1. KING HEZEKIAH PRAYS FOR A MIRACLE
a. What was said of Hezekiah’s reign over Judah? 2 Kings 18:1–3.
“Hezekiah came to the throne determined to do all in his power to save Judah from the fate that was overtaking the northern kingdom. The messages of the prophets offered no encouragement to halfway measures. Only by most decided reformation could the threatened judgments be averted.”—Ibid., p.331.
b. What happened to King Hezekiah in the midst of his prosperous reign? 2 Kings 20:1. How did Hezekiah respond to the prophet’s disheartening message? 2 Kings 20:2, 3.
c. What message did the prophet bring back to Hezekiah? 2 Kings 20:4–6.
“Gladly the prophet returned with the words of assurance and hope. Directing that a lump of figs be laid upon the diseased part, Isaiah delivered to the king the message of God’s mercy and protecting care.”—Ibid., p.342.
2. HEZEKIAH’S MIRACULOUS BLESSING
a. Since Hezekiah wanted to be sure that the message was from God, what did he ask? 2 Kings 20:8.
“Like Moses in the land of Midian, like Gideon in the presence of the heavenly messenger, like Elisha just before the ascension of his master, Hezekiah pleaded for some sign that the message was from heaven. . . .
“Only by the direct interposition of God could the shadow on the sundial be made to turn back ten degrees; and this was to be the sign to Hezekiah that the Lord had heard his prayer. Accordingly, ‘the prophet cried unto the Lord: and He brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz’ (2 Kings 20:11).”—Prophets and Kings, p. 342.
b. Through what miracle was the Lord still willing to show His mercy to his servant? 2 Kings 20:7.
“Those who seek healing by prayer should not neglect to make use of the remedial agencies within their reach. It is not a denial of faith to use such remedies as God has provided to alleviate pain and to aid nature in her work of restoration. It is no denial of faith to cooperate with God and to place themselves in the condition most favorable to recovery.”—The Ministry of Healing, pp. 231, 232.
c. What song did Hezekiah compose in recognition of God’s mercy? Isaiah 38:10–20.
“Restored to his wonted strength, the king of Judah acknowledged in words of song the mercies of Jehovah and vowed to spend his remaining days in willing service to the King of kings. His grateful recognition of God’s compassionate dealing with him is an inspiration to all who desire to spend their years to the glory of their Maker.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 342.
3. HEZEKIAH’S FAILURE
a. What mistake did Hezekiah make when he received the ambassadors from Babylon? 2 Kings 20:12, 13.
“The visit of these messengers from the ruler of a far-away land gave Hezekiah an opportunity to extol the living God. How easy it would have been for him to tell them of God, the upholder of all created things, through whose favor his own life had been spared when all other hope had fled! What momentous transformations might have taken place had these seekers after truth from the plains of Chaldea been led to acknowledge the supreme sovereignty of the living God!”—Ibid., pp.344.
b. Why does the Lord often allow us to make mistakes as it happened in the case of Hezekiah? 2 Chronicles 32:25, 31.
“Had Hezekiah improved the opportunity given him to bear witness to the power, the goodness, the compassion, of the God of Israel, the report of the ambassadors would have been as light piercing darkness. But he magnified himself above the Lord of hosts.”—Ibid., p.346.
c. What lesson should we learn from the story of Hezekiah’s failure? Proverbs 2:6–11; 11:2; 16:18; 21:2.
“The story of Hezekiah’s failure to prove true to his trust at the time of the visit of the ambassadors is fraught with an important lesson for all. Far more than we do, we need to speak of the precious chapters in our experience, of the mercy and loving-kindness of God, of the matchless depths of the Saviour’s love. When mind and heart are filled with the love of God, it will not be difficult to impart that which enters into the spiritual life. Great thoughts, noble aspirations, clear perceptions of truth, unselfish purposes, yearnings for piety and holiness, will find expression in words that reveal the character of the heart treasure.”—Ibid., pp.347, 348
4. HEZEKIAH FILLED WITH REMORSE
a. As soon as the Babylonian ambassadors left, the Lord sent Isaiah to rebuke Hezekiah for his mistake. What did the prophet say? 2 Kings 20:16–18.
“To Isaiah it was revealed that the returning ambassadors were carrying with them a report of the riches they had seen, and that the king of Babylon and his counselors would plan to enrich their own country with the treasures of Jerusalem. Hezekiah had grievously sinned; ‘therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem’ (2 Chronicles 32:25).”—Ibid., p.346.
b. Filled with remorse, what did the king say as he humbled himself before the Lord? 2 Chronicles 32:26; 2 Kings 20:19.
“The evil seed had been sown and in time was to spring up and yield a harvest of desolation and woe. During his remaining years the king of Judah was to have much prosperity because of his steadfast purpose to redeem the past and to bring honor to the name of the God whom he served; yet his faith was to be severely tried, and he was to learn that only by putting his trust fully in Jehovah could he hope to triumph over the powers of darkness that were plotting his ruin and the utter destruction of his people.”—Ibid., p.347.
c. What success as missionaries can we expect if we do not set a good example before others? 1 Timothy 4:12, 16; Hebrews 12:13.
“Those with whom we associate day by day need our help, our guidance. They may be in such a condition of mind that a word spoken in season will be as a nail in a sure place. Tomorrow some of these souls may be where we can never reach them again. What is our influence over these fellow travelers? . . . One reckless movement, one imprudent step, and the surging waves of some strong temptation may sweep a soul into the downward path.”—Ibid., p.348.
“One example is worth more than many precepts.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 149.
5. WATCHING OUR LIPS AND OUR STEPS
a. What does God expect of every true follower of Christ? James 2:12.
b. What will leave us without excuse before the judgment seat of God? Romans 2:1–3.
“Every day of life is freighted with responsibilities which we must bear. Every day, our words and acts are making impressions upon those with whom we associate. How great the need that we set a watch upon our lips and guard carefully our steps! One reckless movement, one imprudent step, and the surging waves of some strong temptation may sweep a soul into the downward path. We cannot gather up the thoughts we have planted in human minds. If they have been evil, we may have set in motion a train of circumstances, a tide of evil, which we are powerless to stay.
“On the other hand, if by our example we aid others in the development of good principles, we give them power to do good. In their turn they exert the same beneficial influence over others. Thus hundreds and thousands are helped by our unconscious influence. The true follower of Christ strengthens the good purposes of all with whom he comes in contact. Before an unbelieving, sin-loving world he reveals the power of God’s grace and the perfection of His character.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 348.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What happened to king Hezekiah in the midst of his prosperous reign?
2. After he had earnestly prayed to the Lord, what answer did he receive?
3. What mistake did Hezekiah make when he received the ambassadors from Babylon?
4. What lesson should we learn from the story of Hezekiah’s failure?
5. In order to have success as Christian missionaries, how must we watch our lips and our steps?