Monday, June 25, 2012

Be careful what you pray for!
2 Kings 20 tells a story about one of the kings who ruled the Southern province of Judah, part of the Kingdom of Israel.  His name was Hezekiah. And for all accounts, he was a pretty good king. Chapter 18 says that He was 25 when he began his 29 year reign in Jerusalem and he did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his forefather had done. . .he trusted in the Lord God of Israel so that after him was none like him in all the kings of Judah.  Sound pretty good, doesn't he?  This man today would be considered a deeply committed Christian.

But like all of us, Hezekiah had a couple of  flaws.  One was selfishness and other pride.

After seeing God deliver him and all of Judah from the army of the Assyrians, Hezekiah became deathly sick, and God told him that it was his time to die. Personally I think it was kind of the Lord to tell Hezekiah His plan. I mean, how many of us would simply love to have God's plan for us laid out plainly.
But Hezekiah was not too happy. Perhaps he truly didn't have a good picture of where he was going. Maybe he was afraid.  I think he was just proud and selfish. He had reached the pinnacle of his career. He was a good successful king and the people adored him. He's probably thinking. "What do I have to go now? I've got lots of good living still to do!"  So, he beseeched the Lord. He wailed and cried and begged and put up such a stink that God changed His mind.

Does that surprise you?  We are told God never changes. Yet, it's God character that never changes. Many times throughout the Bible, we see Him change His mind about certain situations in response to human prayer.  I don't know about you but that both humbles me and really frightens me to know my prayers have the power to change God's mind!

So, God gave Hezekiah 15 more years to live. He even gave him a sign by moving time on a sundial.  But, my question to you is, were these extra 15 years actually a blessing for Hezekiah? Perhaps God knew Hezekiah would do something in those years that would cause much destruction and ruin. Perhaps God was doing Hezekiah and all of Judah a favor by taking Hezekiah home early.
Not long after Hezekiah's reprieve he received visitors (aka Spies) from Babylon and in Hezekiah's pride, he showed them everything in the kingdom, all the treasures and money and vast wealth, not holding anything back. (I believe this is one of the things God was hoping to prevent)

The consequence?
  • Everything in Hezekiah's house and everything in Jerusalem was carried away to Babylon
  • Hezekiah's sons were made eunuchs to serve in the palace of the Babylonian king
  • Manasseh, Hezekiah's son, became king after Hezekiah and he was one of the wickedest kings in all of Judah ever! (He would not have been born if Hezekiah had died when God wanted him to ) 
Here's some of the things Manasseh did
  • He rebuilt the high places of idol worship
  • He made altars for Baal and Asherah 
  • He built heathen altars in God's temple
  • He made his son pass through the fire as an offering to Molech
  • Practiced soothsaying and augury and dealt with mediums and wizards
  • Made a graven image of the goddess Asherah and set it ino the house of God 
  • Because of all his wickedness God decided to wipe out Jerusalem and Judah and deliver them into the hands of their enemies.
The consequence of Hezekiah's selfish prayer were far reaching, to his children and long into succeeding generations.  My point?  Because God knows past, present, and future and because He is all wise and all knowing, His will is always the best thing.  In our limited and self-centered knowledge, we might think we know.. but we don't.   Prayer is POWERFUL.  I'm not saying don't pray for something. If you or a loved one become sick or lose your job or whatever, the tragedy, God wants us to pray to Him. We need to pray to Him for help. He is quick to answer and help us!  Yet, we must also be cautious in our words and temper our prayers as Jesus did in the garden of Gethsemane before he went to the cross.  "Not my will, but thine be done."


  1. Mon June 25th,
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    Well, I for one can attest to the fact, that 'yes', God does sometimes honour those prayers ... where we beg, plead, and beg and plead some more (non-stop) ... 'demanding it our way or the highway'. God answered me in such a prayer 31 years ago ... and I've been living with the regrets, pain, and on-going agony of it all ever since. I believe 'now', that God was saying "No" ... but I was relentless, persistent and overbearing in the prayer back then ... asking for 'myself', and NOT for 'His honour and glory'.
    What have I learned from all of this ... to ... ALWAYS ask for "God's perfect and Holy Will" to be done ... not for my will.
    Had I paid much more attention to Jesus' prayer in the Garden, of "Not My will, but Thine be done" ... I probably would not be experiencing the heartache of this certain situation - up to and including today.
    Yes, MaryLu ... God's way is ALWAYS best, even when we don't understand the answer, or even when we don't like what is going on. His way IS perfect !!!
    Another excellent post MaryLu ... and a great reminder ... that as God already knows what is going to happen (future) ... it is best to leave every circumstance "with Him" !
    Thank-you, I really appreciated hearing this today !
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

  2. I have also had God answer a prayer that I was pleading with him, only to have it not turn out at all how I wanted it to! It caused me far more grief than it would have been if God had not answered it! But what a reminder of how God truly has our best interest at heart! It is easy to forget that He knows everything, but we only see what is happening right now.

  3. Thank you, Brenda and Emma. I, too, have learned this lesson the hard way. Sometimes, we are like spoiled kids stomping our feet at God or hanging onto his leg crying, "Please Please" for something He knows won't be good for us. He does know everything, past, present, and future.. and more importantly, we must remember He LOVES us so He knows what would be best. Such a hard lesson to learn!

  4. One of her examples was, if I prayed for a job, just any job, then He will give it-but what if it was a terrible one, and not meant for you? Or if you prayed to get a house when He has a mansion in mind. It makes me think twice about what I pray about. But its awesome to know that He listens and hears our prayers-and a little mind boggling, if you ask me!

  5. Oops! That last comment was cut off-I was talking about how my mom was warning me to becareful about what I prayed for.

  6. Eszter, so true! Our small minds often ask for small things when God has something much better in mind! It's best to just ask and then say, "Whatever your will is, Lord!"