Let’s turn to II Kings, chapter twenty.
In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. [It seems that he had some kind of a severe boil. Must have been extremely severe, it was enough to put him in bed. The poison in his system. He was dying.] And so the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came unto him, and he said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live (20:1).
Rather than a prophecy, it seems that this was a warning from the Lord unto Hezekiah. “Get things right Hezekiah. You’re gonna die, and not live.” There is the importance of setting our house in order. None of us really expect to die. We’ve all put off things that we know that we should do, that we intend to do someday. But we think that we have forever. Thus we often times, put off very important things. Sometimes people even put off their relationship with God. How foolish, and how tragic.
I have never yet met a person who has accepted Jesus Christ, who really bemoaned the fact that they did it. I have met many who bemoaned the fact they waited so long to do it. Especially those that accepted Christ in their older years. How often they will rue the fact that they didn’t turn their lives over to Christ earlier. Because you can look back and see, “If we were just walking after the Lord and following Him, how many of the tragedies of life we could’ve averted, had we been seeking the guidance of the Lord, had we been walking in the Spirit, had we been living as God wanted us to live”. How many marriages would still be together, but people foolishly put off the most important thing in your entire life, and that is, making sure that you have a right relationship with God.
That right relationship can only come through Jesus Christ, who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the light, no man comes to the Father, but by me”. You say, “Well isn’t that rather narrow Chuck?” Yes it is, it’s very narrow. “And few there be that find it.” “Oh, but I think that all roads lead to God. I think that if you’re just sincere, God will accept you. I’m much broader than that narrow concept that you have”. Yes and, “Broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are, that go in thereat”. Who said that? Jesus. So don’t look to me, I’m no authority, but He is.
Then he turned his face [Hezekiah, when he heard he was gonna die, he turned his face.] to the wall, and he prayed unto the Lord (20:2),
I like Hezekiah. Now you have to realize that at this point he’s only thirty nine years old, and he hasn’t had a son as an heir yet, to the throne. Thirty nine’s pretty young, to get the summons from God, “Get your house in order man. It’s all over”. Not having yet a son to be heir to the throne, he turned his face to the wall. Probably to just sort of, there no doubt were a lot of people attending him, there in his illness, and just sort of turn away from the earthly, and to seek the Lord. I like Isaiah in the fact that whenever a problem came, he always resorted to prayer. You know, you remember when Sennacherib sent that letter to him, that was threatening, and all? He took the letter in before the Lord, and he opened it up there in the temple. He said, “Look what this guy has said Lord!”, and he opened up the letter before the Lord. He prayed, and he asked God’s help. Now at the crisis of life, the first thing he does is he resorts to prayer.
Tragic isn’t it that, that is often our last resort? Sort of the motto, “When everything else fails, pray”. But it was his first resort. I’ve found if you make prayer your first resort, you usually don’t get to the last resort. “Oh what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” Hezekiah was the kind of guy, when anything came up, he prayed about it. That’s what made him such a successful king.
He prayed, I beseech thee, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth with a complete heart, I’ve done that which is good in your sight. [Now the Lord had promised, to those that would walk in righteousness before Him, a long life. It’s one of the promises of God. Thus in the old testament, he was really saying, “Lord, in your word, you promised me a longer life, if I would do the good and right things, and Lord, I’ve done that which is good. I’ve done that which is right! Thirty nine years old is just to young to be cut off Lord.”] and Hezekiah wept sore (20:3).
Let’s turn for a moment, to Isaiah thirty eight, because Isaiah does give us uh, his prayer more completely. Isaiah was the prophet that came in and warned him, there in verse one, of the fact that the Lord had told him to get his house in order. So in the thirty eighth chapter, it reads very much like this chapter, with the exception that it does give us, more completely, his prayer.
“Hezekiah was sick unto death. Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said, Thus saith the Lord, Set your house in order: for thou shall die and not live.” Exactly the same. “Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, prayed unto the Lord, and he said, Remember Lord, I beseech thee, how I walked before thee in truth with a perfect heart…”, and so forth. “And Hezekiah wept sore.” Those three verses are word for word, from what we just read. “And then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying, Go, tell Hezekiah, Thus…”, and so forth.
Now, as we get down uh, verse nine. “The writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick, and recovered of his sickness:” So, this now gives you a little further insight to the prayer. This was what Hezekiah himself wrote of the incident. “I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave: and I am deprived of the residue of my years.” “Lord, I haven’t really lived out my life. If I go to the grave now, I’m being cut short.” “I said, I shall not see the Lord, even the Lord, in the land of the living: I shall behold man nor more with the inhabitants of the world.” “If I go to the grave now, it’s gonna be curtains. I’m gonna be cut off.”
Now this is indicative of the fact that, in the old testament, there wasn’t really very much hope in life after death. There were only hints, there were only sort of grasps, but they didn’t have the kind of promises that we have, through Jesus Christ. Job asked the question, “If a man dies, does he go on living?”, but with Job it was just a question. He said, “If I only knew that this was so, then it would be a lot easier to live. I could understand better the things that happen to me”. He had just gotten word that his ten children were killed. “Is that all? Is it all over for them? Is that it? If I only knew that they were continuing to live, then it would be a lot easier to deal with my grief.”
When David’s son died, after David’s prayer, and he was lying on his face, on the ground, praying for his sick son. They tried to get him to eat, he would, he refused to eat, just lying there, weeping. Then, his son died, and his servants said, “Uh oh, what are we gonna do? Man! The way he’s been grieving while his son was sick, he hears that the son has died, and it’s just gonna wipe him out! What shall we do?” David heard them whispering, he said, “Is the son dead?”, and they said, “Yes sir.” David got up, and took a bath, and he said, “Fix me something to eat”. They said, “Man you’re weird! We don’t understand you! Here your son is sick, and you’re lying on the ground, your face in the dirt, weeping, and crying, and now that your son is dead, you want to eat!” David said, “As long as he was alive, I was hoping that maybe God would change, and, and spare him. Now that he is dead, I really can’t do anything about it. I shall go to be where he is, but he cannot return to me”. Maybe a slight hint of the son still being alive, but there wasn’t any real definitive substantive promise, that took Jesus Christ in the New Testament.
It is in the New Testament where the doctrine of the resurrection is really developed. You don’t really have much hope in the Old Testament. So, Hezekiah without much hope, is saying, “Man I’ll be cut off you know, I won’t see anybody anymore! You know, I’m, I’m getting cut short. I’m gonna miss out on the residue of my years”. In fact, he went on to say, “My age is departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd’s tent: I am cut off like a weaver my life, I have cut off like a weaver my life: he will cut me off with pining sickness: from day even till night wilt thou make an end of me.” And, then he went on to say uh, verse eighteen, “For the grave cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee: they that go down to the pit cannot hope for thy truth.” In other words, “It’ll all be over. I can’t praise you if I’m in Sheol”, and the word “grave” there, is “Sheol”. “And if I’m in the grave, I can’t praise you and I can’t celebrate your holidays anymore. I can’t come on the feast days and worship you”.
So, not really any hope for the resurrection, life after death. That comes, as I say, with Jesus Christ in the new testament, who said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth on me, though he were dead, yet shall he live”. Now, Daniel did teach that in the last days, there would be a general resurrection. Some to eternal life, and some to eternal damnation. But, not really any substance to the teaching of the resurrection in the old testament. Thus, Hezekiah felt, “Hey if I die now, it’s all over.”
You see, with Paul, with the teaching, when they banished the teaching of Christ, wrote to the Philippians, and said, “Man have I got mixed emotions! Because, I have a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless, I know, for your sakes, I really should stick around awhile. You need me. So I feel drawn because of your need for me, from the earthly side, but oh, I’m really drawn from the heavenly side. I have a desire to be part and be with Christ, which is far better!”.
Of course, in writing to the Corinthians, he said, “For we who are in this body, do often groan, earnestly desiring to move out of them, not that I would become an unembodied spirit, but I want to be clothed upon with a body which is from heaven. For I know that as long as I am living in this body, I’m absent from the Lord. But I would choose rather, to be absent, I would choose rather to be absent from this body, and to be present with the Lord”.
See the hope of the resurrection, made a whole different attitude towards death. Rather than, “Oh that’s the end, you know I’ll never praise you again. I’ll never celebrate you know. I go down to the grave man, I’m being cut short, and lost everything”, and all. Not so with, with Paul in the new testament, and those who had the hope of the resurrection, through Jesus Christ. “He that liveth, and believeth in me”, Jesus said, “shall never die”. You’ll never be consciously separated from God!
So, coming back now, to II Kings. “He turned his face to the wall, prayed unto the Lord”. Started saying, “Lord you promised in your word, if a person would live the right kind of a life, he’d have long years. And he wept sorely.” I mean he really took it hard!
And it came to pass, before Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, [Now it could be that Isaiah stuck around for awhile, because in the thirty eighth chapter of Isaiah, it would seem that Hezekiah spent the night in prayer. In fact uh, he says, he mentions some interesting aspects to his prayer, there in chapter thirty eight, um, he said, “I reckoned till morning. That as a lion, so will he break all my bones. From day even to night wilt thou make an end of me? Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter”. That is a funny way to pray. “I did mourn as a dove. My eyes fail, with looking upward. Oh Lord, I’m oppressed, undertake for me.” If you want to really get into Isaiah’s, Hezekiah’s prayer, you can look at it. So it could be that Isaiah just sort of stood by him for awhile, and as he turned to leave, before he got out of the outer court. While he was still in the courtyard, the Lord spoke to him.] the word of the Lord came to him, saying (20:4),
Now, how did the word of the Lord come to Isaiah? Generally, the prophets received visions. “God, who at sundry times, divers manners, spoke to the, our fathers, by the prophets”. But, usually it was by vision. But, even in Hebrews, it recognizes, “divers manners”. So it was probably just the voice of the Spirit, to the heart of Isaiah, he recognized it as being from the Lord.
And so he turned again, to tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, [The Lord said, “Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people”,] Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: [He prayed, he wept. God said, “I’ve heard your prayer, I’ve seen your tears”. So it can be said of every one of you who have cried out unto the Lord, in a time of distress, some of you weeping before God over the situations and the problems that you face. The Lord hears your prayer, the Lord sees your tears.] behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up to the house of the Lord. [“In three days, you’ll be strong enough to go up to the temple to worship again, and to give thanks unto God.” “In three days, you’ll go up to the house of the Lord.”] And I will add to your days fifteen years; [“I’ll give you fifteen more years.”] and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; [“During you’re lifetime, you’ll be freed from the hand of the Assyrians.” Now the Assyrians made two more incursions, in this direction during Hezekiah’s life, but they never came to Jerusalem. The Lord delivered him out of the hand of the Assyrians.] and I will defend this city for my own sake, and for my servant David’s sake. And so Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs. And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered (20:5-7).
This to me is very fascinating. The Lord said, “I will heal thee”. But God uses different methods to do His work. Dried figs were used as a poultice, to put over the boil, to draw out the infection, the poison. Even as to the present time, they often use sort of flaxy types of poultices to draw out the poison from boils. Bring it to a head, draw out the poison, a lump of figs.
Now the Lord said, “I’m going to heal you”. But the method that God used, was the placing of this lump of figs over the boil. God does use medicine to bring healing to people. God doesn’t have to use medicine. God could just heal, without the fig poultice. But, God uses sometimes, medicine to bring help and healing to people, and there is nothing wrong with taking medicine, when you’re sick. I totally agree with those evangelists who are supposed healing evangelists, that decry anyone who goes to the doctor, as a sign of lack of faith. I’ve noticed that many of them wear glasses. Ha, ha!
I believe that God has given to man, tremendous insight, His knowledge of the body, the functions of the body. The chemical makeup of the body. We’re learning more and more, and I believe that God does help in guiding those researchers. Because God is basically interested in a person’s health. He created you, He wants you to be strong and healthy. He has provided information and knowledge, and there is nothing wrong with using medicines, when a person is sick. Now I say that, though I am one who never takes any medicines. I just, you know, tough it through. But, I see nothing wrong with it. Here, he pronounces, “The Lord is gonna heal you”. Then he instructs the people the method to use to bring the healing, by the putting of the figs, the dried figs, over the boil. So, I, I think that, that is a important thing to know.
Paul the apostle, writing to young Timothy, who was through Asia, getting all kinds of amoebas, having all kinds of stomach problems, because of the various polluted water systems. Paul writing to Timothy, probably at the suggestion of Luke, who was the physician, that was Paul’s companion, said, “Take a little wine for your stomach’s sake, and your oft infirmities”, and offering to him, sort of as a medicinal uh, usage of wine, to help in his stomach problems, caused by the polluted water of the area of Asia Minor, where Timothy was staying at the time.
So, don’t, don’t ever be guilty of trying to make God be confined to one method or one way. God is not confined to methods, or to ways and to singular ways of doing things. God is extremely diverse, and He can do things in many different ways, and He doesn’t want us to get to the place where we try to conform Him to a box. Whenever you try to box God in, to one method or one way, He’s gonna break that box every time! He’s gonna show that He can do things in diverse ways. He’s not bound to any single pattern. I’m really glad for that, because that means that you have to always leave every option open. It means that you don’t get discouraged, when one option fails. “Oh He didn’t do it that way! Terrible! It’s, He’s not gonna do it, you know”. Because He didn’t do it that way. (It’s, oh, He always does it.) God often times changes, and does things other ways, just so that we know that He’s not limited to one method, or one way of doing His work.
So Hezekiah recovered. But, when Isaiah gave him this promise, “In three days, you’re gonna go to the temple. You know, you’ll be strong enough to go to the temple to worship”…
Hezekiah said to Isaiah, What sign shall there be that the Lord will heal me (20:8),
He wanted a sign from the Lord, and in the Old Testament, they often asked God for a sign. You remember, Gideon said, “Give me a sign, that I’m sure that you’re an angel that’s talking to me. Let me put out a piece of wool on the ground, and if in the morning, it’s dry, and the ground is wet…”. Asking for a sign.
In the New Testament, Jesus said, “A wicked and an adulterous generation seeks after a sign”, in the New Testament, it was a sign of unbelief, to ask God for a sign. But, in the Old Testament, it was something that was done quite often. Now that we have Jesus Christ, what more proof do we need? He is the sign, once and for all, of God’s love for you!
But here this fellow’s asking for a sign. Now, his son Ahaz, Isaiah had come to him, and he said, “The Lord saith unto thee, Ask for me a sign. Ask from me a sign, either in heaven above or the earth below. Ask a sign”, and Ahaz said, “I’m not gonna ask for a sign”, and it was a sign of his unbelief. Ahaz was a wicked king, wouldn’t ask for a sign. He says, “Well, the Lord will give you one anyhow”. And he said, “A virgin’s gonna conceive, and bring forth a son, call his name Emmanuel”.
Actually, the sign that Ahaz refused, was the, the greatest sign to be given to man, concerning the Messiah, that He would be born of a virgin. Now Hezekiah’s saying, “Show me a sign, give me a sign. What shall be the sign the Lord will heal me. That I know, that in three days, I mean that’s an awful long time. I’m awful sick, you know, I feel miserable still, and how can I know that in three days I’m gonna be strong enough to go to the temple? Give me, what sign shall it be?”
And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing that he hath spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees? [That is the sundial. “Shall the shadow on the sundial go forward, or go backward ten degrees?”] And Hezekiah answered and said, [“Well if it would go forward, it wouldn’t be much. I mean, it means the sun fell a little bit in the sky maybe,”] but if it returned backwards [“It would be quite a sign!”] So Isaiah the prophet cried unto the Lord: [Now Isaiah prayed about it. The guy asked for a difficult sign. “Let the sundial go back ten degrees.”] and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down on the dial of Ahaz (20:9-11).
Fascinating! How do you explain it? I don’t. I don’t know, except that I don’t have any problem with it. Now, I know that it is a scientific impossibility. We know that the earth is rotating on its axis, and it would, it would appear to be, that maybe God just stopped it, and turned it back a little bit, and then spun it again.
Now, my concept of God, is such that I wouldn’t be troubled with it. I’m sure that God could do that. If God could create the universe, and the heavens are the work of His fingers, then it’d be no problem for God to just take, and bring the thing to a stop, and turn it backwards, and then give it another spin. There are other plausible scientific explanations. It could be a refraction of the sun, that was caused by a partial eclipse, which would give the appearance. If the moon would cross just a portion of the sun, and change the shadow, there would be a refraction, and it would appear that the shadow went back. That is a possible explanation. A partial eclipse of the sun, at that time. I don’t like that quite as well.
The God that I serve, can do anything. I have no problems. You say, “But the earth is spinning at a thousand miles an hour. If God would just suddenly stop the earth, man everybody would go flying off you know!” Well, you can, you can slow from a thousand miles an hour, down to zero in about ten minutes, without disturbing too much, without having to break too hard. You’re going a hundred miles an hour in your car, and you can break the thing down to a, a stop, in you know a mile or so distance. So God could, I mean God’s not dumb, He’s not gonna just Boop! You know, and stop the thing, and everybody fly off! I mean, do it in an orderly way. Of course He doesn’t have to spin it again with a thrust, He could start the thing up sort of slow, and build up the momentum again.
You’re going to be amazed when you find out how big God is! When you find out just how powerful God is. He is not controlled by the universe, He controls the universe. I can hardly wait to find out how wrong a lot of our brilliant scientists are. We’ve already found that out! My in just, in my lifetime they’ve been proven wrong in so many of their postulations. Their concepts in all of the universe. Even our fly by Jupiter, and ah, God’s done some real fascinating things. With Saturn, God sort of interwove those rings, just to really confuse them. I love it! He’s done a lot of interesting things out there, that, that just have us totally astounded. We think we’ve got it all figured out, and then we look closer, and we say, “Well no, that couldn’t be. My! Must be this…”, you know. They’re always speculating.
Many of their speculations have already proven to be false, as we gain further knowledge of the subject. Actually, remember before the lunar landing, all of the concern by the scientists that the space shuttle, or the space lab was gonna sink into seventeen feet of lunar dust? You know, “And we just might lose the thing in that lunar dust. Because, scientifically we know that the moon has been there for at least four billion years, and possibly as many as twelve billion, and it doesn’t really have an atmosphere to consume the meteorites, and so all of this meteorite dust, from all of the exploding meteorites that have struck the moon, throughout these twelve billion years or so, it must have at least, seventeen feet of dust!” So they had all the preparations of this thing just dropping into the dust! Blowing dust all over the place. There was a couple of inches. Ha, ha!
“Oh! Does that mean then that the moon hasn’t been there for twelve…”, “Oh no, no, no. Takes twelve billion years for a man to evolve from a protozoa to his present state. So we’ve gotta have twelve billion years. Because we know evolution is true. We just don’t understand why there isn’t more dust!” “Can’t be that the moon is a lot younger than we thought it was.” Figures don’t lie, but liars sure can figure! Doesn’t bother me how God did it, I believe that it happened, because the Bible says so. That’s all I need.
Now at this time Berodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, the king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah: for he heard that he had been sick (20:12).
So there came these envoys from Babylon. Now at this time, Babylon was just a little province, and it was being harassed by Assyria. In fact, it was sort of under the control of Assyria. This Baladan had made about three abortive attempts to revolt against Assyria. In sending to Hezekiah, the probable purpose was to form an alliance against Assyria. Because Assyria was the world power at that time, and most of the nations had been subdued by Assyria.
So, Assyria was too strong for any single nation to overthrow, and he no doubt, was looking for an alliance with Hezekiah. He had heard of the strength of the kingdom under Hezekiah, how Judah had become so strong, and how actually, a hundred and eighty five Assyrian soldiers were wiped out, when they came against Jerusalem in the siege. So he was looking, no doubt, for a sort of military alliance, that together they might join against Assyria. And so, hearing that Hezekiah was sick, he sends a present to him.
And Hezekiah hearkened to them, and he showed them all of his house, the precious things, the silver, the gold, and the spices, [Which were again, in that day, a sign of wealth.] the precious oils, he showed him his armory, and all that found in his treasures: there was nothing in all of his house or dominion that he didn’t show. [These guys. Was it showing off? Was it that he wanted to say, “Hey I can be a strong ally to you”. Or was it that he was looking himself, for an alliance, because Assyria was still a threat to him. Even though Isaiah said, “Don’t trust in the arm of flesh, trust in the Lord, the Lord will deliver you from the Assyrians”. Is it that he is sort of looking, to perhaps forge this alliance with Babylon, against Assyria? We don’t know, but anyhow, he showed them everything. His armory, and his wealth and all that he had.} And then came Isaiah the prophet to king Hezekiah, and he said, What did these men say to you? and from whence did they come unto thee? [He answers the second question first, sort of avoiding the first question.] He said, They’ve come from a far country, even from Babylon. [“A long way off!” And Isaiah pressed the first question again.] And he said, And what have they seen in your house? And Hezekiah answered, All the things that are in my house have they seen: nothing among my treasures that I have not showed them. And Isaiah said to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the Lord. Behold, the days will come, that all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord (20:12-17).
Here is the first prophetic indication that Babylon would be the conqueror of the southern kingdom, of Judah. Assyria had already conquered the northern kingdom. If you were there at the time, and if you were a analyst and all, and if you, you know were looking at the world powers, and all of this, you would say, “Well surely that major threat to Judah”, and if you were prophesying out of your own head, you’d be prophesying that Judah would fall to Assyria. That would be the logical assumption. But Isaiah is speaking from the Lord, he’s prophesying. “And it will not be Assyria that conquers Judah, it will be Babylon.”
Now, as time goes on, Isaiah in his prophecies, are, is going to make a lot of declarations concerning Babylonian’s conquering of Jerusalem. Jeremiah who prophesied a short while after Isaiah, will actually give a lot of specifics of the conquering of Judah, by Babylon. Isaiah later on, will not only tell of Babylon, which at this time was just a little provincial kingdom, of Babylon conquering Judah, he’s going to tell you how Babylon will be conquered by Medo-Persia, which were two smaller provinces inconsequential at that time. And, he will tell exactly how Medo- Persia will conquer Babylon, and he even names the king! Two hundred and fifty years before the king was born! So that when Isaiah says this happens, you’ll know that God was the one who was speaking, and He knew what He was talking about! So, quite interesting this prophet Isaiah. He is now showing that Babylon is going to be the one that is gonna carry off the treasures of Judah. Did it happen? Oh it most certainly did, just as he predicted. And he said…
Thy sons that shall issue from thee, [Wait a minute, he doesn’t have any sons yet, you see. Interesting. He’s sort of predicting, “You’re gonna have a son”. “Thy sons that shall issue from thee, your descendants, your progeny”.] which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon (20:18).
Jehoiakim, Zedekiah, Daniel, all of these were descendants of Hezekiah, who were carried away, and became chamberlains there in the palace of the king of Babylon. The prophecy of Daniel has that whole context. Daniel, and Azariah, and commonly known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed Nego, were the princes that were taken, when Nebuchadnezzar took the captives at his first captivity of Jerusalem. They were groomed to be eunuchs, there in the palace of the king.
Then said Hezekiah unto Isaiah, Good is the word of the Lord which you have spoken. [And, and I’m sure that all the guys thought, “Whew! What’s wrong with the king? He’s really sick! What do you mean good? He’s just told you, you know, that Babylon’s gonna come and carry away all your treasures, and your princes, and so forth. What’s good about that?”] And he said, It’s good if there is peace in my day? [Seems to me a rather selfish way of looking at it. “Well it’s not gonna happen during my lifetime, so”.] Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, all of his might, and how he made a pool, [That would be the pool of Siloam.] and a conduit, [That is that conduit, or cave under the mount Offal. 1,710 feet, carved out of solid rock from the spring of Gihon, which was outside of the walls, to the pool of Siloam, that he built within the walls. A tunnel that is about two feet wide, for the most part, from three to four feet high, some places it gets as much as, oh, twelve, fourteen feet. But it’s probably because at the first level they were too high, and then they had to dig the thing on down, as they got the engineers in there. They say, “Oh you guys have gone too high. You know, gotta go down”, and so at those places you got a higher roof on the tunnel. But it goes seven hundred, 1,710 feet through solid rock, brings the waters of the pool, or of the spring of Gihon, on into the uh, within the city walls at that time, to this big pool. He made the pool in Siloam. Beautiful engineering feat by the men, as they started at both directions. Tunneling through, met somewhere about the middle.] And so these things are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? [So we’ll come across Hezekiah twice more. Once when we get to the Chronicles of the kings of Judah, and then when we get to the book of Isaiah.] Now Hezekiah slept with his fathers: and Manasseh his son reigned in his stead (20:19-21).
Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, [Which means that he was born three years after Hezekiah’s prayer, that God would spare his life, which brings up now, an interesting point. Because we read, verse two.] Manasseh did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. He built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; he reared up altars for Baal, he made an Ashorem, as did Ahab the king of Israel; and he worshiped all the host of heaven, and served them. And he built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord said, In Jerusalem will I put my name. And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. And he made his sons pass through the fire, and he observed times, he used enchantments, he dealt with familiar spirits, and wizards: he wrought much wickedness into the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger. And he set an image of the Ashorem, [Or of Venus, a image designed to arouse the sexual passions.] and he placed it right in the temple, the house of the Lord, [I mean this guy was totally evil!] and he reigned for fifty five years in Jerusalem (21:1-7),
They never could completely recover, though under Josiah, his grandson, there was a spiritual reform, they never could recover from the damage that was done from Manasseh, and he sealed the fate of the kingdom. He actually sealed their fate.
Now, Hezekiah received the word of the Lord, “You’re gonna die, and not live”. He prayed, he cried, he wept, he chattered like a dove, he mourned, I mean chattered like a sparrow, mourned like a dove, and God said, “Okay. I’ll give you fifteen more years”. During that fifteen years, this horribly wicked son was born. Had he died at that time, it could be that the history of the nation could’ve been changed. At least Manasseh would never had, had this horrible reign.
Is there such a thing as the permissive will of God, versus the direct will of God? Is there such a thing as my insisting that God do something, which only proves to be to my own detriment? If I demand that God does things, a thing a certain way, and God in His love, and in His patience, sort of, in a sense, acquiesces to my insistence. Where I am sort of usurping my authority over God. My desire over God’s, and my will over God’s. “God I don’t care what your will is. This is what I want you to do!” And, can I enter into a shadowy realm of God’s permissive will. God permits me to do it, but it’s not His direct will for my life.
I think that a powerful case can be made for this. I do believe that there are many people who are living in the permissive will of God, rather than the direct will of God. In other words, they’re living far below the standards that God would have them to live. There are always adverse consequences. When I do not acquiesce to the will of God, when I insist, “I’m gonna go this way. Now God please, go along with me. Cause I’m gonna go this way. And I want you to go with me, but I’m going this way”.
You remember when Balaam prayed unto the Lord, when the messengers had come and said, “Balaak the king wants you to come and curse these people that are coming into his land”, and Balaam prayed to the Lord, and He said, “Thou shalt not go to the king, neither shalt thou curse them”. Balaam went out and said, “I can’t come fellas, and I can’t curse them. They’re God’s people, and I’m not gonna do it”. The king sent other messengers, loaded down with expensive gifts. They said, “The king desires that you come to him, and just advise him and give him counsel concerning these people passing through the land”. Balaam prayed again, I think if we could’ve heard his prayer after he saw all the loot. “You know Lord, come on! Please Lord, oh you can’t keep, Lord I’ve gotta go, Lord!”, you know, and the Lord finally said, “Okay, Go.” But the Lord wasn’t pleased with his going. Because the angel of the Lord stood in the back with a drawn sword. He was in the permissive will of God. God permitted him to go, but was not pleased with his going.
I think that, that’s possible. I think that we can insist on our way, and we can enter into this realm of the permissive will of God, rather than the direct will of God, and we suffer as the result. Or, as was the case with Hezekiah, the nation suffered as a result. Because Manasseh, this horribly evil king, was born three years after God extended his life for fifteen years.
“He was twelve years old when he began to reign.” According to extra biblical sources, he was the one that ordered Isaiah, the prophet, to be sawed in two. Isaiah the prophet, who had led his father, who had been such a powerful influence upon his father. Who was probably the spiritual force behind the tremendous reformation by Hezekiah. Isaiah this man of God, ordered, when he came to Manasseh, no doubt to rebuke him for the things he was doing, Manasseh ordered that he be sawed in two.
So, in the book of Hebrews, it talks about those of whom the world was not worthy, who were sawn asunder, means that they just sawed them in two. They believe that it was a reference to Isaiah, who was ordered sawed in two, by this wicked Manasseh.
I’ll tell you, for one, I am not interested in the permissive will of God for my life, I want the direct will of God for my life. Because I am convinced that God knows better than I, what’s best for me. I’m always reticent, reluctant to insist on my way. Lest I move from the direct will of God, to the permissive will of God, into that shadowy…, I’m not interested in the permissive will of God. I want God’s direct will for me.
So Manasseh, we get into the evils that he did. Actually all of the things that were done in the northern kingdom of Israel, before it fell, he did them all! In fact, in Jeremiah, chapter nineteen, we are told concerning this causing their children to be put in the fire, burning their children. Verse four, the Lord said, “Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place”, that is the temple, which we read that he put idols in the temple itself. Now, that’s worse than anything that has been done. Athaliah had built another temple, and had idols near by. She just let the temple of God just sort of go to ruin. Others had built idols around Jerusalem. No one had dared to be so sacrilegious, as to put pagan idols right in the temple of God, and a nude statue of the Ashtoreth, within the Holy of Holies. Horrible desecration by Manasseh! “And it’s because they have forsaken me, they’ve estranged this place, and have burned incense in it, unto other gods.” Talking about the temple.
They’ve made it strange to God, they’ve burned incense to other gods. “Whom neither they, nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah. They’ve filled this place with the blood of innocence. For they have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons in the fire, for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind.” So they were burning their children unto Baal.
According to Jeremiah, I mean according to uh, Ezekiel, there in the valley of Gehenna, the valley of Hinnom, just at the southeastern portion of the city of Jerusalem, according to Ezekiel, the prophet, the fires were continually burning. In other words, they were constantly burning their children down there, just one after another. The fires, they continually burned their children. You say, “How can they do that?” They, the little gods were so designed as to hold the children. They would put the gods in the fire, and heat them up until they were red hot, then they would lay the children in the arms. Then, as the children would burn, they would fall on down through the arms, into the fire. As their parents stood by worshiping Molech, and Baal. For this cause, God ordered their destruction.
These are the things that the people that lived in the land before them were doing. These were the things that sealed the fate of a society. But if there is a progression, there is first of all, the opening of the door to pornography. The grove, the Ashtoreth. The worship of the goddess Ashtoreth, in the Hebrew, Ashorem, in the Greek, Aphrodite, in the, in Rome, Venus, the sexual goddess.
In America, Madonna, at the present time. The worship of this woman, who is the epitome of sexual enticement. Who does all kinds of horrible things on stage. While in Costa Mesa here, did unspeakably horrible things. Simulating oral copulation with one of the guitarists, when she was on stage here in Costa Mesa. Yet the people paid big sums of money to go and hear her, to watch her, to get excited. It’s the same thing they were doing. When you have this kind of sexual excitement, through pornography, through the, and they had it in those days. They didn’t have printing presses like we have, and so they did it with statues, images. The female statues in all types of provocative positions. Sometimes, male and female together, then as it progressed, it was male, and male.
For these things, God destroyed the nation. For these things, God destroyed the nation of Israel, for these things God will soon be destroying the nation of Judah. For these things, God destroyed the nations that were before them. For these things, God destroyed Greece. For these things God destroyed Rome. Now, when you have this kind of sexual freedom, and sexual activities, the by product is unwanted pregnancies.
In those days, they were not scientifically developed enough to have abortions. So they would have the babies, but then after the babies were born, they would bring them down, and they would burn them in the fires, unto their gods, Molech, and Baal. It was just getting rid of the unwanted babies. Today, we are a little more cultured. We burn them in the womb, with saline solution, but we’re doing the same thing! Well, you see the one leads to the other. Free sex, freedom of sexual expression, pornography leads to unwanted pregnancies. Illegitimate children. They become a problem to the society. So the society must get rid of them. And, 1,000,500 were aborted in the United States, last year.
Tell me we are not worshiping Molech, tell me we’re not worshiping Baal. Tell me we’re not worshiping Ashorem. Don’t kid yourself! Tell me God will be lenient, He’ll let it pass, He’s asleep, He’s unaware, He doesn’t care. Not so. He is merciful, He is patient, He is longsuffering. But He’s also, just. America will get her just deserts. If we don’t repent and change, it will be very soon.
Manasseh created the die, that they could not break. The things that his father had undone, he did. The high places he tore down, Manasseh built. The images his father destroyed, Manasseh created new ones. Verse seven.
He set the graven image of the Ashorem [This female sex goddess.] that he had made in the house, of which the Lord said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I’ll put my name forever. [In this very place, he put this idol, image, of this female sex goddess.] Neither [he said] will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave to their fathers; only [These promises God said, “My face will be here forever, and I’ll not move them out of the land,] if [Conditional promise.] they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all of the law that my servant Moses commanded them. But they hearkened not: and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel (21:7-9).
They were worse than those nations that God had destroyed before them!
So the Lord spoke by his servants the prophets, saying, Because Manasseh the king of Judah has done these abominations, and has done more wickedness than all of the Amorites, which were before him, and has made Judah also to sin with his idols. Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Behold, I am bring such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever hears of it, both of his ears shall tingle. [In other words, “It’ll bring pain to your ears, when you hear what I’m gonna do”. The suffering, the pain, the agony that these people are gonna go through!] For I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, [God is no respecter. God is saying, “I judged Samaria for these things, I’m gonna judge Judah”.] and the plummet of the house of Ahab: I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipes a dish, and wiping it, turns it upside down. And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; they shall become a prey and a spoil to all of their enemies; Because they have done that which is evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day. Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the Lord (21:10-16).
Now, we are also told, and this was the final straw. We are also told, that next to the temple of God, he set up this place of worship of the female god, and had these priestesses, which were nothing but prostitutes, that would, well the worship of the god was in all kinds of lewd, and lascivious sexual acts. But then also, beside these priestesses, which were prostitutes, there were also the homosexuals, that came out in the open. They came out of the closet, and they too were parked next to the temple of God. This was the final straw, when they did this, God said, “That’s it”, and God allowed them to be destroyed.
It seems like the final movement in the death of a nation, if you will look at it from a historic standpoint, is when a nation becomes so morally corrupt, that the homosexuals become brazen, and begin to parade, and begin to not be ashamed of the things that they do, but brazenly flaunt their homosexual preferences. This is what happened in Sodom. This is what happened in Judah, as we will get to the history, as we find it in Chronicles. This is what happened in Greece. This is what happened in Rome, and if you’re a student of history, you know that I tell you the truth. Look where we are today, in the United States. I mean the final abomination, we can’t last much longer.
The rest of the acts of Manasseh, all that he did, his sin, they’re written in the book of chronicles. [We’ll get it.] Manasseh slept with his fathers, was buried in the garden of his own house, the garden of Uzza: and Amon his son reigned in his stead. [Now Amon was just as bad as his dad.] He was twenty two years old when he began to reign, he reigned only for two years. [Thank God, and it’s a blessing to Jerusalem.] And his mother’s name was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah. [Jotbah.] And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as his father Manasseh did. He walked in all the ways that his father walked, and he served the idols that his father served, and he worshiped them: And he forsook Jehovah the God of his fathers, and walked not in the way of Jehovah. And the servants of Amon conspired against him, and slew him in his own house. And the people of the land slew all of them that had conspired against king Amon; and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead. And the rest of the acts of Amon which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? He was buried in the sepulchre in the garden of Uzza: and Josiah his son reigned in his stead (21:17-26).
Now Josiah, interestingly enough, good king. Interesting, I mean man, you got such tremendous contrast here! Hezekiah, good king. His father, Ahaz, evil king. Manasseh horrible king. Amon, a horrible king, but he only lasted two years. Now, Josiah come to the throne, a good king, and because of him, the nation is spared for awhile. But after his death, whew! Down hill! Down and out! We’ll follow the progression, as we continue through the book of II Kings.
So much for us to learn! You’ve heard that history repeats itself. In a sense that is true, because though times have changed, man hasn’t. If man will follow a certain progression. As you open one door, it forces the other, and the other, and the other, and they’re like dominoes, you tilt the first one, and they all go down the line. The one thing follows the other. When you open the door to one form of worship of pagan gods, and the worship of sex is the worship of a pagan god, and goddess. You open that door, then all of these other things fall into line. They sort of necessitate the other. If the Supreme Court opens the door to pornography, and to freedom of sex expression. Then they’ve got to open the door to abortions, because the one, leads to the other. Unwanted pregnancies.
So, we see that progression, and history repeating itself. We can see it happening here. Apart from a divine sovereign work of God, the days of this nation are numbered. Perhaps in my lifetime, perhaps not in my lifetime. But I don’t rejoice in that, and say, “Oh good it won’t happen in my life”, because I have kids, and grandkids around, that I’m deeply concerned about. So you know what I’m praying, “Jesus come and get your church, and then come and bring your judgement”. I’m ready for the Lord to take His church out of this mess, and I believe He will, before He allows His judgement to fall. But believe me, His judgement is pending, and our nation deserves it. Let’s pray.
Father, it’s solemn, it’s serious, the sins of the nation, as we look Lord, at the downward spiral. We see the abominations that are taking place within the United States today. Lord our hearts are sick, when we see how people have defiled Your name. Rebelled against Your law. Have sought to put You out of the public consciousness, so that they can do these things without any feelings of guilt or remorse. So they can abort all of these children, without any pangs of conscience. So they can live immoral lifestyles, without feeling guilty. Lord we see that You’ve already begun Your judgement. For You are not mocked. We see Lord, how the AIDS epidemic has begun to take it’s toll. We realize Lord, that the plague has already started within the land. Lord, help us, as Your people, to turn to You with all of our hearts. For we know that when the judgements of the Lord are in the land, it will cause His people to turn to righteousness. Lord, being Your people, help us that we will turn to righteousness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Over, and over, and over, the prophet sent by God said to the people, “Get right with God”. Our word to you tonight is, “Get right with God”. As Isaiah said unto the king, “Set your house in order”, and the time has come. You better get your house set in order, get right with God, get right with your fellow man, but the one includes the other. You can’t be right with God, without being right with your fellow man. You can’t love God, and hate your fellow man. Set your house in order. Because you don’t have much time.