Second Kings 20 Commentary
The audacity of prayer. This would easily be a fitting title to this chapter. The LORD sends the prophet Isaiah to announce Hezekiah’s death. But Hezekiah knows how to react when a crisis hits. He faces the LORD and asks to be forgiven on the basis that his heart had been true and steady before the LORD. Could the LORD remember his righteousness?
Yes. And Hezekiah is forgiven. Fifteen more years are added to his life. That’s all his righteousness could achieve. We are reminded of another righteousness in the New Testament. It can achieve immortality on behalf of the saint. It is the righteousness of the LORD Jesus Christ. A more appropriate title to the chapter would be, “The Audacity of Righteousness.”
Regardless, Hezekiah had to pray. It is only by prayer that the saint can audaciously define his own destiny. Prayer can define the shape of your day. Men always ought to pray and not lose heart. Don’t let your tears flow to the ground. Cast your burdens upon the LORD. Like Hezekiah, know where to turn when a crisis hits.
We don’t have to speculate about the presence of the prophet Isaiah at the palace, and about his message of doom for the king. We equally don’t have to guess what the LORD means by the statement that King Hezekiah has to put his house in order. The same account in the Book of Chronicles gives us more details. Pride had engrossed Hezekiah’s heart. Pride is the sin of the righteous and the successful. By the grace of the LORD, Hezekiah was very successful.
Pride is another version of idolatry. It replaces the LORD in a man’s heart. It is no longer about the LORD but about my intelligence, my wisdom, or even my righteousness. God forbid!
We can see how Hezekiah shows off his splendor to the foreign envoys from Babylon. What pride can do! This wasn’t a mere commercial and trade fair, or more appropriately for the recent times, an ‘expo’. It was pride. The saint must know when he is simply repackaging pride. God forbid.
When the prophet confronted Hezekiah over his one-man ‘expo’, the king was simply happy that the judgment was postponed beyond his own lifetime. Pride has a way to make a man self-centered. Hezekiah has ably represented all of us reading these lines. Again, God forbid.
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