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!

  1. Hezekiah’s Illness

    1. Read Isaiah 38:1. Put yourself in Hezekiah’s place. What
      are your thoughts?

      1. 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.)

      2. Read Isaiah 38:10-11 where Hezekiah recounts his

    2. Read Isaiah 38:2-3. What kind of attitude does Hezekiah
      have? (I deserve to live. I’m a good guy.)

      1. 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.)

    3. Read Isaiah 38:4-6. What does this teach us about our God?
      (He is compassionate to us. He listens to us.)

      1. What kind of relationship did Hezekiah have with God?
        (It seems that they were in regular contact through
        the prophet Isaiah.)

    4. 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.)

      1. The stairs were some sort of sun-dial. What is the
        significance of this sign? (God is altering time for

      2. Why such a remarkable sign from God? (Because He
        could! Consider God’s compassion and unprecedented
        power when you face difficult circumstances.)

    5. 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

      1. Should you see a doctor when you are sick and need a
        miracle? (Yes. There is precedent for it right here.)

  2. Hezekiah’s House

    1. Read Isaiah 39:1-2. What caused the King of Babylon to
      contact Hezekiah and send envoys? (News of his recovery.)

      1. How likely is it that the Babylonians noticed that
        the sun went backwards?

      2. 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.)

      3. Instead, what did Hezekiah highlight? (Himself. All
        of his wealth pointed to him as a great and
        successful king.)

    2. Read 2 Chronicles 32:31. In God’s eyes, what was the visit
      from the Babylonian envoys? (A test of what was in
      Hezekiah’s heart.)

      1. 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.)

      2. 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?

    3. 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.)

    1. Read Isaiah 39:5-7. How does the test turn out for

      1. 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?

    2. Read Isaiah 39:8. What does this teach us about Hezekiah’s
      attitude at this stage in his life? (The man is incredibly

      1. Is praying that our will be done selfish?

      2. Is praying that our will be done foolish?

  1. Hezekiah’s Family

    1. 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
      freed them.)

      1. Where were Hezekiah’s descendants heading? (Isaiah
        39:7: slavery.)

        1. 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.)

    2. Read Deuteronomy 6:4-8. What should be our attitude
      towards our children?

      1. If you have children in your home, do you have an
        active or passive program for teaching them about

        1. Do you personally teach them, or do you mostly
          leave it to the church? Or, the church school?

        2. If a stranger were in your home for two days,
          what would the stranger see regarding the
          influences on your children?

    3. 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.

  2. Next week: Turning Hearts in the End Time.