayers will be heard. They forget that God will hear the prayers of one of his children, before hearing the prayers of a friend or servant.
They seem to lack the faith or confidence that they can pray for themselves, or that their prayers are important to God. They forget that God will hear the prayers of one of his children, before hearing the prayers of a friend or servant. Jesus told the disciples on several occasions that they could pray to the Father for what they needed. On one occasion Jesus says, "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7:11). At another time, Jesus makes this references to prayer, "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son" (John 14:13). On one other occasion Jesus has this to say, And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you" (John 16:23).
Jesus wants us not only to be fruitful in our spiritual life, but he also wants us to be fruitful in our prayer life, "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you" (John 15:16). Still, on another time, Jesus encourages the disciples to be persistent in praying for what they needed, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened" (Matthew 7:7-8).
Finally, Paul reminds us that when we don't know how to pray or what to pray for, the Holy Spirit will intercede for us, "And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for Godís people in accordance with the will of God" (Romans 8:27).
This is not to minimize James instructions to those who are sick--to call on the elders of the church, "...(James 5:14-15). Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up"., to anoint and pray for them. This is not to suggest that there is not power in numbers. This is not to dismiss Jesus' teaching, where he says: "...if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven" (Matthew 18:19). Nor is it to play down Paul's teaching to bear one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2).
The goal is to challenge faith in those who may not believe God hears their prayers; and also to affirm the importance and power of personal prayer. James reminds us that, "The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops" (James 5:16:18).
This healing story reveals a side of God that blows our mind. God moves heaven and earth to prove his promise to Hezekiah, that he would be healed in three days. Here, we see, through this historic event, another side of God's miraculous power. God seems to be willing to reveal His mighty power, personally, to those who walk before God and worship Him in faithfulness. This miracle of moving the shadow of the sun back ten steps on the sundial is a testimony to both God's faithfulness and love for Hezekiah and the people of Judah.
King Hezekiah discovered the depth and wideness of God's love, as he was healed, at the point of death. He learned to what extent God would go to, in order to prove that God is a promise keeper.
What can we learn from the healing of Hezekiah? First, those who have a personal relationship with God, have the assurance of God's healing grace, because healing and salvation are inseparable. What this means, is that healing is rooted in God's love. Healing is in the atonement. Healing is a part of the believer's spiritual DNA. Although healing is available to all, it is only an expectation of those who have turned from sin to the saving grace of God.
Second, Hezekiah teaches us the importance of having a personal relationship with God. He knows from his own personal relationship with God, how God has dealt with Israel in the past. This informs his faith for God's help in the future. Hezekiah draws from his own past personal experiences and knows God to be faithful and trustworthy. He reminds God of his devotion and wholehearted walk before God in the past and looks forward to going up to the house of worship when he has been made well. This healing story reminds us that God rewards active faith.
We know that believers are not exempt from suffering and physical illness. Believers also know that when we call on the name of the Lord our God, help and healing are always available to us. Although God heals both sinners and saints alike, only believers have the expectation that God is a present help in the time of trouble.
We further learn from this healing event that when we are restored to health, we are to look forward to worshiping again in the house of the Lord, giving God thanks and praise for healing us. Our healing may have come through medical intervention, but we give thanks to God because all healing comes from God alone. Doctors and the medical community are the care-givers, but God is the only cure-giver.
Even on his sickbed, Hezekiah has a desire to worship the One, true God, which reveals the depth of his love and reverence for God. If our suffering and ill-health turn us away from God, this is a sign that our relation with God is suspect. We know both from experience and the word of God, that God will never leave or forsake us. God is a very present help in the time of trouble. The apostle Paul tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of God, in Christ Jesus. "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" ( Roman 8:28).
God heals Hezekiah so that he will be able to fulfill his destiny as the king of Judah. God still had work for Hezekiah to do. He was one of Judah's better kings, because he did what was right before God. We can ask God to heal us so that we might fulfill the call God has upon our life. This is a noble reason to be made whole.
In , King David gives us a new perspective that enables us to give thanks to God in the midst of a life-threatening illness. David says: "O Lord my God, I called (prayed) to you for help, and you healed me. O Lord, you brought me up from the grave; and spared me from going down into the pit."
When you have time to read and study the whole account of the healing of Hezekiah, you will discover how awesome is God's love for us. God caused the sun to move backward ten steps on the sundial, to prove to Hezekiah that he would be healed in three days, as God had promised. God will move heaven and earth to prove his love for you and me.
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