There are consequences
Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others – ignoring God! – harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life. – Galatians 6:7-8 (The Message)
1 About that time, Hezekiah became deathly ill, and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to visit him. He gave the king this message: This is what the LORD says: “Set your affairs in order, for you are going to die. You will not recover from this illness.”
2 When Hezekiah heard this, he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD,
3 “Remember, O LORD, how I have always been faithful to you and have served you single-mindedly, always doing what pleases you.” Then he broke down and wept bitterly.
4 Then this message came to Isaiah from the LORD:
5 “Go back to Hezekiah and tell him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of your ancestor David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will add fifteen years to your life.’”
The story is about an 18-year-old named Brad living in Dallas, Texas, in 1991. He had stolen the keys to his father’s Mercedes and was out joyriding. He was speeding on Singleton Boulevard headed West as he approached N Westmoreland Rd. The light turned red. He decided to run the light, and when he got into the intersection, he was immediately struck by an 18-wheeler. The Mercedes was picked up and thrown 28 feet in the air. It then rolled over and over another 72 feet before coming to a halt. The car was nearly a total wreck. Brad was alive, but his left leg was broken. The firemen had to use the jaws of life to extract him. He was rushed to the emergency room.
The doctors were able to stabilize and set his leg. But he had to remain in the hospital in traction for several weeks. He had to use crutches for months as his leg healed when he was released.
His poor decisions resulted in a terrible accident. Brad could’ve lost his life. As it turned out, he walked with a limp for the rest of his life. Eventually, his illegal act of running the light was resolved. Sadly, the consequence of the accident, his broken leg, was never completely healed.
REFLECT & PRAY
Job 4:8 My experience shows that those who plant trouble and cultivate evil will harvest the same.
Father thank You that You hear when children of the King pray. As You answer our prayers, help us to make wise decisions.
Hezekiah was the best of the kings of Judah, the southern kingdom. His reputation was excellent.
2 Kings 18:5 Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before or after his time.
Around 700 BC, life was good for Hezekiah. But suddenly, things took a turn for the worst. Hezekiah became terminally ill. The Father sent His servant, the prophet Isaiah to disclose what would happen. The message was short, blunt, and terrifying. “Set your affairs in order, for you are going to die. You will not recover from this illness” (Isaiah 38:1).
Hezekiah was panic-stricken. He turned to the Father in prayer. Weeping bitterly, he reminded the Father of his faithfulness to Him.
But ponder for a moment. Hadn’t the Father just told Hezekiah that he was going to die? Therefore Hezekiah’s death was the Father’s will for his life. But at that moment, Hezekiah was not concerned about the will of God. He was only concerned about himself. I imagine there was a bit of begging, pleading, and bargaining that was not recorded for us.
Remarkably, the Father sent Isaiah again with a revised message. Change in plans! “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will add fifteen years to your life” (Isaiah 38:5).
If we were there, we would have been shouting, “Praise the Lord!”
I identify with Hezekiah. If I were in his situation, I would probably react similarly to the news of my impending death. What about you?
The Father was magnanimous and turned back the clock of Hezekiah’s life. When children of the King are given second chances, what do we do with the gracious opportunities He provides? How we respond reveals what is in our hearts. Hezekiah’s near-death experience and remarkable recovery did not bode well for him. Hezekiah changed for the worst.
2 Chronicles 32:25 But Hezekiah did not respond appropriately to the kindness shown him, and he became proud.
What did Hezekiah do with the privilege of his added years?
The word of Hezekiah’s illness and remarkable recovery because of the Father’s intervention spread far and wide. Nations around Judah had planned to send representatives to pay their last respects at a funeral. But now, they sent them to celebrate the extension of Hezekiah’s life.
Envoys came from as far away as Babylon. Merodach-balagan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters of congratulations to Hezekiah.
Previously, Hezekiah had successfully stood firm against the intimidation of the Assyrians. When Hezekiah received a threatening letter from Sennacherib, the ruler of the Assyrians, hand carried by his representative, Rabshakeh, Hezekiah took her to the temple and laid it out before the Lord in prayer (Isaiah 37). Sadly, Hezekiah could not resist the flattery of the Babylonians brought by Merodach-balagan. Rather than lay out the letter in the temple before the Lord, he showed no caution whatsoever.
Instead, Hezekiah was delighted. He caved. And his brain went into neutral. Undoubtedly, he was puffed up from all the attention he received. He was beaming with self-importance and pride. He welcomed them with open arms and showed off all that he had. There was nothing in his house or all of his realm that he did not make available to his Babylonian guests.
Hezekiah showed them everything in his treasure houses – the silver, the gold, the spices, and the aromatic oils. He also took them to see his armory and showed them everything in his royal treasuries! There was nothing in his palace or kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them (Isaiah 39:2).
It never occurred to Hezekiah for a second to ask the Father how to react to the adulation of his visitors. This was a tragic, deadly mistake. Babylon was no friend of the Jewish people. No doubt, the Babylonians were taking inventory of all the booty that would soon be theirs. On top of that, surely they were taking notes regarding Jerusalem’s fortifications, strengths, and weaknesses.
What happens next is predictable. The Father sent Isaiah, the prophet, to confront Hezekiah. Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah and said, “What did those men want? Where were they from?” Hezekiah replied, “They came from the distant land of Babylon” (Isaiah 39:3)
I can only imagine the expression on Isaiah’s blazing crimson, furious, indignant face. Isaiah proclaimed the Father’s message of judgment with burning, penetrating eyes,
5 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to this message from the LORD of Heaven’s Armies:
6 ‘The time is coming when everything in your palace – all the treasures stored up by your ancestors until now – will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left,’ says the LORD.
7 ‘Some of your very own sons will be taken away into exile. They will become eunuchs who will serve in the palace of Babylon’s king.’”
It’s never a good idea to reveal to your enemy the best way to defeat you and the spoils and wealth that they will acquire when they do.
Hezekiah’s self-serving prayer was graciously answered. The Father gave Hezekiah what he wanted. But collateral damage was horrific. There were nightmarish consequences
“We should thank God regularly that He doesn’t answer many of our prayers. When the Israelites demanded meat in the desert, God gave them what they asked for – but the request ended up killing thousands of them” (Stanley).
Be careful what you pray for! Be careful who you trust; the devil was once an angel.
7 Don’t be misled – you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.
8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will reap everlasting life from the Spirit.
© Dr. H 2022