Today’s Scripture: 2 Kings 19:14-19; 20:1-11
Hezekiah was a man of prayer. For example, when the king of Assyria threatened him and his kingdom, Hezekiah went to the temple and prayed for divine intervention. His prayer included acknowledgement of God’s greatness and his own desire that “. . . all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone are God” (see 2 Kings 19:19). A sincere prayer with pure motives. God heard and miraculously delivered. And they all lived happily ever after.
Sorry. Not quite.
When Hezekiah was thirty-nine, he became very ill. On a hospital visit, Isaiah delivered the bad news that Hezekiah’s days were numbered and he should put his house in order. Distressed, the king turned his face to the wall and prayed. This time, however, his prayer was quite different from previous petitions where he acknowledged God’s greatness and wanted “all the kingdoms on the earth to recognize God as the only God.” Now, the focus was more on himself than it was on the Lord: “Remember, O Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” In other words—I’ve been good and don’t deserve this bad news!
God did grant the request. However, during his additional fifteen years, Hezekiah became prideful and bragged about his riches; he was more concerned about his own welfare and less about the future of his children; and, he fathered Manasseh, an extremely wicked king who reigned for fifty-five years and reversed all the good Hezekiah had done. None of this would have taken place if Hezekiah hadn’t entreated God for a longer life.
Bad things happen to good people. It’s part of life. But, before we ask God to rescue us out of a difficulty, we should first look at our motive. How would we respond if God asked us “why” every time we presented a need to Him? Truthfully, many times I want the Lord to help me out simply because I don’t like being inconvenienced or uncomfortable. Too often I’ve blurted out, “God, I don’t have time for this. Take it away.” He usually responds, “Keep it so you can learn.”
Could it be that some of our prayers go unanswered because our motives are wrong? Just a thought to chew on today.
- When you pray today, ask yourself why you want your prayer answered. Notice what your heart reveals.