August 08

Read Isaiah 38 -- 42

In Today's Reading:

Hezekiah's sickness and his life lengthened; Hezekiah's foolish welcome to the Babylonians resulting in captivity foretold; the greatness of God and His comfort to His people; God's assurance to Israel; song of praise to the Lord; Israel's suffering as a result of sin.

Verses for Today:

In those days Hezekiah was sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet . . . said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live. . . . Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the Lord . . . Remember now, O Lord . . . how I have walked before Thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in Thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore (38:1-3; 2 Kings 20:1; also 2 Chronicles 32:24-26).

About 13 years had passed since Isaiah had brought Hezekiah, King of Judah, the exciting news that the little nation of Judah would be miraculously saved from the "invincible" armies of the Assyrian Empire.

At that time, Hezekiah did not have a son to inherit his throne and to have no male descendant or to be cut off in the midst of one's years were viewed both as a mark of divine displeasure and of judgment (Psalms 55:23; Proverbs 10:27).

When Hezekiah said he had lived before the Lord in truth and with a perfect heart (Isaiah 38:3), he meant that he had served the Lord faithfully, had never worshiped idols, and had not departed from the Lord's Commandments. Scripture confirms that his prayer was genuine (2 Kings 18:3-6; 2 Chronicles 31:20-21).

Isaiah had only gone to the middle court of the palace, not far from the deathbed of King Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:4), when he heard the voice of God say: Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus [says] the Lord, the God of David . . . I have heard [your] prayer, I have seen [your] tears: behold, I will add [to your] days fifteen years. And I will deliver [you] and this city out of the hand of the King of Assyria (Isaiah 38:5-6; 2 Kings 20:5-6).

We should never hesitate to pray, regardless of how hopeless our circumstances may appear, when we desire that the answer to our prayers will honor the Lord. This does not mean that God always miraculously answers every prayer in the way we want or according to our timing.

We need to read the Word of God so that, like Hezekiah, we may honestly and fervently pray: "Lord, we have done what is good in Your sight." Many find it easy to accept the condemnation of Satan that we are too unworthy for God to answer our prayers since we often fall short of our desire to be like Jesus. Although it is right to assess our faults and confess our sins, it also magnifies the grace of God to recognize the good in our lives as Hezekiah did, for the good is from the Lord. Although we are far from perfect, we can also remind the Lord of our sincere endeavor to live God-honoring lives.

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5).

Christ Revealed:

As the Creator (Isaiah 40:28; compare John 1:1-3); as the Shepherd (Isaiah 40:11; compare John 10:11); as theRedeemer (Isaiah 41:14; compare Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Revelation 5:9). As the Angel of the Lord (Isaiah 37:36).

Word Studies:

38:10 residue = remainder; 40:2 comfortably = kindly and tenderly; 40:12 meted out = measured; span = about nine inches; 42:4 isles = coastlands; 42:13 jealousy = His fury.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Julian Dixon (CA) and Gov. Jane Hull (AZ) · Pray for the President · Country: Portugal (10 million) in western Europe · Major language: Portuguese · Limited religious freedom · 90% Roman Catholic; .75% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: During times of trouble, pray constantly and ask for patience (Romans 12:12).

Optional Reading: James 3

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 5:1