For that past few months, I have been praying that God would grant America what he granted to Hezekiah – life extension.
In 2 Kings 20, we find that good King Hezekiah was sick and near death, with the prophet even telling him that he would indeed die soon (vs 1). Up to this point in his story, King Hezekiah has been a man who has mostly been moved to serve the Lord without compromise. There were moments, however, where he bowed his knee to fear and God would have to send His word to correct Hezekiah and put him back on the right path. Overall, however, King Hezekiah was a King known for restoring true worship back to that nation. He was a revivalist and a reformer who changed his generation.
Yet fast forward to 2 Kings 20 and we see he is suddenly dying and the word of the Lord to him is, “Thus says the Lord: set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.” The Lord had declared it: Hezekiah’s days were done.
The same could be said of America. Many prophets have said, “Thus says the Lord” in regards to America’s judgment with some even going as far as saying, “Your days are done.” If anyone deserves judgment, it is the nation that has killed 65 million unborn babies in the name of convenience and justice; a nation that has partnered with the spirit of confusion, sexual immorality, perversion, and greed. America, like every other nation on the planet, deserves to be judged and even wiped out for our transgressions.
And yet, I believe God isn’t done with us.
The Prayer of Hezekiah
Just as Hezekiah’s story doesn’t end with the word of the Lord declaring his death, I believe America’s story doesn’t end in 2020. When Isaiah prophesied Hezekiah’s passing, 2 Kings 20:2 says that Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord to remember how he had walked before Him in loyalty and truth. Then, it says, Hezekiah wept bitterly.
I believe all across this nation, the people of God have turned their face to the wall and have wept bitterly for the sins of our nation. We have repented. We have mourned. We have petitioned. We have prayed. And we have asked God to remember: remember those who have walked in truth & loyalty to Him. “Remember,” we have cried, “the covenants made with you by the pilgrims who came here to worship! Remember the prayers of our founding fathers who sought your will! Remember the awakenings you brought in the days of the Wesleys, Finney, Spurgeon! Remember the revivals of Cane Ridge, Azusa, Costa Mesa, and Pensacola! Remember the reformers in the trenches like James Dobson, Bill Bright, and Franklin Graham!” In perhaps the most pivotal moment of our nation’s recent history, we stand in repentance asking God to remember His people and to extend the life of our nation.
We pray our nation receives the same response from God that Hezekiah received. For after Hezekiah’s repentance, the word of the Lord came again to Isaiah and said, “Return and tell Hezekiah…I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you…and I will add to your days fifteen years (2 Kings 20:4-6).”
The word that God had previously spoken was reversed in a moment’s time. This shows us a few things. First, it shows us that certain aspects of the will of God are not set in stone; some things are negotiated through prayer. Secondly, this shows us the power of repentance on our part and the power of remembrance on God’s part. It’s not that God forgot Hezekiah’s loyalty….he can’t forget a thing! But, when we ask God to remember, we are returning our focus back to the Promise Keeper and our covenant relationship with the one who will not forsake that covenant. In short, Hezekiah was saying, “I have done my part as best I know how, Lord. Your part, God, comes next.”
This is what I have been praying over America: God, see our repentance, remember your covenants, and extend our life. Now that our President is lying in a hospital bed 30 days before election, this prayer takes on a whole new dimension. It’s time to pray, America! Pray for our nation and for our leader’s life to be extended.
The Sin of Hezekiah
But our prayers must not stop there, for there is another aspect to Hezekiah’s life that the Lord showed me is critical. I was in the sanctuary praying this now familiar prayer to the Lord, “Make our nation like Hezekiah and give us more time,” when the Lord broke in and said, “The sin of Hezekiah.” I was immediately arrested in my heart. I paused and listened as the Lord directed me to what is possibly the saddest passage in scripture. 2 Kings 20:12-19 describes how the son of Babylon came to visit Hezekiah and brought him a gift “because he heard that he had been sick.” Hezekiah then invited the leaders of Babylon into the temple of God to show them all the wealth that the nation had acquired. Verse 13 says there was nothing in his house or in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them. He lacked discernment to be sure, not recognizing the enemy for who and what it actually was. Babylon was no friend…any kindness it showed was a Trojan Horse, but Hezekiah failed to realize it.
When Isaiah hears of this error, he comes to Hezekiah and warns, “Behold the days are coming when all that is in your house…shall be carried to Babylon and nothing shall be left (vs 17).” To make it worse, he adds, “And they shall take away some of your sons who will descend from you…and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of Babylon (vs 18).” You would think in that moment, Hezekiah would have learned to repent! After receiving such a healing, having his life extended, this would have been another moment to call on the name of God in humility and contrition…but he didn’t. Instead, he uttered this wretched decree, “The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good,’ for he said, ‘Will there not be peace and truth at least in my days?’”
I don’t think a worse thing could have been uttered. Hezekaih had received healing, his life had been extended – God had answered his prayer. But the great sin he committed, the sin that the Lord highlighted to me the other day, was that he didn’t care about the next generation; he was only concerned with his hour. He didn’t care about his offspring down the road as long as he and his kids were fine.
Christians, I believe we are in the prophetic hour of Hezekiah. I truly believe the Lord wants to extend the life of our nation so we can, for a bit longer, be the nation that will carry the torch of freedom, liberty, prosperity, and the gospel to the ends of the earth. But we must not let that extension lull us into a “life as usual” response. Even if we have an extension, it will be short lived if we do not pray and actively get involved in the future of this nation. If we do not get involved in our local government, in our local school boards…if we do not teach our children about the danger of tyranny, Marxism, group thinking…if we do not vote in this critical hour and continue to cover our nation in prayer…then we are committing the sin of Hezekiah and I believe it is one the Lord is appalled by.
Let us be the best of Hezekiah and not the worst. Let us not be the older, jaded, ‘whatever will be, will be’ version of King Hezekiah; let us be the young, zealous Hezekiah who embraced reform and action, tearing down idols and exalting the name of the Lord. As we pray for our nation and now our president’s life to be extended, let us look beyond the present moment of history to the future generations, those whose future lives hang in the balance of this present moment and our present decisions.