Friday, 12 August 2011

Be careful what you ask for...

This morning I was reading in Isaiah, chapters 34-39.  I find it to be a book of surprises - where you get little gems of verses, in amongst prophecy that is hard to understand!

You also get, as I did this morning, the telling of history that you find in other parts of scripture.  This was a story that I remember very clearly, from reading it with the children in II Kings 20.  It's the narrative of King Hezekiah, and his death bed request.

He had come to the end of his days, and was about to die.  Isaiah comes and tells him to set his house in order, because he will die.  THE PROPHET, Isaiah - God's messenger.  Bringing the word of the Lord to King Hezekiah.  But, Hezekiah decided he doesn't want to die. Yet. So he sulks (turns into the wall), and cries.

Now, I am not suggesting that it is wrong to be sad, humanly speaking, at various times in our lives.  Not at all.  Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus (and HE knew that Lazarus was about to be alive again ;-) )  No, I have an issue with him not accepting God's plan for his life.  You can't have it plainer than a word spoken by God's messenger, and the message from God was that he was going to die.

So, Hezekiah asks to live.  And, God answered his prayer.  He doesn't just add a few days.  He adds 15 years.

So, what happens in those 15 years, you may ask?  15 long, happy years, of him continuing to follow after God?

Well, 2 significant things happen. He decides to be prideful, and boast to some visitors about all the wealth and treasures he possessed.

"sure, come in guys!  Have a good look at my vast treasures!  I'll show you every last little thing that I possess!  No problem!  Take a good mental note!  It's so good to have you here from Babylon anyway...such a long way for you to come and see me......"

*screeching sound effect* - what's that, you say, from BABYLON????   OOOOOOOOH yes siree.  Those lovely friends from Babylon.  Really friendly place, Babylon.  Do you need to look at a timeline to place Hezekiah and Isaiah?   That's right....BEFORE Daniel.  Really not long before Daniel at all.  Daniel.  Who lived in Babylon.  Because he had been taken captive by the Babylonians, who came along and decimated the land of Judah.

Isaiah comes and speaks to Hezekiah.  He tells him that EVERYTHING that the generations before him have stored up, will be taken away by the Babylonians.  NOTHING will be left.  All his sons would be taken away.  Was this worth living for?

What else happened in those 15 years?  Well, 3 years later, he had a son.  Manasseh. Read II Kings chapter 20.  Please, read it.  He was one of the most wicked kings in the history of the nation.  So wicked, that God promised to have so much evil come upon Jerusalem and Judah, that "whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle".   He was going to wipe them out, like you wipe out a bowl, turning it upside down to make sure it is empty. (verse 13)

So, Hezekiah.  You don't want to accept God's plan?  You don't want to die?   Are you sure about that? What?.... you can't see the future, you only know your own selfish heart?  Only GOD knows the future?  God, who had sent word that you were to die?



Do we ever question God's dealings in our life?  Do we question the path that God has placed us on?  Do we want change because "it's too much to cope with"?

Do we have thoughts of discontent?

"I didn't know that being a mum would be so was so much easier when I just went to work for 8 hours a day, and then came home"

"Lord, my husband is such hard work....why can't he be perfect...does he not understand my needs...the way I think....why should *I* do all the work....why should it be *my* job?"

"when I started out with this home-schooling, I thought it would be such fun...why did you lead me to do something that can be so challenging?"

"Lord, people with 1 child have it so easy...they get their foreign holidays, they don't need to shop in charity shops...they can get everything seems so easy for them...."

"this house is not very big...why did we ever live here...I know people with lovely big houses, and they look so nice..."

Before you carry on with your thoughts of discontent...before they become a prayer, desiring change.




We need to learn contentment.  That's why Paul said "I have LEARNT in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."

God knows better than we do.  Although, by the way we behave, and think, sometimes others may not believe that is what we think.

If we are following God's will for our life, according to the instruction given in God's Word, then we need to accept what follows, whilst walking that path.

I am also not saying that we shouldn't pray, and ask for things of God.  I'm just saying, be careful.  Make sure you pray "thy will be done", in all things.  That pride, selfishness and discontent are not the reasons for our prayers.

We wouldn't want a "Manasseh" to result from God granting our foolish desires.

Be careful what you pray for.


  1. "He gave them their request; but sent leanness to their souls"
    I posted on this a while back, and it really stayed with me. Imagine praying for a thing, getting our prayer answered, and then.... leanness in our souls. Disaster.

  2. Be careful what you pray for, and be careful what you say... There was this time our car has some costly engine problems, at a time we could not afford to repair it. The mechanic advised us to trade in the car 'on a good day' as he put it, which wouldn't be honest. Anyway, my husband said "the only way we are going to be able to replace the car is by writing this one off". And guess what?! Few months later, bang, it was written off. Thankfully I survived to tell the tale.

    Not saying that it happened because he said that, as I don't want to sound superstitious or anything like that (I guess they call it 'tempting fate') but it does make you think to be careful. Discontentment is a horrible place to be.

    Your scenarios are so true!