Summary: #4 in series "Revival in the Land" Here at the end of Hezekiah’s life are several lessons we would do well to learn if we hope to see the Lord move in revival power among us.
Titanic In 1912 the "unsinkable" Titanic was launched in Liverpool, England. So haughty was the hoopla surrounding the Titanic’s safety and structural integrity that it caused dismay among some of the God fearing public. Such pride it was felt was tempting God to show man his folly. And while it’s certainly not our place 90 years later to say that what happened when ship met iceberg was God’s answer to the pride of the ship’s builders and promoters, we do know for certain that their pride was misplaced and the "unsinkable ship" took 1500 lives with it to the bottom of the ocean.
The Titanic was one famous case of Pride coming before a fall, Less known to us today--but probably of greater spiritual benefit is the case of Hezekiah at the end of His life. For the last two weeks you have been hearing about the revival of Hezekiah--of how his life and reign pleased the Lord and how the Lord responded by pouring out his blessings, how the Lord visited his people in revival power because of the king’s faithful leadership.
Proposition: Here at the end of Hezekiah’s life are several lessons we would do well to learn if we hope to see the Lord move in revival power among us.
Transition: Two of the lessons are encouragements and two are cautions. The first is a word of encouragement as we see God continue to pour out his blessings upon Hezekiah, this lesson has to do with...
The Power of Prayer
v. 24 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. He prayed to the LORD, who answered him and gave him a miraculous sign.
Hezekiah recieves the word of the Lord from the prophet Isaiah that he is going to die, but Hezekiah calls out to the Lord for mercy and the Lord answers his prayer not only with healing but with a miraculous sign, literally making the sun go backwards in the sky.
The lesson is clear for us even today, we serve a God who answers prayer, and answers miraculously. You say those are just Bible stories, things like that don’t happen anymore. Try to explain that to Dr. Helen Roseveare.
ILLUSTRATION: The longtime missionary to Zaire is still living today and loves to tell this story. "A mother at our mission station died after giving birth to a premature baby. We tried to improvise an incubator to keep the infant alive, but the only hot water bottle we had was beyond repair. So we asked the children to pray for the baby and for her sister. One of the girls responded, ’Dear God, please send a hot water bottle today. Tomorrow will be too late because by then the baby will be dead. And dear Lord, send a doll for the sister so she won’t feel so lonely.’ That afternoon a large package arrived from England. The children watched eagerly as we opened it. Much to their surprise, under some clothing was a hot water bottle! Immediately the girl who had prayed so earnestly started to dig deeper, exclaiming, ’If God sent that, I’m sure He also sent a doll!’ And she was right! The heavenly Father knew in advance of that child’s sincere requests, and 5 months earlier He had led a ladies’ group to include both of those specific articles." (TruthorFiction.com)
God answers prayer today like He did in Hezekiah’s time. If you have a need bring it to the Lord in Prayer, he wants to hear your needs and he wants you to trust Him for the answer, there is Power in Prayer.
Well that’s an encouragement so how about a caution? The second lesson is about
The Problem of Pride
v. 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.
After Hezekiah’s miraculous healing, which came after His miraculous victory over the ancient World’s only superpower, Hezekiah develops a problem, the problem of pride. When the king of Babylon sends "messengers" with a get well gift he invites them in and shows them not only all of his wealth but all of his weaponry, as if to say to them, "this is how we defeated the king of Assyria."
The moral of this story? Not only are those who have been blessed by God not immune from the trap of pride, they are probably more succeptible to it.
ILLUSTRATION:The great British preacher Charles Spurgeon was keenly aware of the dangers of pride. After his sermon one Sunday, Spurgeon was met by a woman who exclaimed, "Oh, Mr. Spurgeon, that was wonderful." "Yes, madam," Spurgeon replied, "so the devil whispered in my ear as I came down the steps of the pulpit."(Today in the Word, February 27, 1997, p. 34)