FIFTEEN YEARS

Today's devotion from 2 Kings 20-21.

Why do bad things happen to good people? Hezekiah had walked meritoriously before God. Not only had he fought against the rampant paganism in his time by destroying the idols in the high places, but he had also fastidiously kept the law. Positive and negative, he did well...generally. (2 Chronicles 32 seems to indicate that he had flaws.)

He had done much good. Yet, here we find him on the verge of death. He is suffering from some great illness that is more than threatening his life, it is on the threshold of taking it. There was only one hope for his recovery. God would have to intervene. What would stir the heart of God to bring life in the place of death? In a word, repentance.

Hezekiah was truly broken by this situation, and maybe that was the point. Perhaps the reason God allowed this disease to afflict him was to bring him back to his senses. If that was the case, it apparently worked. The proud king wept. In that moment, his growing treasury did not matter. What was important were the few moments he had left.

Repentance and prayer turned the heart of God. He was moved by His servant's heartfelt cry. In response, before Isaiah could even leave God had sent him back with another message: fifteen years. That simple yet powerful petition, uttered from brokenness and humility, was worth fifteen years.

The point of this event being recorded is not to teach us that we will always be healed if we cry and pray. The point is, as one commentator wrote, "Sometimes what seems like a final decree is a subtle invitation." The best king in generations was not spared from times of suffering, politically or physically. Events unfold that we may not want. However, we can trust God in each and every one of them. Sometimes God offers a way out, other times He may offer a way through, but we must always understand that following Him is the only way.