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sennacherib-defeatedIn 2 Kings 20 Hezekiah was told by Isaiah that he was going to die. The Lord revealed it to the prophet that the king was going to die and be replaced by his son. But look at Hezekiah’s response. It is recorded for us in 2 Kings 20:1-11:

In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.’” 2 Then he turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the Lord, saying, 3 “Remember now, O Lord, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4 And it happened, before Isaiah had gone out into the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 5 “Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord. 6 And I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake, and for the sake of My servant David.”’” 7 Then Isaiah said, “Take a lump of figs.” So they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered. 8 And Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What is the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the Lord the third day?” 9 Then Isaiah said, “This is the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing which He has spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees or go backward ten degrees?” 10 And Hezekiah answered, “It is an easy thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees; no, but let the shadow go backward ten degrees.” 11 So Isaiah the prophet cried out to the Lord, and He brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down on the sundial of Ahaz.”

When he received the word that he was going to die he did not beg to extend his reign as king. He did not bargain with God promising to do whatever God wanted if He would just let him live. When he turned to the Lord this is what he prayed, “Remember how I have walked before You.” He simply wanted to remind the Lord all that he had done to please God. What was Hezekiah doing? He was preparing to meet God. He had heard the sure Word of God from the Prophet Isaiah that he was going to die and he accepted that as a Word from God and he prayed that the Lord would remember all that he had done. He humbly and meekly prayed and said, “I have walked before you in truth with a loyal heart, I have done what was good in your sight,” and he wept.

As he prayed this simple prayer and began to weep while waiting to meet his Lord, verse 4 says, “it happened, before Isaiah had gone out into the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 5 “Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord. 6 And I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake, and for the sake of My servant David.”’”” 7 Then Isaiah said, “Take a lump of figs.” So they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered. 8 And Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What is the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the Lord the third day?” 9 Then Isaiah said, “This is the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing which He has spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees or go backward ten degrees?” 10 And Hezekiah answered, “It is an easy thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees; no, but let the shadow go backward ten degrees.” 11 So Isaiah the prophet cried out to the Lord, and He brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down on the sundial of Ahaz. All of that explains what happened. The Assyrians were about to attack, Hezekiah was afraid of losing the kingdom. He knew that his son, Manasseh, was wicked. And in the midst of preparing for what was about to happen, he gets sick with some kind of a boil, a malady, and Isaiah the prophet tells him that he is going to die. He prepares to meet God, he turns to the wall, he prays reminding God of his loyalty, of his walking and seeking to please God with all of his heart, and he cries – he weeps – and God stops Isaiah and sends him back to Hezekiah with word that in 3 days he is going to be healed. In 3 days he would be well enough to be at the Temple praying for a deliverance from the Assyrians.

As this happened Sennacherib came leading the Assyrian forces to attack, Hezekiah knew what he was facing, and he thought he was going to die, and when he prayed God healed him. And Isaiah gave him a sign – to prove that God’s Word was true and sure, the sundial was going to move. Now sundials are not like watches. The shadow that tells the time is based on the shadow cast by the location of the sun in the sky. How do you make the shadow on a sundial move? The earth has to rotate and move in its orbit around the sun. So Hezekiah, when given a choice, do you want the sundial to go forward or backward 10 degrees, he wants it to go backward 10 degrees. That is 40 minutes of time! That is back to the future!

As sure as God’s Word is true Hezekiah was healed, and in 3 days he was at the Temple and prayed before God as the Assyrian forces were preparing to attack, and an Angel of the Lord went out into the Assyrians camp that night and 185,000 Assyrian soldiers died. The Assyrians fled in terror.

Hezekiah was healed and given 15 more years to reign and at his death Manasseh became king and he proved to be one of the most wicked kings to rule in Judah. In 2 Chronicles 33 that Manasseh was 12 years old when he became king, and he reigned 55 years in Jerusalem. Looking at the text, he was 12 years old when Hezekiah was told that he was going to die, and when his life was extended Hezekiah elevated his son to be co-regent with him. So Manasseh saw this godly king rule and assisted with his rule as co-regent for 15 years. From 12 to 27 years of age he saw how it should be done. After Hezekiah’s death, Manasseh reigned on his own for 40 more years.

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