Introduction: Many years ago I was invited to have dinner with one of
my clients whose religious freedom I was defending. He had a large
number of children and dinner was remarkably quiet compared to dinner
at home with my two children. His children did not fight, indeed,
they did not even talk to each other. When I asked about this, my
client said they had a rule that at dinner the children did not speak
unless spoken to. I went home and did some soul searching about
whether I was deficient in my parenting skills. To this day I am not
sure. I would like to find out how this client’s children turned out
when they grew up. The client’s home arrested my attention. How does
your home appear to others? Is it a witness for your Christian
values? Or, is it a witness to your selfishness? Let’s dive into our
study on that topic!
- Hezekiah’s Illness
- Read Isaiah 38:1. Put yourself in Hezekiah’s place. What
are your thoughts?
- The New Bible Commentary puts Hezekiah’s age at 39.
What does that add to your thoughts? (If you have
ever been tested for a fatal disease or diagnosed
with one, you probably have a good idea of the
thoughts running through Hezekiah’s mind.)
- Read Isaiah 38:10-11 where Hezekiah recounts his
- Read Isaiah 38:2-3. What kind of attitude does Hezekiah
have? (I deserve to live. I’m a good guy.)
- Is Hezekiah right to have this attitude? (His
attitude is understandable. No doubt I would pray the
same thing, but the bottom line is that God owes us
nothing. We owe Him everything. Moreover, we need to
trust God to do the right thing. One commentary that
I read put a better light on Hezekiah by arguing that
he was simply asking God to spare him so he could
continue to reform his country.)
- Read Isaiah 38:4-6. What does this teach us about our God?
(He is compassionate to us. He listens to us.)
- What kind of relationship did Hezekiah have with God?
(It seems that they were in regular contact through
the prophet Isaiah.)
- Read Isaiah 38:7-8. Anyone here have an explanation for
how God did this? (Commentaries suggest this could be
anything from a special refraction of the sun’s rays to a
reversal of the rotation of the earth.)
- The stairs were some sort of sun-dial. What is the
significance of this sign? (God is altering time for
- Why such a remarkable sign from God? (Because He
could! Consider God’s compassion and unprecedented
power when you face difficult circumstances.)
- Read Isaiah 38:21. Friends, I want you to try to explain
this to me. The sign that God will heal Hezekiah
theoretically involved altering the rotation of our
planet. Yet the actual healing is a simple poultice of
figs. Explain this please! (We can know a lot about God’s
character. But, predicting God’s actions is quite another
- Should you see a doctor when you are sick and need a
miracle? (Yes. There is precedent for it right here.)
- Hezekiah’s House
- Read Isaiah 39:1-2. What caused the King of Babylon to
contact Hezekiah and send envoys? (News of his recovery.)
- How likely is it that the Babylonians noticed that
the sun went backwards?
- Put yourself in Hezekiah’s place. What should you be
talking about with the envoys from Babylon? What,”in
your house,” should you be highlighting? (The stated
reason for the visit was Hezekiah’s miraculous
recovery. It was the obvious thing to highlight what
God had done.)
- Instead, what did Hezekiah highlight? (Himself. All
of his wealth pointed to him as a great and
- Read 2 Chronicles 32:31. In God’s eyes, what was the visit
from the Babylonian envoys? (A test of what was in
- Read again Isaiah 39:2 and explain the test to me?
(King Hezekiah would have been dead if God had not
intervened. The Babylonians came for the stated
reason of learning about the miracle that brought
Hezekiah back to health. King Hezekiah could have
focused on what God had done for him or he could
focus on his wealth – what he had done for the
nation. Notice that in Isaiah 39:2 it keeps referring
to “his” storehouses, armory, and treasures.)
- How about you? Do you want people to notice you or
notice your God? Is it all about you or Him? What in
your house do you want to show the world?
- I’ve previously told the story about the first humble
house we bought and how my neighbor asked me, “If you’re a
lawyer, how come you live here?” For many years I commuted
to work in a Honda I bought for $200 and an Isuzu truck I
bought for $1,000. At the time, I thought God was leading
me to these deals to teach me humility. Finally, He led me
to an old, beautiful Mercedes and I figured the lesson was
over. What I hated during those times was that my humble
home and vehicles would cause people to think this
reflected on my skills as a lawyer. Is this an
application of the test God brought to Hezekiah? (Yes. The
test is whether you are worried about your glory or God’s
glory. I was concerned about my glory. My attitude shows
that I would have flunked Hezekiah’s test.)
- Read Isaiah 39:5-7. How does the test turn out for
- Think back over this entire story. Should we pray for
God’s will to be done in our illness or should we,
like Hezekiah, ask for our will to be done?
- Read Isaiah 39:8. What does this teach us about Hezekiah’s
attitude at this stage in his life? (The man is incredibly
- Is praying that our will be done selfish?
- Is praying that our will be done foolish?
- Hezekiah’s Family
- Read Deuteronomy 6:10-12. What historical lesson did God
want His people to remember when they entered the land God
promised them? (To remember they were slaves and that God
- Where were Hezekiah’s descendants heading? (Isaiah
- What was Hezekiah modeling in his home regarding
his children? (He did not show care for them.
The result of his sin was that he brought his
children back to the original calamity of
slavery – and he did not seem to care.)
- Read Deuteronomy 6:4-8. What should be our attitude
towards our children?
- If you have children in your home, do you have an
active or passive program for teaching them about
- Do you personally teach them, or do you mostly
leave it to the church? Or, the church school?
- If a stranger were in your home for two days,
what would the stranger see regarding the
influences on your children?
- Friend, what outsiders see in your home is no accident.
What we do proceeds from the nature of our heart. Hezekiah
told God ( Isaiah 38:3) that he had been faithful,
wholeheartedly followed God, and done what was right in
God’s eyes. But we see the worm of selfishness in him
blossom into a pride of achievement that brings down the
whole kingdom. Hezekiah comes to the point where he seems
to care only about himself. Guard your heart, friend, and
it will be reflected in your home.
- Next week: Turning Hearts in the End Time.