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(Friday, 10-26-07) Prayer 20 - Hezekiah's Prayer for Healing

Read first:
2 Kings 20:1-11

Hezekiah had just been the recipient of a major rescue by God’s hand. Sennacherib, king of Assyria had been turned away from his military plans to defeat Judah. This was a specific answer to Hezekiah’s prayer.

However, somewhere near that same time, Hezekiah became ill. The text says that he suffered from some kind of “boil” but it’s not clear exactly what it was.

Regardless, Hezekiah responded much like many do when faced with a terminal illness. But, as before during times of crisis, Hezekiah turned to God in prayer. In response, God granted him 15 more years of life.

What Can We Learn?
1. Hezekiah’s situation reminds us of the reality of life — often it seems that serious setbacks happen right after great victories.
2. Hezekiah’s response was to turn his face to the wall. It appears to be a common response still seen today in what we call the “grief process.”
3. Read Ex. 15:26. Do you think this might have been in Hezekiah’s mind when he prayed?
4. Hezekiah shows us that in prayer we can seek to change the mind of God.
5. However, there is little to comfort us with regard to the extra 15 years. His son Manasseh was born, but became a wicked man. 2 Chron 32:25 tells us that Hezekiah gave no return for the benefit. Instead he became proud. Perhaps it would have been best for him to have died sooner.
6. This is a perplexing prayer. Did prayer demonstrate his faith, or would faith have allowed him to accept God’s news that he was to die?

Questions to Ponder
1. What do you think might have been some of Hezekiah’s responses to the news that he was going to die, especially since the news came so soon following God’s assistance in the problem with the Assyrians?
2. What are some of the responses generally recognized as part of the “grief process?”
3. Is it right or wrong to pray for physical healing?
4. Is it right or wrong to seek to change God’s mind about things?
5. What major failure on Hezekiah’s part, worked to turn the blessing of 15 extra years of life into a negative?
6. In what way(s) does the episode of Hezekiah’s illness and prayer illustrate the need for faith in God? In such cases, what is faith in God?
7. Would you rather get news like Hezekiah did or not? Why?
8. How would you seek to help someone who just got such news?

1 comment:

Twisting his arm said...

Today's study really hit home with me. I want to assist with hospital visits in the near future through our church and many of the people I will be visiting will be facing these same exact questions. I am going to take some time and really process this study and seek God's wisdom for the answers.