Hezekiah Worships: Isaiah Devotional Journal 80

Isaiah 38    Septuagint Modernized   NETS

Hezekiah-Part Five: Hezekiah Worships

Isaiah 38:9-20 Fourth Prayer: Thanksgiving and Praise

Only Isaiah records King Hezekiah’s prayer when he recovered from his illness. In this prayer, Hezekiah worships the living God who saved him.

9 The prayer of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick, and had recovered from his sickness:

10 I said in the end of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave; I shall part with the remainder of my years.

11 I said, I shall no more see the salvation of God in the land of the living; I shall no more see the salvation of Israel on the earth; I shall no more see man.

12 My life has failed from among my kindred; I have parted with the remainder of my life; it has gone forth and departed from me, as one that has pitched a tent takes it down again; my breath was with me as a weaver’s web, when she that weaves draws near to cut off the thread.

13 In that day I was given up as to a lion until the morning; so has He broken all my bones; for I was so given up from day even to night.

14 As a swallow, so will I cry, and as a dove, so do I mourn; for my eyes have failed from looking to the height of heaven to the Lord, who has delivered me,

15 and removed the sorrow of my soul.

16 Yea, O Lord, for it was told You concerning this; and You have revived my breath; and I am comforted, and live.

17 For You have chosen my soul, that it should not perish; and You have cast all my sins behind me.

18 For they that are in the grave shall not praise You, neither shall the dead bless You, neither shall they that are in Hades hope for Your mercy.

19 The living shall bless You, as I also do; for from this day shall I beget children, who shall declare Your righteousness,

20 O God of my salvation; and I will not cease from blessing You with the psaltery all the days of my life before the house of God. (CAB, LXE) (1)

GENRE

Today’s news media loves crises. They love to interview folk who have passed through a crisis and come close to being destroyed. They show up with microphone in hand and say, “Tell us about your experience.” Then the survivor tells their tale. Such is this portion of Isaiah. Scripture gives King Hezekiah space to tell his harrowing experience of how he survived a deadly illness. We read his story in his prayer to God after he recovered (verse 9 forward).

Isaiah 38 is not the only place in Scripture that records a prayer after a near death experience. The Psalter contains several such prayers. King David’s enemies hounded him to death. He didn’t die, however. He lived to sing praises to the Lord who saved him. We find songs celebrating deliverance from near death in Psalm 18:4-19, 57:3-4, 116:3-8, and 118:5, 10-29. As pointed out in other posts on this site, these worshipful prayer songs of David prophetically represent the heart cries and life events of the Lord Jesus Christ during his incarnation (See A Triplet of Psalms on this site).

PARALLELS TO THE LIFE OF CHRIST

How awesome would it be to have one’s life run parallel to that of the Lord Jesus Christ? Many saints both dead and alive encounter persecutions and grievous circumstances similar to those in the life of Christ. The New Testament declares that Christians will and should experience such parallels. Is it possible that this portion of King Hezekiah’s life experience prophetically looks ahead to the death and resurrection of Christ?

  1. “sick and recovered” (verse 9)–See Psalm 18:4-8; Psalm 116:3, 6; 118:17-18.
  2. a near death experience near the gates of Hades (verses 10 and 18)–Psalm 88:3; Psalm 6:4-5; 30:3; 94:17.
  3. cut off from family and from life (verses 11-12)–Psalm 102:3-11; 88:8, 18.
  4. “given as to a lion” (verse 13)–Psalm 22:13, 21; 57:4;
  5. “so has He broken all my bones” (verse 13)–Psalm 34:20; 6:1-5; 22:14; 31:10; 42:10. (Note: Christ’s bones were not broken.)
  6. eyes fail from looking upward–Psalm 69:3.
  7. delivered! (verse 14)–Psalm 18:1; 30:3; 56:13; 57:4; 86:13; 116:6, 8.
  8. the Lord did it (verses 14, 16, 17)–Psalm 116:6, 8; 18:4-17; 118:21-23; 22:24-31; 57:3-5.
  9. Praise the Lord! (verses 19-20)–Psalm 18:46-50; 22:22-25; 57:3-11; 116:16-19; 118:18-29.

There may be other parallels to the Psalms and to the life of Christ within this simple, heartfelt prayer of King Hezekiah.

THE SIGN OF TWO KINGS

When have any of us ever seen the sun move backward in the sky? Isaiah gave Hezekiah a sign that the shadow cast by the setting sun would move backward (2). The text does not say that the sun would move backward, but that the shadow of its setting would (2 Kings 20:8-11). Nevertheless, the sign indicates a miracle. The shadow of death over Hezekiah would be withdrawn.

God performed an even bigger miracle when he resurrected King Jesus from the grave. When God gave victory over death to his Son, he also turned back death’s shadow from the entire world. The sunshine of life shines again. Both the resurrection of Christ the King and the “resurrection” of King Hezekiah indicate life for every believer who identifies with the death and resurrection of Jesus, the King of kings.

When we face difficulties from which we may not survive, let us call upon the name of the Lord. Our God saves. He delivers from death. God’s deliverance is sure, fixed in the heavenlies, whether in this life or by means of our passing to the next. Either way, Christians do experience and will experience resurrection from death. This is the prophetic promise of Isaiah 38.

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1 The Complete Apostles’ Bible (CAB). Translated by Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton. Revised and Edited by Paul W. Esposito, and, The English Majority Text Version (EMTV) of the Holy Bible, New Testament. Copyright © 2002-2004 Paul W. Esposito. Available August 8, 2021, at Isaiah 38 – Complete Apostles’ Bible (bibliatodo.com).

2 Septuagint translations differ among themselves and from the Masoretic. The differences concern whether the shadow of the setting sun would move backward on the face of a sundial or backward upon the steps of a set of stairs in his father’s house. These differences don’t change the overall meaning of the text. Either way, the shadow cast by the setting sun moves backward.

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