When King Hezekiah was well again, he wrote this poem: . . . “I waited patiently all night, but I was torn apart as though by lions. Suddenly, my life was over. Delirious, I chattered like a swallow or a crane, and then I moaned like a mourning dove. My eyes grew tired of looking to heaven for help. I am in trouble, Lord. Help me!” But what could I say? For he himself sent this sickness. Now I will walk humbly throughout my years because of this anguish I have felt.
Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! Yes, this anguish was good for me, for you have rescued me from death and forgiven all my sins. For the dead cannot praise you; they cannot raise their voices in praise. Those who go down to the grave can no longer hope in your faithfulness. Only the living can praise you as I do today. Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next.
Think of it—the Lord is ready to heal me! I will sing his praises with instruments every day of my life in the Temple of the Lord. (Isaiah 38:9, 13-20)
Hezekiah realized that his prayer brought deliverance and forgiveness. His words “the dead cannot praise you” (Isaiah 38:18) may reveal that he was unaware of the blessedness of the future life for those who trust in God (Isaiah 57:1-2), or he may have meant that dead bodies cannot praise God. In either case, Hezekiah knew that God had spared his life, so in his poem Hezekiah praises God. Hezekiah recognized the good that came from his bitter experience. The next time you have difficult struggles, pray for God’s help to gain something beneficial from them.
Hezekiah spoke of the significance of passing stories of God’s faithfulness from generation to generation. The heritage of our faith has come to us because of faithful men and women who have carried God’s message to us across the centuries. How will you share with your children or other young people the priority of your faith? Consider the times when God has delivered you from fear or other turmoil. Give concrete reasons for your confidence in God.