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Lesson 12: What Have They Seen in Your House? *

Introduction: Hezekiah was a great king! He followed God's will and turned his country away from idol worship. When he faced death, he turned to God for help. In most ways he was faithful to God. But, he lacked discretion and he struggled with pride. These problems brought great harm to his country and his descendants. How about you? Does your lack of discretion, your pride, or your lack of obedience undermine your desire to advance God's Kingdom? Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and Hezekiah to see what we can learn!

  1. Reprieve


    1. Read Isaiah 38:1-3. God determined it is the end for Hezekiah, but gives him time to put his "house in order." On what basis does Hezekiah ask for God to change His mind? (He recites his good works. He is bitterly sad.)


    2. Read Isaiah 38:4-5. Why does God add fifteen years to the life of Hezekiah? (His prayer and his tears.)


      1. Why does God not mention Hezekiah's good works?


    3. Read Isaiah 38:6. What else does God promise to Hezekiah? (That they will be safe from the Assyrians. You may remember that Hezekiah has a history with the Assyrians. See Isaiah 36.)


      1. Why did God add that promise? (Imagine what it would be like to have an additional fifteen years of captivity!)


      2. Read 2 Kings 20:6 for the parallel account. What reason for defending the city do we find here? (God defends the city for His sake and for David.)


        1. What does this teach us about a great relationship with God? (That it will be a blessing to our descendants.)


      3. I pay attention to research articles that say that if you do "X" then you will have an additional five years of life. So far, I'm doing so many of these things that I should live to be 150! What does this story tell us about our longevity and our God? (Our life is in God's hands.)


    4. Read Isaiah 38:7. Why would Hezekiah need a sign? Is God's word not enough? (Read the parallel account in 2 Kings 20:8. Hezekiah asked for a sign. Apparently, God's word was not enough for him. Some commentators say this is not a sign of Hezekiah's doubt, but that it was routine to ask for a sign.)


    5. Read 2 Kings 20:9-11. Do you agree that it is easier for the shadow to go forward than it is to go back? (As I understand science, the sign is a much greater display of power then the healing. God has altered the position of the earth or sun! It is also possible that God altered perceptions or changed the light in that area.)


      1. What does this teach us about God's attitude towards us? (God not only increased Hezekiah's life, but He showed His long-suffering nature by performing a miracle to bolster His word. Plus, He let Hezekiah choose the details of the miracle.)


  2. Pride


    1. Read 2 Chronicles 32:24-25. How did Hezekiah respond to God's extension of his life? (We see another parallel account which provides the additional information that somehow Hezekiah did not respond properly to what God has done for him.)


      1. How do you think Hezekiah displayed his pride in the face of a miracle? (My guess is that he decided that he deserved to have his life extended. It was unfair that he should die now. God owed him a longer life. If you read Isaiah 38:9-17 gives some evidence for this theory, although the evidence is mixed at best.)


        1. Do we have this attitude - that we deserve the good things that happen to us?


    2. Isaiah 39:1. Isn't it great when you are sick to be remembered by friends in high places?


    3. Read Isaiah 21:1-2. The Bible Knowledge Commentary says that this "invader" is Marduk, the same fellow who wrote the letter to Hezekiah. He had invaded Assyria, captured Babylon, and was crowned "King of Babylon." Now do you think that this is only a friendly, I'm glad you got well, letter? (Recall the earlier mention that Hezekiah had a history with the Assyrians? He had been threatened and insulted by them, and God miraculously delivered Judah. The letter writer was a man who had attacked the Assyrians. It makes sense that he reached out to Hezekiah to gain an ally against the Assyrians.)


    4. Read Isaiah 39:2. Why would Hezekiah show his wealth and his weapons to the representatives of Marduk?


    5. Read 2 Chronicles 32:31. God says that the visit from Marduk's representatives is a test. A test of what? (Recall that Hezekiah has a problem with pride.)


      1. Assuming that we are correct that pride is the issue, how is this a test of Hezekiah's pride problem? (The obvious answer is that it shows that Hezekiah is rich. The less obvious answer is that it shows that Hezekiah is a worthy ally to help defeat the Assyrians.)


    6. Read Isaiah 10:5 and Isaiah 10:10-13. Why is Assyria referred to as "the rod of [God's] anger?" (God is using that pagan nation to punish the disobedient.)


      1. Who are among the disobedient? (Isaiah prophesied that the Assyrians would punish God's people for their idolatry.)


    7. How would you analyze what Hezekiah is doing? What does this have to do with a test of Hezekiah's pride? Remember that he is a good king and he destroyed the idols to false Gods. (Instead of letting God work this out, instead of relying on God's promise to be safe from the Assyrians during his lifetime, Hezekiah is attempting to take the defeat of the Assyrians into his own hands.)


  3. Sad Attitude


    1. Read Isaiah 39:3-6. How does Hezekiah's pride and his potential war plan backfire? (Marduk will attack Judah. He is not seeking to make an ally of Hezekiah. God promised that Judah would be safe from Assyria, but now Hezekiah has brought Babylon to their door.)


    2. Read Isaiah 39:7-8. How can Hezekiah consider this to be a good word? (Only if you look at this in the most selfish way can this be considered "good." He descendants, his family, will be captives. They will be castrated. This makes me think much less highly of Hezekiah.)


    3. Let's go back and review some of Hezekiah's achievements. Read 2 Kings 20:20, 2 Chronicles 31:21 and 2 Chronicles 32:30. Hezekiah's life was one of promoting the true God and his worship. He improved Jerusalem in ways that would be lasting achievements. How is this consistent with Hezekiah's "good word" comments about the terrible future for Jerusalem and his family? (I think this is a reversal of everything that Hezekiah has tried to do during his lifetime.)


      1. What is at the bottom of Hezekiah suffering a reversal of everything that he has worked for during his life, including many great religious works? (Pride. Self interest.)


      2. Re-read 2 Chronicles 31:21. Who made Hezekiah rich? (God did.)


      3. How do we separate enjoying the prosperity of a life well-lived from pride in our prosperity? (Re-read 2 Chronicles 32:25. The Bible tells us that Hezekiah's failure was not responding to God's kindness. I think this means he did not show gratitude towards God for prospering him and saving his life.)


    4. Friend, what do others see in your life? What do they see in your house? Do they see pride? Self-centeredness? Or, do they see gratitude towards God for His kindness? Why not ask the Holy Spirit right now to give you the right attitude? An attitude that will draw others towards God?


  4. Next week: Turning Hearts in the End Time.
* Copr. 2019, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2019 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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