Summary: To contrast Hezekiah’s concept of death with that of the New Testament believer
God Answers Hezekiah
Primary Purpose: To contrast Hezekiah’s concept of death with that of a New Testament believer.
I. Isaiah’s Pronouncement- He had to deliver a unwelcomed message, that Hezekiah would not survive this illness. He tells him to get the affairs of the kingdom in the order he would prefer. This news is even harder for Hezekiah to bear when we realize that Hezekiah did not yet have any sons to take the throne after him. Ezekiel tells us in Ezekiel 33:11 that God takes delight in the death of no man- not even the wicked. How much more the death of a good man in his prime.
II. Hezekiah’s Reaction- He doesn’t tell God what to do. He does’t ask God to spare his life. He asks God to remember his faithfulness, devotion and the good he has done. In a sense, he asks for God’s mercy.
A. Hezekiah’s concept of death- Hezekiah is like a lot of us, he fears and dreads death. This is more so for him because his concept of death was far different from the New Testament concept of death. We see this in Isaiah 38:10-19. He refers to death as a pit of nothingness, he doesn’t believe he can have fellowship with God in death or praise him. For the Old Testament believer, death is at best a peaceful rest or a unconsciousness. They referred to death as Sheol. Sheol was at best a place of rest and at worst it was a garbage dump.
B. The New Testament’s concept of death- Death is still seen as a enemy 1 Cor 15:26. It is a by product of living in a fallen world. Rom 6:23. Because we have a sin nature, then we will experience death.
Death is seen as a interruption. But, also a transition from this life to the next. Paul understood to be absent from this body meant to be present with the Lord 2 Cor 5:8. He saw it as a homegoing. Phil 1:21 Paul saw death as a gain.
The fact that Christ hated death is seen in the fact that he came that he might conquer death for us. Every funeral Jesus ever attended quickly ended in joy. Even when He wasn’t asked to intervene he seemed intent on stopping the sadness of death. Death is seen as a interruption of God’s plan, but God gives us a hope beyond death.
III. God’s Answer to Hezekiah- God quickly answers Hezekiah is demonstrated by the fact that Isaiah had not yet made it home and he was told to turn around and go back. God tells Hezekiah that he has heard him when no one else did. He has granted Hezekiah more than he was asked for. He has given him 15 more abundant years. God will give him sons and victories yet. God will use him to protect his people from the Assyrians. The reforms will go on for some more years now under Hezekiah’s leadership.
A. Hezekiah’s sign- Hezekiah asks for a sign and God graciously gives him one. This is not Biblical evidence that we should ask for magical signs. The most obvious sign is that what Isaiah said 3 days later occurred. God kept his word. But Hezekiah wants assurance in his weakness that Isaiah his friend is not just telling him what he wants to hear. God grants him a sign of a shadow moving back to a earlier position.