Isaiah 39 Commentary
Chapter 39 concludes what many consider as volume 1 of Isaiah. It is a logical partition that deals with pre-exile Jerusalem. The last 4 chapters of this logical partition place Isaiah right in the mix of events during the reign of Hezekiah.
After the king’s recovery from a serious illness, envoys from Babylon show up on a diplomatic mission. Why not? Let them see what King Hezekiah is made of. He is a worthy partner! His weight is in gold. It’s not a mistake to befriend him. Hezekiah shows them everything he has – the storehouses, armory, and treasures.
But what fire Hezekiah brings on his head! We all feel for him – being like-minded. That’s how we structure our profiles. The world must see it. Pride is so natural to a man that you think it is second nature. But again, what fire this brings on our heads!
Hezekiah’s one-man expo does more damage to his standing with the LORD than does any good at all. The prophet is sent to the king with a sharp rebuke from the LORD. Judah will eventually be scattered but it won’t happen because of Hezekiah’s indiscretion here. But the prophet seems to deliver a message that compares Hezekiah’s sin with Judah’s sin. Judah’s pride has excluded the LORD God from her existence. So exile it is.
Chapter 39 announces Judah’s exile in no uncertain terms. But it won’t happen in Hezekiah’s time. The king is happy. Strange. I think we understand. He was resigned to punishment because of his indiscretion but the LORD appears to postpone the punishment until after Hezekiah’s death.
Pride is the sin of the successful, the powerful, and the blessed.
It’s not exactly the right place for it but who wouldn’t think of Hezekiah’s son who eventually suffered for Hezekiah’s sin! When the prophet visits, and when the LORD has opened your eyes to see your own uncleanliness, won’t you be happy that the Son suffered instead of you?
Even for good people like Hezekiah, there is pride; there is uncleanliness; there is sin. The LORD Jesus Christ came and died for such individuals who would otherwise still get punished just like hardcore sinners. So the gospel remains valuable for such individuals – accepting the rule of Immanuel in their lives.
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