Hezekiah wanted more than God’s promise of healing – he wanted a sign. And he got it. A big one. Just as He had promised to extend Hezekiah’s life, the Lord miraculously extended the hours in that day. And how did Hezekiah react?
“Hezekiah did not respond appropriately to the kindness shown him, and he became proud” (II Chronicles 32:25a, NLT).
Hezekiah “became proud.” If we look back at Hezekiah’s prayer before his healing, we see him reminding the Lord: “I have always been faithful to You and have served You single-mindedly, always doing what pleases You” (II Kings 20:3a). Hezekiah mistook God’s mercy for a well-deserved perk for his own faithfulness.
Compare Hezekiah’s response to that of the New Testament centurion who went to Jesus asking for his servant’s healing: “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed” (Matthew 8:8, NIV).
The centurion said he didn’t deserve to have Jesus set foot in his house. More importantly, he said he knew Jesus didn’t need to – He could heal his servant by simply speaking his healing from right where He stood.
And what was Jesus’ response? “He was amazed and said to those following Him, ‘Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.’ And his servant was healed at that moment” (Matthew 8:10, 13b, NIV).
Let me make it absolutely clear that God was in no way angry with Hezekiah for asking for a sign – He was angry with him because he “did not respond appropriately” but “became proud.” Hezekiah thought his track record with God made him deserving of His healing.
Fact is, what every person deserves is eternal damnation. Amazingly, what we who put our faith in Jesus Christ receive instead is “an act of His kindness through the price Christ Jesus paid to set us free” (Romans 3:24b, God’s Word). Hezekiah failed to understand his own unworthiness and God’s great mercy.
My salvation is the greatest gift that Jesus Christ could ever give me. And my response to that gift is to serve Him, albeit imperfectly, for all the days of my life. If He never allowed me another blessing, I’ve already received more than I will ever deserve. And yet He has and continues to bless me in countless ways daily.
For years I’ve been holding onto a promise of God that I know He will one day fulfill. Have I been given a sign to verify this promise? No. Have I asked for one? Many times. Until I knew in my spirit I shouldn’t ask again – the Holy Spirit has told me to simply trust and believe. And I do.
But even though I’ve stopped asking for one, would I still like to see a sign pointing to His promise? I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t – I’m human; and it’s hard to shake the ol’ “seeing is believing.” And my faith still has a lot of growing to do.
“Demanding sensational proof is not evidence of faith but of doubt. To long for the visible sign, the big miracle, the dramatic proof is nothing but masked unbelief. It is the farthest thing from faith.” (John MacArthur)
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates