Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered February 22, 2003 by Pastor Donald J. Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

Hesitant Hezekiah

Isaiah 38

Hesitant Hezekiah. Did you know that some people live too long! Have you ever known anybody like that? Hezekiah did. He lived too long. As the years go by, you ought to get sweeter but some folk get sour and rotten. I'd like you to look at this. Come over here to Hezekiah 2:1.... Are some of you heading for that? Well, Actually, Isaiah 38:1. Let's try that. You knew there was no book of Hezekiah, didn't you. This is our scripture reading. You can see that Hezekiah was very sick and he was going to die. In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, "This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover."

So often when we are at the pinnacle of success in our life, suddenly the bottom falls out. Was Hezekiah a good king or a bad king? He was good, one of the better kings they ever had other than David. Hezekiah suddenly got deathly sick. His sickness was so bad the prophet came by to see him. And when the prophet comes to see you, it's pretty serious. Prophets ought to be encouraging but Isaiah said, "You are going to die." Hezekiah was hesitant about dying. He didn't want to die. He wanted to live. After all, who wants to die?

He had a tremendous reputation: he'd been doing a fantastic job. Every time he saw an idol he got rid of it. He got rid of the Baal worship. He was a fantastic king. He cleaned up the kingdom and was a welcome change from his wicked father Ahaz. And now he was gong to die? God was making a mistake here. You know, when you get somebody good you need to keep them.

If you were to suddenly be diagnosed with cancer and told that it surrounded every organ and it was untreatable,

How long does it take to put your house in order? I don't know. I suppose there's a death-bed conversion and it wouldn't take too long. I went to William Miller's farm. Have you ever been there? He has a chapel and behind it is a place called "Ascension Rock." Have you ever been there? And I thought about the saints who stood there on October 22, 1844. You know, those saints were ready to levitate. They were ready to go up. But do you know what happened on October 23? Those saints that were ready for translation the day before were arguing and bickering and fighting and they were mad at each other. They were mad at the Lord. Ready for translation one day and not the next.

1 - HESITANT HEZEKIAH

Hezekiah was hesitant. He did not want to die. "I want to live." Maybe he should have submitted to God's will.

Isaiah 38:2,3. Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, "Remember, O Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes." And Hezekiah wept bitterly. He didn't want to die. He did not want to accept God's pronouncement upon him.

I imagine the people of the town wept as well. They didn't want to see their good king die. Why would God let the best king in many many years suddenly die? Obviously premature. Hezekiah was so good. Why him? You've probably noticed; when two people get in a wreck, a drunk and a Christian, who lives? Who walks away from that wreck? It's the drunk! And what happens to the Christian? Is he instantly killed or languishes in a nursing home for years? Why is this? Why does the Lord make all these mistakes? Why did God let Hezekiah go like that? Does God know what He is doing?

Hezekiah didn't want to go. He did not submit to God's will. He was a righteous man and he prayed fervently and when a righteous person prays fervently, what happens? Doe prayer work? Yes!

I remember being up in Michigan one time and in a neighboring county from where we lived, we heard of a good young man, a family, a tragedy happened in their life. Their son was just an upstanding young Christian man. He was looking forward to great things. He attended the church and was an exceptional Christian youth, a model young man. He was out with some friends and in this terrible wreck and his life was in the balance and the doctor came to his parents and said, "I don't think your son is going to make it." They went home and they called on the elders of the church and everybody banded together and they prayed earnestly. In fact, the parents demanded that God would heal their son. Do you know what happened? God did heal their son. he was healed, he was restored back to life very quickly. But after that his life turned to worldly pursuits. He got into drugs and alcohol. He left the church he once loved and one Saturday night, he was out with some friends and they were in another terrible wreck and he was killed. They found out that he was on drugs. At the tine of the accident he was drunk. It was a tragedy. Why did that happen? Apparently he was lost.

I think we need to be careful when we demand things from God. I think the better situation we should place ourselves in is: "I submit to Your will. Be careful how you demand things of God. When Isaiah told Hezekiah, "You're going to die" he did not submit. Not at all. Hezekiah wept Bitterly. And what happened? While Isaiah was still in the courtyard he received a message from God for Hezekiah.

Isaiah 38:5-8 "Go and tell Hezekiah, 'This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city.'"

"'This is the Lord's sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.'" So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down. That is an amazing statement.

Hezekiah did not even have to ask for a sign. God volunteered to give him one.

2- HEALED HEZEKIAH

So, let's talk about Healed Hezekiah. Let's leave Hesitant Hezekiah and come over here to his healing. His healing takes place a natural means. Isaiah 38:21. A poultice of figs was applied to the boil and he quickly recovered. God could have spoken and the king would have been instantly healed God chose to use naturals means and it took three days. God often does that. God does help those who help themselves. He gave Hezekiah three days before he was healed completely, three days in which to think while he is horizontal on his bed, three days to plan what he would do with those extra fifteen years. Did he do much planning? Well, I don't know. It doesn't appear so.

Now, you know what a sundial is. I have a sundial with me in my pocket. I just happen to have one. This is one like George Washington used. I casts a shadow and you can read the time as long as the gnomon is points north and points up at the latitude at your location. You can determine quite accurately what time it is. What happened in Hezekiah's day? The shadow went backward, ten degrees! That's phenomenal. Have you ever seen that happen? Shadows do not have a reverse gear, do they? They don't go backwards. How did God do it? Did God reverse the rotation of the earth? Were there a lot or earthquakes? Scientists used to think several hundred years ago that God reversed the orbit of the sun. But we know that's not the case. So, what happened here? Scientists, for year, have doubted the Bible. They think this cannot be. In fact, there weren't even any sundials in those days, scientists say. But archaeologists, fortunately have discovered the steps of Ahaz and they indeed were in such a way that you could tell the time by those steps that were designed as a sundial. And, not only that, we have records from Babylon that the Babylonian astronomers did indeed observe way over in Babylon the same phenomenon. So it did happen. It was apparently a world-wide sign.

Isaiah 39 says that these Babylonian envoys came from the East to see the newly healed king. They came on camels, apparently. They came bearing gifts to the king. Much like the forerunners, perhaps, of the days of Jesus Christ. And do you know why they came? In Prophets and Kings by EG White, p. 344, we are told that they came to learn "More of the God who was able to perform so great a wonder," in reversing the direction of the sun. They beat a path to Hezekiah's door.

Think of the witnessing opportunity here. These great heathen dignitaries from Babylon came to sit at Hezekiah's feet to learn about his God. Babylon at that time was already becoming a super power. They were up and coming. They were getting stronger by the day. A hundred years from then they would be the super power. These heathen dignitaries arrive at Hezekiah's palace and Hezekiah has the opportunity to change the course of world history. He could tell them, "I want to tell you about God. I want to tell you what happened. God can do anything." And they could have gone home, and the entire nation of Babylon could have been converted, and the entire world could have become believers in the true God. That could have happened. It didn't happen. It was not to be.

Let's continue this story by going to 2 Kings. Now you may say, "Why are we leaving Isaiah?" This story is told in several places in the Bible indicating how very important this story is. Come over here to 2 Kings 20:12. At that time Merodach- Baladan, son of Baladan king of Babylon sent Hezekiah letters and a gift, because he had heard of Hezekiah's illness. He heard of it. News gets around. They had grapevines back in those days, too. We've got them in Collegedale.

3 HAUGHTY Hezekiah.

So, let's not talk about Hesitant Hezekiah anymore. Let's not talk about healed Hezekiah. Let's talk about Haughty Hezekiah, proud Hezekiah. Babylon would be the next world Superpower. Here they come beating a path to Hezekiah's door. He has just been healed. What a testimony, what an opportunity of a lifetime he has to tell. He has a once in a lifetime opportunity to give the credit to God. To tell about the true God in Heaven. And what does he do? He blows it.

These seekers of truth to seek God and what does he show them? Look at 2 Kings 20:13. Hezekiah received the messengers and showed them all that was in

So, what did he show them? He exalted himself instead of exalting God. These seekers of truth came to see God's healthy healed prophet and instead he showed them his gold and his silver and his treasures and his defenses.

Pride and vanity quickly surfaced. Hezekiah got out his new set of golf clubs, and said, "Look at these. These are phenomenal. Tiger Woods played with these. And I own them now." And he told them all about himself and showed them all his trinkets, all of his latest digital stuff, all these surround speakers. "I've got all this stuff. Come and look at it. Look at what I've got." Now, we never do that, do we. No, we don't do that. You know, when your head swells up your brain stops working.

Hezekiah was haughty. "Look at my shiny house of armor. Look at all these trinkets I've accumulated, this collection of stuff." And he told them all about himself. "I did this, I did that." He got out his movies. He showed them his slides, his dazzling treasures. His wife put on a feast showing off her best.

My! I'm glad we are not like Hezekiah! When company comes over do you talk about yourself or about how God has blessed you. If God has rescued you from cancer, if God has rescued you from a fire in the home burning down and you being destroyed or bankruptcy or whatever it is, some dreaded thing, when company comes over, put the magnifying glass on God instead of yourself. Hezekiah's house was in order but his heart was not in order.

As we read this story in the Bible we must realize how God felt about Hezekiah's actions. This was a big time sin in God's sight. Hezekiah sinned. Look at 2 Chronicles. Now again you may say, "Why are we going clear over here? Well, here's another of the stories of this tremendous experience. So, let's go to 2 Chronicles 32:25 But Hezekiah's heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him, therefore the Lord's wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem.

4- Hezekiah's Heritage

So, let's go to point number four. Let's leave hesitant Hezekiah and healed Hezekiah and haughty Hezekiah and let's go to Hezekiah's heritage, his future. Let's fast-forward this story one hundred years. Nebuchadnezzar was the king of the world. The makers and shakers of the world now lived in Babylon. And, Babylon did indeed remember what they had seen so many years. They remember all that gold and silver things. And, what did they do? They invaded Judah and Jerusalem. They invaded the temple. They invaded the palace. And they took all of the gold and all of the silver and all those things and hauled them all the way back to Babylon.

You know, if you are given a second chance at life, if you were doomed to death in some accident, fire or wreck or some bad circumstance and God saved you from it, don't blow the extra bonus years. If God healed you from your heart attack, if He delivered you from your stroke, you use those bonus years in the proper way. Don't use them to curse God, but to honor Him. Be a blessing to God. Advance His work. Use your time, use your resources to do something special for God wherever you're at. You can do it. You don't have to be in one spot or another spot. Wherever you are, put God first in your life. Because He humbled Himself wrath did not come in Hezekiah's day. But the evil seed had been sown. Hezekiah died and was buried.

Now let's leave Hezekiah and go to Jeremiah 15. You might think, "Why are we going over here?" Well, there's a connection.

I want us to look at the worst person that ever lived that is recorded in the Bible other than the devil. The worst human being to ever live. Who could this be? Well, let's look at Jeremiah 15. This is Manasseh. HMS Richards, Sr. said that this is the worst person that ever lived. I totally agree with him. Notice how God was upset with Manasseh. Jeremiah 15:1. Then the LORD said to me: "Even if Moses and Samuel were to stand before me, my heart would not go out to this people. Send them away from my presence! Let them go! And if they ask you, 'Where shall we go?' tell them, 'This is what the LORD says: Those destined for death, to death; those for the sword, to the sword; those for starvation, to starvation; those for captivity, to captivity.' I will send four kinds of destroyers against them," declares the Lord, "the sword to kill and the dogs to drag away and the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy. I will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what Manasseh son of Hezekiah king of Judah did in Jerusalem.

This evil man made God almost mad, upset terribly. Now, 2 Kings 21:16 says, Moreover, Manasseh also shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem from end to end. This was a terrible man. Manasseh was the worst king Israel ever had. He ruled 55 years, the longest of any king of God's people from 696 to 641 BC. 2 Kings 21:9, Manasseh led them astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the LORD had destroyed. Manasseh outdid the evil of the heathen! When you outdo the wicked, you are wicked big time! Manasseh

He not only encouraged evil but discouraged good. The faithful few that were left were objects of his bitter hatred. Manasseh tried to find success by lowering the standards and uniting with the world. When the church begins to act like the world, dresses like the world, has the same music as the world, the same standards of the world, we are going backwards like Hezekiah's sundial. It is time for the church to hold a high standard, the standard of Jesus Christ and His salvation.

So we must ask a vital question: Why did God allow Manasseh to be the king? Why did He even want him to be the king? Why did He allow such a wicked man to ever even be born? God makes mistakes, doesn't He? A lot of mistakes. Or, did He? Come to 2 Kings 21:1 look carefully at this verse. Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king. How old? 12 years old when he became king. And he reigned in Jerusalem 55 years. In verse 2 he did evil. He was really bad. He was twelve when he became king. What if Hezekiah had submitted to Gods will and said, "I'll go ahead and die. I'm not going to moan over this. I'll get my house in order. I'll go ahead and do it." Hezekiah was Manasseh's daddy. Manasseh would never have been born. The reason he was born was because Hezekiah refused to submit to God's will.

Do we dare, ever, to pray for our own will to be done? Is it ever appropriate for us to pray for our will to be done? Well, yes, it is. Did Jesus ever do that? Oh, yes He did. How did He pray? He said, "Father, if possible, I don't want to drink this cup. But, if not, go ahead and give it to me. I will drink it." "Father, I don't want this cancer. I don't want this problem. But if You don't remove it, it's okay. I'll submit to it. That's the position of strength. That's the position where we need to be.

So, Hezekiah's sad story ends. But there is one more shocker here that leaves your mouth hanging open! It's in 2 Chronicles. 2 Chronicles 33:11. So the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria' who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. You know what? When they put that hook in his nose, the hook woke him up! Old, evil Manasseh woke up, and do you know what happened? This bad man changed. Verse 12 and onwards says that old evil Manasseh prayed to God and humbled himself. He had a conversion. God rescued him from there and brought him again to Jerusalem and there he became a reformer for God. He got rid of the idols, He got rid of Baal worship. He stopped the child sacrifice. He stopped the witchcraft. And he apparently led a fantastic reform for the Lord. And, apparently when you get to heaven you're going to meet Manasseh. That is amazing. Now, if Manasseh can be saved, can you be saved? Yes you can. Can you be saved, doing those things to dishonor the Lord like Manasseh was? NO, you've got to have a change of heart. You've got to have an about-face, a conversion. You've got to repent. You've got to seek Jesus and have that relationship with Jesus Christ, but you can get it. You can. It doesn't matter how bad your past has been. If you want to be saved, you can turn to Jesus today, receive Him as your Savior, and you're going to be in heaven. That's how this works. If Manasseh can make it to heaven, there is hope for us. If you wake up! If you repent of your evil ways? If your house is in order. If Jesus Christ is your Savior you can be saved. He did it.

We're going to meet him in heaven, and he's probably going to say, "For fifty-five years I blew it. But I ended up on top by the grace of Jesus Christ. And you can end on top by God's grace.

Hymn of Praise: #7, The Lord In Zion Reigneth
Scripture: Isaiah 38:1
Hymn of Response: #416, The Judgment Has Set

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