Isaiah 38:16, 17 - Vital Lessons From Hezekiah's Illness and Recovery.

Isaiah 38:16-17 (NLT) Lord, your discipline is good, for it 
leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! 
17 Yes, this anguish was good for me, for you have rescued me from 
death and forgiven all my sins.  


"I have heard your prayer" Isa. 38:1-22. God is master of the 
fate of nations. But is this sovereign God concerned with the fate of 
Isaiah now included a report of Hezekiah's struggle with a fatal 
illness. The heartbroken king begged God for added years of life, 
pleading that "I have walked before You faithfully and with wholehearted 
devotion." God answered this prayer, and promised Hezekiah 15 added years. 
The story is placed here in part because it shows that God is 
concerned with each person. But more importantly, it shows that the plea 
of a righteous person can turn aside divine judgment, even after 
that judgment has been announced (cf. v. 1). 
This has been one of the major themes of Isaiah 1-35. Despite 
Israel's sin, God had called again and again for spiritual renewal. 
Despite predictions of judgment, a heartfelt return to the Lord would 
bring blessing instead. Hezekiah, Judah's righteous king, showed the 
way for his whole land. [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary re 38] 


When Hezekiah found physical life and healing, he also found 
spiritual restoration. [SDA Commentary] 

Physical and spiritual healing are sometimes linked together 
(see 53:4-5). [NIV SB] 

The forgiveness of sin and healing are two different aspects of 
God's salvation (53:5; Matt. 8:14-17; Luke 5:17-26). Apparently 
Hezekiah's poor health was connected to his sin. Yet not all sickness is 
due to one's own sin (see Job 42:7-11; John 9:2, 3). [Nelson SB] 

People need to recognize that all life is a gift from God and 
should not be taken for granted. Illness may be a punishment for sin as 
here but is not necessarily so. See Job 1:1-2:10. Whatever the case, 
we need to learn from illness the great meaning of life and seek to 
find how God is working in our illness. [Disciple SB] 


When God forgives our sins, He puts them behind His back. This 
is a human way of saying God does not see our sins any more. 
Forgiveness of sin and recovery from mortal illness are often two sides of 
the same experience of God's saving power. [Disciple SB] 

God not only puts our sins out of sight; he also puts them out 
of reach (Mic 7:19; Ps 103:12), out of mind (Jer 31:34) and out of 
existence (Isa 43:25; 44:22; Ps 51:1, 9; Ac 3:19). [NIV SB] 


In the prime of life (v. 10), Hezekiah contracted a boil (v. 21) 
that so infected his body that he was told he would die (v. 1). All 
this happened before the events of chapters 36 and 37 (v. 6), but 
Hezekiah knew Assyria was coming. What a predicament to be in! 
The king's prayer was certainly a normal response. After all, 
most believers want to go on living and serving God. He was 
concerned, too, about the future of the nation in view of the Assyrian 
advance. At any rate, God not only answered his prayer but even gave him 
a special sign to encourage his faith.... 
Difficult experiences should give us a new appreciation for life 
and a new desire to live for the Lord. [Chapter by Chapter Bible 
Commentary by Warren Wiersbe] 

The affliction that brought Hezekiah so much anguish was not for 
his hurt but for his benefit. God looked upon him in tender 
compassion and lifted him out of the pit of corruption. It was the power of 
divine love that saved him from the power of death. [SDA Commentary] 

Hezekiah realized that his prayer brought deliverance and 
forgiveness.... Hezekiah knew that God had spared his life, so in his poem 
Hezekiah praises God. Hezekiah recognized the good that came from his 
bitter experience. The next time you have difficult struggles, pray for 
God's help to gain something beneficial from them. [Life Application 

Hezekiah saw that his illness was actually good for him because 
it enabled him to find God's deliverance. Often our suffering works 
some good because it breaks our selfish life-style and brings us to 
the point where we realize we need God. We should take a moral 
inventory and see if we are living for God or ourself. If God is not first 
in our life, now is a great time to put him there. [Life Recovery 

Hezekiah composed a psalm of gratitude for the answer to his 
prayer. Thanksgiving relives troubled times to recall the wonder of 
God's intervention. It leads to a vow of humble devotion. [Disciple 

Escape from serious illness and death makes us appreciate more 
deeply the saving love of God. [Disciple SB] 

Deliverance from sickness and death is a part of God's 
salvation. It causes us to express heartfelt thanks to Him in public 
worship (v. 20). [Disciple SB] 


Some say God cannot change his mind without contradicting his 
unchanging nature. They say that maybe God intended all along to heal 
Hezekiah. Withholding that news from Hezekiah, then, served to stimulate 
the intensity of his prayer. In this view, Hezekiah didn't change 
God's mind. But prayer helped him discover God's purpose so he could 
align his life and actions to it. 
Others, however, have another view. They agree that God doesn't 
change his mind the way people do. But they suggest a sovereign God can 
predetermine to change his course of action in response to our prayers. His 
ultimate purposes are unchangeable, they say, but he builds options into 
his purposes from the start. They see flexibility in the outcome to 
accommodate the various responses of people. In this view, God is something 
like a traveler who plans a destination but allows freedom to change 
the route or make spontaneous side trips along the way. God's 
methods, they say, aren't necessarily, set in concrete: people's actions 
can make a difference in the way God works. 
The Bible recounts other examples of times that God seemed to 
change his mind: After saying he would destroy Nineveh, he didn't 
because they repented (Jonah 3:10-4:2). Earlier he had intended to 
destroy the Israelites but did not when Moses interceded for them 
(Exodus 32:9-14). On the other hand, there is God's response to David's 
repentance (2 Samuel 12:13-23). And he told Jeremiah and Ezekiel that he 
would not even listen to requests of leniency for Judah (Jer. 7:16; 
15:1; Ezek. 14:12-14). [Quest SB re Isa. 38:1-5 mod.] 


If you are swept off your feet, it is time to get on your knees. 
Frederick Beck 


Hezekiah teaches us an important Bible lesson. He listened to 
Isaiah's words about God's sovereignty, and trusted the Lord to remove 
the Assyrian threat. God did. When Hezekiah became sick, he recalled 
what God had said through Isaiah about the Lord's willingness to 
restore the godly, even after judgment had been announced. So Hezekiah 
called on God, pleading his godly life. And the Lord did heal, even 
though He had earlier announced that Hezekiah would die. 
But then Hezekiah slipped. Isaiah had also spoken of Babylon as 
an enemy of God's people. Yet when envoys from Babylon came to 
"congratulate" the king on his recovery, Hezekiah showed them every one of his 
royal treasures. A furious Isaiah announced that the day was coming 
when the Babylonians would carry Hezekiah's treasures and his 
descendants into Captivity. 
What is the lesson in Hezekiah's personal history? Simply this. 
We need to take all of God's words to heart. We can't just believe 
the parts we like, and claim the promises we want fulfilled. We need 
to pay close attention to every message of the Word, for forgetting 
any words or choosing not to hear can cause us trouble indeed. 
The Bible is a good teacher. It provides convicting evidence 
that God is real, and is trustworthy. But it is a tough teacher too. 
If we fail to learn its lessons, we will surely experience the 
consequences. [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary re 38 and 39 mod] 


Although Hezekiah trusted in God to heal him (38:1-22), he 
failed when the Babylonian envoys visited him. After his recovery, he 
paraded his own glory, not the Lord's (39:1, 2). Thus he implicitly 
placed his confidence in military strength and political alliances 
instead of the strength of the Almighty God. Because of his unbelief, 
Judah would go into exile (39:3-8). Nelson SB]