Isaiah’s Prophecy

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Crisis
Warren Wiersbe says that “a crisis does not make a person; it shows what a person is made of."  Hezekiah faced three crises during his reign as king. There was an international crisis, which was the invasion of the Assyrian army. There was a personal crisis, which was a sickness where he almost died.  Then there was a national crisis, which we see in today’s passage, where there is what appears to be an innocent visit from a Babylonian envoy. Hezekiah came through the first two victoriously, but the third one tripped him up.

The fact that Merodak-Baladan, a Babylonian prince, heard about Hezekiah’s sickness and recovery indicates the swiftness in which news traveled even in those ancient times (v. 1). Undoubtedly his friendly visit after Hezekiah’s illness was intended to persuade the king to bring Judah into an alliance against Syria. This visit was also a test of Hezekiah’s heart (2 Chron. 32:31). In pride, he showed the prince everything of value in his storehouse (v. 2).

When Isaiah heard about this, he gave Hezekiah a two party prophecy of judgment. First, he said the king’s wealth would be carried off to Babylon. Second, he prophesied that some of the king’s descendants would be forced to serve in the royal court of Babylon (vv 5-7). At that time Babylon was not a great world power, and few people would have thought that Assyria would one day collapse and be replaced by them.

Application

Isaiah reminded Hezekiah that, as king, he was only the steward of Judah’s wealth and not the owner. I need to be reminded that I am a mere steward of what God has given to me, and I have no right to boast about anything I may possess.

Isaiah 39:1-8 (English Standard Version)

At that time Merodach-baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that he had been sick and had recovered. And Hezekiah welcomed them gladly. And he showed them his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his whole armory, all that was found in his storehouses. There was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them. Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah, and said to him, "What did these men say? And from where did they come to you?" Hezekiah said, "They have come to me from a far country, from Babylon." He said, "What have they seen in your house?" Hezekiah answered, "They have seen all that is in my house. There is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them." Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, "Hear the word of the LORD of hosts: Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the LORD. And some of your own sons, who will come from you, whom you will father, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon." Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, "The word of the LORD that you have spoken is good." For he thought, "There will be peace and security in my days."

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