Hezekiah was 25 when his evil father King Ahaz died. He reigned as King of Judah for 29 years in Jerusalem. “And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.” (II Chronicles 29:2)
He set about repairing and then sanctifying the Temple which his father Ahaz had defiled. Then Hezekiah invited all Israel and Judah to come celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem. It was too late in the year for the Passover, but it couldn’t be celebrated at the correct time because the Temple had not yet been sanctified.
After the Passover celebration was over the people who had been there went out and cut down all the groves, destroyed all the images, altars, and high places that Ahaz had dedicated to evil and false gods.
Hezekiah continued with all his heart his work in service to the house of God, and God prospered him.
Sennaeherib the king of Assyria came into Judah with a mighty army to fight against Jerusalem. Sennaeherib started trash talking God, saying how he and the Assyrian kings before him had squashed many other lands whose feeble gods had not protected them. The God of Jerusalem was not going to deliver Jerusalem out of Sennaeherib’s hand and Jerusalem was going to be next to fall before him.
These insults to the God of Jerusalem were unacceptable. Hezekiah and Isaiah prayed and cried to Heaven over the evil of the Assyrians speaking against the God of Jerusalem. And the Lord answered “For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.” (II Kings 20:34) So that night the Angel of the Lord visited the camp of the Assyrians and in the morning it held 185,000 dead corpses.
Sennaeherib, the Assyrian king, returned to Ninevah. Later, as he was worshipping his false god, two of his sons killed him with the sword and a third son became king of Assyria.
After this Hezekiah became ill. The Lord sent Isaiah to tell Hezekiah to get his affairs in order because he was not going to get better, the Lord said he was going to die.
Hezekiah rolled over, faced the wall, and prayed to the Lord. “I beseech thee, O Lord, remember how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.” (II Kings 20:3)
Isaiah wasn’t even all the way out of the building before the word of the Lord came to him. “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: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the Lord. And I will add unto thy days fifteen years.” (II Kings 20:5,6) As a sign that God would truly grant Hezekiah the fifteen years the shadow of the sun moved backwards 10 degrees.
Hezekiah was a righteous man, only kings David and Solomon were written about more in the Bible. Notice what the Lord said in answering his prayer and giving him fifteen more years. “I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears.” He did not mention anything about walking before him in truth with a perfect heart, or doing that which is good in God’s sight. This is because no one can ever truly do these things well enough in God’s eyes — we are all sinners, but God loves us anyway. Hezekiah’s prayer was answered because of God’s love and compassion, not because Hezekiah deserved it.
God’s love and compassion are with us today, just as they were in Hezekiah’s time. The world is an imperfect place because of sin, but prayer remains a powerful force and Christ Jesus is ever present to intercede for us. Satan knows the power of prayer for good and fights to distract us and keep us from praying.
Pray, talk to God, know his power and forgiveness. The Lord may not spin the Earth back ten degrees or slay 185,000 enemies in a night to let you know he has heard you, but He will hear your prayer. Prayer has made a difference in my life, and prayer founded on faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior will make a difference in yours as well.