2 Kings 20:1-3
The author of 2 Kings told us the destiny of Sennacherib, a very capable king of Assyria, by concluding his story in death according to Isaiah’s prophecy (2 Kings 19:35-37). In this way, the author conveys that Sennacherib was destroyed in the midst of his prospect of life. Today’s passage conveys the opposite message that Hezekiah is delivered in the midst of his prospect of death. Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. Hezekiah lives on under God’s blessing, while Sennacherib lives under God’s judgment.
Hearing God’s word that he will die, Hezekiah has no other choice. Whether he is ready or not, whether he can accept it or not, he knows that it will happen because God has said so. However, facing this reality, Hezekiah did not fail to come to the Lord in prayer. In his prayer, Hezekiah pleaded to the Lord to remember two things,
How he has faithfully and wholeheartedly walked before the Lord. This implies his character and commitment in fearing and obeying the Lord. This places him in direct contrast to his father, Ahaz, who absolutely has no heart to follow the Lord.
What he has done as an expression of his commitment to the Lord. He has brought the whole nation to return to the Lord by recovering the covenant relationship between the Lord & His people. He has restored Temple worship. He has restored the celebration of the Passover. He has destroyed all idols and this has inspired the whole nation to destroy all idols in their cities.
We shouldn’t read this as if Hezekiah is counting his credit before the Lord. Hezekiah is right that unless the Lord remembers us, we will live in misery. By saying “Lord, remember us,” it does not imply forgetfulness. He is omniscient. It is a figure of speech (Anthropomorphism). It implies His covenant faithfulness and providential care. When the Scripture says, “God remembers,” it is followed by some sort of action or work on behalf of God’s people. When God “remembers” Noah and his family floating in the ark, He caused the wind to blow, which began to dry up the water that covered the earth (Genesis 8:1). In Exodus 2:24, God “remembers” His people who were enslaved to the Egyptians, and, in the very next chapter, He sets in motion His plan to free the Israelites. The Lord remembered Hezekiah and granted his request. The repented criminal on the cross said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And the Lord said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43) Indeed, our assurance lies in the Lord who remembers us even when our mind fails us such that we do not remember Him anymore.
“And when these failing lips grow dumb; and mind and memory flee; When Thou shalt in Thy kingdom come; Jesus, remember me.”*
––––––––––––––––––––––––––– *Lyrics by James Montgomery, “According to Thy gracious word”