50 Isaiah / Part 1 (14)

Believe, without doubting

Isaiah 38: 1-8
James 1:2-8
T A wonder to Hezekiah

 From Chapter 36-37, we watched the event that God helped Jerusalem from siege of the Assyria armed forces and of the critical situation last week. In there, the words of King Sennacherib (general Rabshakeh speaks) of Assyria which insult God were taken up so much abnormally, they took considerable quantity, most of Chapter 36 and Chapter 37, too. But we have heard that was because God eliminated every difficulty for His own people, and it was going to be finished His salvation. And there is another central subject in Chapter 36-39. It is "Hezekiah and God". Isaiah seems to have stared through it. I divide this into twice and I want to try to investigate it from Chapter 38 this morning, and from Chapter 39, next week.

 "In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, 'Thus says the Lord, "Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live."'"(1) The mysterious event that a shadow of the day backed 10 degrees as a mark of ill healing and the promise to Hezekiah is written down here. We are often fascinated by only a miracle of God, but it seems that a message which Isaiah wants to tell would be put in here.

 Because King Merodach-baladan (he died in BC 701?) of Babylon sent a present in celebration of disease recovery of Hezekiah, "In those days", it seems about BC 702. In a legend, there seems to be that he suffered from a disease before 3rd of Assyria defeat in 37:36, but perhaps there is nearly 1 year interval. Generation specification of Hezekiah becomes slightly complicated with difficulty, but it will not be useless to think about the generation of here. It was BC729 that Hezekiah became an administrator by joint politics from political failure of his father Ahaz. (12 years old?) And he succeeded to the throne as King in BC716, it was his 25 years old. It is thought that after the rule for 29 years, he died BC687 (54 years old?). But, because the Lord who have heard his prayer said "I will add fifteen years to your life.", it is thought that his ill event was before and after BC702, and Jerusalem siege of Sennacherib was about BC701. In other words, the first reason that wished he did not want to die was to worry about invasion of Assyria.

U Prayer and praise of Hezekiah

 "Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall, and prayed to the Lord, and said, 'Remember now, O Lord, I beseech Thee, how I have walked before Thee in truth and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in Thy sight.'"(2-3) And Hezekiah wept bitterly. He is about 39 years old. Even if his disease was very heavy, he would take this declaration of God with "seriousness". And he is troubled. Assyria comes to Palestine, and some countries are falled into that hand. It is certain that they push soldiers to Jerusalem. Besides, at such a state of emergency, successor Manasseh succeeds to the throne to King 12 years old, then there is not yet a successor 15 years ago. Hezekiah will feel responsibility as King still more. He went down from a bed and prayed while crying. When prayer put all character so much, we want to learn it. Because we are attending before God.

 The short, but heartful prayer touched God. There is a message of Isaiah again. "Thus says the Lord, the God of your father David, 'I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city.' And this shall be the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing that He has spoken; 'Behold, I will cause the shadow on the stairway, which has gone down with the sun on the starway of Ahaz, to go back ten steps.'"(5-8) 10 degrees of a shadow of a sundial, this is surprise! This will be that the rotation of the earth have returned 10 degrees. Would a thing such as a pole jump be generated? However, here, I want you have interest share of God that influence life, rather than the wonder.

 Verse 10-20 are paeans of Hezekiah, and they are written in "A writting of Hezekiah king of Judah, after his illness and recovery:"(9). When he faced death, he would taste despair to be so deep. "I am to enter the gates of Sheol; I am to be derived of the rest of my years.(10), and very simple his groan overflows in this paean. Therefore the sorrow turns into the latter half, peace and joy. "Lo, for my own welfare I had great bitterness; It is Thou who hast kept my soul from the pit of nothingness,"(17) "The Lord will surely save me; So we will play my songs on stringed instruments All the days of our life at the house of the Lord."(20) I think about us of the present age, but, we don't know such despair, and never groan. When we don't feel need of help, it seems that we cannot stare at both joy and hope.

V Believe, without doubting

 And Isaiah tells to give glory to an end of this chapter. "'Let them take a cake of figs, and apply it to the boil, that he may recover.' Then Hezekiah had said, 'what is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the lord?'"(21-22) This will be before that a shadow of a sundial returns 10 degrees. "What is the sign?" and "And this shall be the sign to you from the lord.", but as if he wants here to become independent, he brings it last. This is my guess, but Hezekiah went to a shrine of the Lord and prayed twice in Chapter 37. Perhaps he often goes to a shrine, and it seems that it was his pleasure. In the legend which I introduced first, his disease is recovered on the third day, and he goes to a shrine immediately and prays, but it is informed that Assyria force becomes totally destroyed in that evening and raised it. Perhaps, it will depend on a description of Ukings 20:5, "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord.". That his act to go up to the house of the Lord, in other words, the faith of Hezekiah is the subject of this Chapter 38, I hear it.

 And there is one more thing that order becomes consequence. Isaiah brings this event that was first after an article of Jerusalem siege of Assyria. In fact, in Chapter 18-20 descriptions of Ukings which the same article appears, a paean of Hezekiah is omitted. Here is it, "The Lord will surely save me; So we will play my songs on stringed instruments all the days of our life at the house of the Lord."(20). Because it is here with "us", it is said that was sung by worship of a community, but surely it would be at the worship which was in the prophet group that Isaiah sponsors. And perhaps, at the time of editing, Isaiah himself judged this to be indispensable as his message, and it was inserted here. It is because his faith is sung in here. Moreover, that faith is established before illness is healed. Therefore, Isaiah would highlight his faith by bringing 21-22 articles last that Hezekiah looked forward to "go up to the house of the Lord" again. It is felt that is Isaiah's intention which took up an article of recovering a disease of Hezekiah by changing a clause particularly.

 Perhaps Isaiah would think that he must touch posture to God of the people who received His salvation, apart from pity of God who helped Israel from Assyria. Repulse of the Assyria armed forces completely depends on a one-sided work of God. It was faith of Hezekiah and Isaiah that it must be taken well. The salvation is completed through the faith. To be here with "But let him ask in faith without any doubting,"(James 1:6), surely it would be caught with being natural for both Hezekiah and Isaiah that a shadow of a sundial came back 10 degrees. Because it was done by God. We want to repeat our faith in that place.