But things could get a lot worse.
Shortly after Hezekiah’s miraculous recovery, emissaries from Babylon showed up with gifts to honor the king, whom they’d heard was sick. When they arrived, they found a healthy and happy Hezekiah, not the weak king they’d expected to find. Enthusiastically, Hezekiah showed them all his kingdom, his storehouses, his treasures—everything that could be desired. And they desired it. God, having seen the covetousness in their hearts, told Hezekiah that he had acted foolishly. By revealing all the kingdom’s treasures, he’d stirred up the monster of greed, that would result in Babylonian invasion. Because of the promises God had made over the city and because of His relationship with Hezekiah, God reassured Hezekiah that the problem with Babylon wouldn’t arise during his remaining years of life…but they WOULD happen to his descendants. Without much more to say about Hezekiah, 2 Kings chapter 20 ties up the loose ends of Hezekiah’s life and tucks him neatly into his burial plot before moving on to the next king, Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh.
Manasseh became one of Judah’s most abominable kings. Not only did he undo all of the good his father had established, he also introduced numerous pagan gods and implemented heathen methods of worshipping them, even putting idols and their altars in the house of the Lord and sacrificing his son to Molech. It seems impossible that so vile a king could follow in the stead of such a righteous father. Until you re-read the line that introduces Manasseh in the book of 2 Kings.
“Manasseh was 12 years old when he began to reign.” Twelve. Born three years AFTER Hezekiah did NOT to put his house in order and die, but chose instead to plead with God for extended life. Born AFTER Hezekiah foolishly paraded the wealth of his nation before heathens. Born AFTER the prophesy that the consequences of Hezekiah’s prideful disclosure would bring a curse upon future descendants. Born AFTER Hezekiah began to struggle with pride.
Manasseh didn’t see God’s miraculous responses to Hezekiah’s prayers. He wasn’t there to enjoy the supernatural interventions his father experienced. He was there in the aftermath of a granted prayer, a victory that added little to Hezekiah’s legacy.
Just as Hezekiah, we have favor with God. As His children, we can bend His ear; He is eager to grant our petitions. But I’m glad He doesn’t always give me what I want. A good, firm “NO!” from God is exactly what I often need. Though I’ve been guilty of haggling with God and have begged for my will on more than one occasion, deep down, I trust that He knows best. Ultimately, I want His will. His will is right. His plan is perfect.
To Hezekiah, dying of an infected wound seemed premature. Had he embraced death, however, it could have been the perfectly timed exit. There would have been no poor response to God’s miraculous intervention, no hazarding future generations with Babylonian mishaps, no self-exaltation to struggle with, and no son to embitter with fear of the future. For Hezekiah and for us, the present situation can become all-consuming. That’s why we have to trust God’s eternal perspective. If we had our way, we’d always avoid pain. There would be no tragedy, no hurts, no disappointments. We would always win on our slot-machine-like God. While it’s human nature to want a continual jubilee, God wants us to trust Him with more than momentary, pleasant outcomes. He wants us to trust HIM. Completely. Even in the process and with end results that appear unfavorable. Through the privilege of prayer, we make our requests known to God. We angle them from the foundation of His Word. Then we surrender, releasing control into His capable hands. If we exchange our will for His, eternity will reveal that His answer is exactly what we needed, and from Heaven’s perspective, we will have gotten what we wanted every time we prayed.
Tip/tidbit: Have you ever begged and pleaded with God for something only to find that when you got it, it was more of a disappointment than a blessing? It’s still the right thing to humble yourself in thanksgiving for what God has done. It’s also the right thing to learn to release control. Align your prayers with God’s word, seek His will in your situation, petition Him boldly, and humbly receive the answer He deems right and good.