Bible Study: Isaiah 38:1-22
Today’s lessons covers the miraculous healing of King Hezekiah and his song of praise in response to God’s miracle.
Isaiah Chapter 38
Lessons from the text
The Order of Healings
In Luke, we read the story of a man with the palsy who was brought to Jesus for healing. When Jesus beheld the faith of the man and his friends, He forgave the man of his sins. The Pharisees who were around accused Jesus of blasphemy because only God can forgive sins and, if Jesus was not God, then he was reducing the divine power of God to something in man’s authority. To prove that He is divine, Jesus then heals the lame man, having him rise up and walk. (Lk 5:18-26)
Why did Jesus wait to heal the man of his palsy? Was He waiting to display His power?
Consider another question: would Jesus have healed the lame man’s body at all if the Pharisees had not accused Him of being only a man?
God is far more concerned with the state of your soul than He is about your body. Yes, He does not want to see you suffer, but He also allows suffering to sharpen your soul. Job is the perfect example. God allowed satan to do terrible things to Job’s body just so God could refine an arrogance inside of Job’s heart. If Job had never gone through his trial, he would never have gotten closer to God.
This also seems true of King Hezekiah: after his illness Hezekiah admitted that he had been in sin. Realizing that he was about to die, the king examined his soul and cried out to God. And when he sought God, God answered.
Jesus was not healing the man of the palsy. He was healing the man of his sins. The man’s physical healing was a rebuke of the Pharisees’ accusation. It was a testimony that He was the Son of God.
We can, therefore, draw a conclusion: God is interested in the condition of the soul. Any physical healing is an extension of His grace to His believers and a witness to those around that there is a God; it is not God’s main focus.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1 Even though Hezekiah has already shown great faith, trouble still comes his way. God rains on the just and the unjust (Mt 5:45). Being saved does not make one suddenly immune to the problems of this world. Being saved does, however, mean that one has the promise of being able to overcome all troubles through Jesus Christ (Jn 16:33, Phi 4:13)
2-3 Hezekiah has trusted God to deliver his people from an invading army. Now, he trust God to deliver him from death. He knows that God does not punish His servants. In sincere tears, he reminds God of how faithful he has been in the hope that God will consider his pain and alleviate it.
4-5 With grace, God answers Hezekiah’s prayer. When a trouble comes, instead of blaming God in frustration or being defeated by simply accepting it as the divine will of God, be honest with God. Tell Him how painful,how frustrating, or how difficult it is. Trust that God will see and answer the pain of the heart with mercy, grace, and love. Even if He does not deliver one from the trouble, He will give one peace to endure it. Consider Stephen. About to be stoned to death, God grants him a vision of Jesus, giving him the strength to meet death with compassion for those who are killing him (Act 6:8-7:60).
6 God delivers on a personal and a national level.
7-8 In a wondrous display of power, God moves the shadow back ten degrees, or forty minutes. Did He make the earth go back in its orbit? Did He spin the earth backwards while still keeping gravity intact? There is no way to rationalize how God could perform such a miracle. Instead of letting the mind be puzzled by God’s miracles, recognize and celebrate a glorious display of sovereign authority. God can and will do anything He pleases at any time—and that is a good thing!
10-14 Hezekiah begins the song by conveying how resigned he had been to death. He had been so focused on his failing body that he even began to fail to look upwards to God. He was believing that God was the cause of his illness, saying that God will break his bones. He compared this state of despair to the continual, pointless chatter of a crane.
15 Hezekiah concludes his defeat by resigning to the belief that he would silently bear the bitterness of his soul all the days of his life. When in a trial, it is difficult to recognize that one is in the wrong mindset. Now that Hezekiah has recovered, he is able to look back and see that his illness had clouded his judgment and feelings towards God.
16-17 Shifting now to the correct perspective of his illness, Hezekiah writes that his sins had caused his bitterness, not God. The Lord is interested in life and healing. Even though God had granted him peace, Hezekiah had turned it to bitterness by being caught up in corruption. His problem was not his physical illness; it was the sin that he had allowed in his life. God used his illness to make Hezekiah aware of his sin, thus giving him the opportunity to repent. Then, after he had repented, God forgave him of his sins and healed his physical body. God wants to heal the soul first. It is eternal. The human body is a mortal shell that He may or may not heal in this life.
18 Hezekiah acknowledges that the dead cannot be a witness of a living God. The dead do not go around proclaiming His marvelous works. In addition, preaching to the dead is of no effect as they finished the stage of existence where they can turn to God.
19 One of the privileges of man is to praise God while on earth. One gets the blessed opportunity to share with others about His love and mercy. God often heals His servants of physical ailments so that they may continue their mission of declaring God’s works. Additionally, the miracles of God are a testimony and witness to nonbelievers that He is real and that He has all authority. Miraculous healings are a blessing of grace to the believer while also serving as a declaration to nonbelievers of God’s existence.
20 Hezekiah promises to follow through with God’s mission for man: to praise God and teach the next generation about Him.
21-22 As an afterthought, the Scriptures records additional information to help provide context for Hezekiah’s song. The Lord was ready, or prepared, to save Hezekiah in that He already knew the remedy, and He provided a sign to Hezekiah because the king had wanted proof that Isaiah spoke truthfully.
Thank you for your faithfulness in studying God's word.
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