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Wednesday, June 25 2014
2 Kings 20: Hezekiah's Healing
"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"
The LORD (Who was and is Jesus Christ - see Genesis 1: In The Beginning Was The Word and The Kingdom Of The LORD God) had delivered the Kingdom of Judah from a massive invasion by the Assyrian Empire (see Sennacherib's Turn From Israel To Judah and What Did Isaiah Do During The Siege Of Judah?) after the fall of the Kingdom of Israel (see The Origin Of The Samaritans).
Some time later, King Hezekiah (see Hezekiah Of Judah) became ill to the point of death. The prophet Isaiah (see also Isaiah: Visions Of The Messiah) delivered the LORD's message to Hezekiah that "thou shalt die, and not live." Hezekiah nevertheless faithfully prayed for healing.
"20:1 In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.
The incident with Hezekiah provides two important lessons. The first is that the LORD will change His mind, for good reason (e.g. repentance) if He deems to do so, and amend a declaration made earlier. The second illustrates the importance of reading the entire Holy Bible, in context - those who don't will find contradictions where none actually exist.
Figs have been known since the very most-ancient times. They are the only fruit that is specifically identified in the Garden of Eden (the "forbidden fruit" could have been that of just one fig tree that was declared off-limits as a test of obedience). Whether there was something medicinal in the figs alone, or whether it was the heat in the poultice ("a medical dressing consisting of a soft heated mass of meal or clay that is spread on a cloth and applied to the skin to treat inflamed areas or improve circulation"), which in that case happened to be made of figs, that caused "the boil" to heal, is unclear. But what is certain is that the healing would not have happened without faith on the part of the one doing what they were told to do by the LORD (see The Healing Spirit).
"20:4 And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 20:5 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. 20:6 And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake.
Hezekiah asked for a further sign - that was given to the faithful king. The shadow on his sun dial was seen to reverse (arc welders see the reason for it happen all the time - a brighter light temporarily shining on an object that is illuminated by sunlight).
"20:8 And Hezekiah said unto Isaiah, What shall be the sign that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up into the house of the LORD the third day?
The Babylonian Empire had not yet risen and overcome the Assyrian Empire. The Babylonians were however by then active in "diplomacy" - then, as even more today, ambassadors and their staff are mostly spies. In Hezekiah's experience with them, "Hezekiah answered, All the things that are in mine house have they seen: there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them."
"20:12 At that time Berodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present unto Hezekiah: for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick. 20:13 And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.
Babylon was not yet a threat (the invasions of Judah by Babylon would not happen for another century), but the prophet Isaiah was given to see what Babylon would do to Judah, in due time.
"20:16 And Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD. 20:17 Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD. 20:18 And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.
Fact Finder: Who was among the "eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon" that Isaiah prophesied to Hezekiah?
This Day In History, June 25
253: Pope Cornelius was beheaded at Centumcellae (the Church of Rome was actually created by the Roman Emperor Constantine; see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy).
524: The Franks defeated the Burgundians at the Battle of Vezeronce.
841: Forces under the command of Charles the Bald and Louis the German defeated the armies of Lothair I of Italy and Pepin II of Aquitaine at the Battle of Fontenay-en-Puisaye (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).
1080: A council of bishops at Brixen declared Pope Gregory to be deposed and Archbishop Guibert as antipope Clement III (see Antipopes).
1530: The Augsburg Confession, the official Lutheran statement of faith, written by Melanchthon and endorsed by Luther, was presented.
1580: The Book of Concord, a collection of doctrinal standards of the Lutheran Church, was first published.
1741: Maria Theresa of Austria was crowned Queen of Hungary.
1870: Queen Isabella of Spain abdicated in favor of Alfonso XII.
1876: At the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Sioux warriors led by Crazy Horse annihilated the U.S. 7th Cavalry led by George Custer. Custer died along with his company of 264 men in what was known as "Custer's Last Stand."
1938: Gaelic scholar Douglas Hyde was inaugurated as the first President of the Irish Republic.
1945: The Charter of the United Nations was unanimously adopted.
1948: After Soviet forces in East Germany cut off overland access to West Berlin, U.S. and British planes began the "Berlin Airlift" which lasted until September 30 1949.
1950: North Korea invaded South Korea, beginning the Korean War.
1975: Mozambique became independent after 477 years of Portuguese rule.
1991: Croatia and Slovenia declared their independence from Yugoslavia.
1993: Kim Campbell was chosen as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and became the first female Prime Minister of Canada. She lost the Federal Election a few months later, so Canada is yet to have its first elected female Prime Minister.
1997: An unmanned cargo ship crashed into the Russian space station Mir, causing extensive damage to the station but causing no injury to the 2 Russian cosmonauts and 1 U.S. astronaut aboard.
1997: Jacques-Yves Cousteau died at age 87. The French oceanographer was the co-inventor of SCUBA (an acronym for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) diving tanks and the producer of many popular books and television productions.