I want to tell you about a time recorded when God healed. First let me give you a little background.
“Hezekiah son of Ahaz began to rule over Judah in the third year of Hoshea’s reign in Israel. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his ancestor David had done. He removed the pagan shrines, smashed the sacred pillars, and cut down the Asherah poles.” 2 Kings 18:1-4
Hezekiah followed his father Ahaz as king of Judah. Ahaz was not a good guy, he did detestable things in the Lord’s eyes, even sacrificing one of his own sons on the altar. But Hezekiah followed in the footsteps of his grandfather Jotham and his great-grandfather Uzziah. They did was was “pleasing in the Lord’s sight.”
“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. He remained faithful to the Lord in everything, and he carefully obeyed all the commands the Lord had given Moses. So the Lord was with him, and Hezekiah was successful in everything he did. He revolted against the king of Assyria and refused to pay him tribute.” 2 Kings 18:5-7
Hezekiah walked closely with God. He tried really hard to follow all of the rules and the law. He carefully obeyed the Lord and this brought him great success. However, even Hezekiah made mistakes. He was right in not paying tribute to the king of Assyria, however that king did not like it at all. The king of Assyria came to attack Judah. When that happened King Hezekiah first tried to negotiate with him. It never works to try to negotiate with the enemy. King Sennacherib of Assyria just brought on more and more oppression to Judah and in it all he not only threatened Jerusalem, he mocked God. Hezekiah may have made mistakes but he did not forget where his success had come from and he turns back to the Lord to seek His help. King Sennacherib had sent a letter to King Hezekiah mocking God and telling all that he was going to do to Jerusalem.
“After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the Lord’s temple and spread it out before the Lord.” 2 Kings 19:14
When Hezekiah turned back to the Lord, he was very intentional. He took the letter to the temple and he laid it out before the Lord. Then he prayed:
“O Lord, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth. Bend down, O Lord, and listen! Open your eyes, O Lord, and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God……Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O Lord, are God.” 2 Kings 19:15-19
And God did just that. Because of Hezekiah’s repentance and returning to the Lord, God rescued Jerusalem from the King of Assyria and his Army.
“That night the angel of the Lord went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere. Then King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there.” 2 Kings 19:35-36
Talk about deliverance. However this brings us to the next chapter of this story about Hezekiah. All of this was to give you background into Hezekiah and who he was. He was not a perfect man by any means but he loved God and he walked with him. As soon as the Lord delivers Jerusalem from Assyria and you turn to the next chapter in 2 Kings you read this.
“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 Kings 20:1
Hezekiah had received his death sentence. He was told that he would not recover from the illness that he had. I have known many people who have gotten that death sentence. A cancer diagnosis, an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, or some other illness or disease that is ravaging and wasting them away. Hezekiah did what I have known many people to do.
“When Hezekiah heard this, he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, ‘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.” 2 Kings 20:2-3
Hezekiah prayed and this time the Lord decided to heal.
“But before Isaiah had left the middle courtyard, this message came to him from the Lord: ‘Go back to Hezekiah, the leader of my people. 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 heal you, and three days from now you will get out of bed and go to the Temple of the Lord. I will add fifteen years to your life.” 2 Kings 20:4-6
And He did just that. Hezekiah did gain fifteen years. I wish I could tell you he did everything perfectly after that, but scripture does record some grave mistakes that Hezekiah made. I also wish I could tell you that this means that God will always heal when the prayers are fervent. I can’t I have known too many good, Godly people who prayed just as hard and God chose not to heal. But the fact is, God CAN heal. That is what gives me hope in this story.
Something I have learned as I have gotten older and dealt with the everyday aches and pains of getting older is this, getting older is a privilege not extended to all. I have seen miraculous prayers of healing and I have seen those who prayed hard and God still chose to heal in heaven. But life is a gift and I for one will choose to walk it out with Him by my side. My Jehovah-Rapha, my healer.