I often thought Hezekiah was to be faulted for this because he did not simply acquiesce to the LORD’s revealed will. Isn’t the LORD’s will always good and right (Psalm 145:17)? Wasn’t Hezekiah overly concerned for himself? After all, wasn’t it the LORD’s revealed will that he should die from his sickness?
But see in his prayer the reasoning and importunity of faith (Luke 18:1-8). Hezekiah made his plea to the LORD. There is a great lesson here. We may know God’s revealed will with certainty. Certainly, we all shall die someday. But do we know God’s secret will? Who can tell if God’s secret will is that we should implore importunately to live? And how shall we live if Christ does not live in us by His Spirit (Gal. 2:20)? Isn’t this reasonable, since God has promised, “Whosoever calls on the name of the Lord [Jesus Christ] shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13)?
Didn’t the woman of Canaan, who was clearly a Gentile and whose daughter was vexed by a devil so plead with the Lord Jesus in the days of His flesh (Matt. 15:21-28)? Didn’t it seem by the Lord’s first three answers to her that He would not help her? First He answered her not a word (Matt. 15:23). Then the disciples made intercession to the Lord against her (Matt. 15:23; Rom. 11:2)? Then He told her He was not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And finally, He told her it was not right to give the children’s bread to dogs! I am sure at Christ’s first silence I would have given up. But here again, the Lord’s revealed will was one thing, but His secret will was another. It was His secret will to try her faith that He might draw out the gift He had given to her, that He might be glorified by His work of faith in her. He gave her faith. It was He who persuaded her not to give up. She believed the truth about Him: He is ever compassionate, merciful and ready to save needy sinners. Like the king of Nineveh, “Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from His fierce anger, that we perish not?” (Jonah 3:9).
Now, let us draw great encouragement from Hezekiah and from the woman of Tyre and Sidon, those cursed cities (Joel 3:4). Let us reason from God’s word in prayer as Hezekiah and the woman of Tyre did. Let us go in faith to our all-compassionate, merciful God and Savior in prayer with God’s own word (Hosea 14:1-3).
“Can the dead praise Thee, O Lord? Can I live and praise Thee if I do not know Thee? Can I believe you if you do not first open my heart by life-giving operations of your Holy Spirit from the Gospel (Acts 16:14; Eph. 2:4)? Have you not given your faithful word that you came to save sinners, of whom I am chief (1 Tim. 1:13-15)? Would it please you therefore, O my Savior, to glorify your grace by granting me repentance to the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness, to believe and love you, Lord Jesus (2 Tim. 2:24-25; Titus 1:1)? Can I praise you, O merciful Savior, if you do not make yourself known to me from the Gospel and give me eternal life (John 17:2-3)? There is nothing too hard for Thee (Gen. 18:14)! ‘The living, the living, he shall praise thee’ (Isa. 38:19). Therefore, I do beseech Thee, O Lord: make me know your lovingkindness in the low bosom of my heart, and give me eyes of faith to see Christ and Him crucified, and turn my eyes toward you in your saving work on the cross (John 3:14-15). Uphold and increase that faith too that I might make mention of your lovingkindness and teach sinners that they might be converted unto Thee (Psalm 51:13). It is true, I deserve to perish for my sins. But is it not better that I should praise Thee for your so great salvation, than that I should perish in my sins? ‘The living, the living, he shall praise Thee.’ Therefore, gracious Savior, cleanse me of my sins and subdue them too, that I might see and believe and know and worship you forever and ever, to the praise and glory of your grace.”