Recovery and Resurrection: It’s Time to Get Up and Get Your Life Back

















Today’s selected passage continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah, and more specifically, is found in the thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth chapters of the book. These chapters—along with chapters thirty-six and thirty-seven—are actually quite interesting when considering them in the context of the entire book. A vast majority of the prophetic book of Isaiah is prophetic, yet there are a few select portions that include biographical and historical content. In the sixth chapter we read of Uzziah king of Judah, yet we read of his death, and how Isaiah “saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the Temple.” . In the seventh chapter we find yet more historical context as we read how “in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it.” In the eighth chapter we find the word of the Lord coming to Isaiah instructing him to “take thee a great roll, and write in it with a man’s pen concerning Maker-shalal-hash-baz.” The prophet Isaiah went in unto the prophetess, and she conceived, and bare a son, of which the Lord instructed Isaiah to “call his name Maher-shalal-hash-baz.” The birth and name of this son would be directly linked to the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria being taken away before the king of Assyira. Chapters thirty-six through thirty-nine—four chapters in total—deal exclusively and specifically with Hezekiah king of Judah. The prophetic book of Isaiah opens with a description concerning Isaiah prophesying the word of the Lord during the reigns of four different kings—Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. What is so unique about the historical context surrounding these four chapters is that four chapters within the prophetic writing of Isaiah were devoted to the reign and days of Hezekiah king of Judah. Within these four chapters we read of Sennacherib king of Assyria invading the land of Judah, capturing all the fortified cities, and sending an emissary with a great army to lodge a threat against the city of Jerusalem. Within these four chapters we read of the Lord’s deliverance of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria—how the angel of the Lord slaughtered one-hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrians in a single night, and how Sennacherib was assassinated by his own sons in the house of his god in Nineveh.

 Within these four chapters we also read of two more distinct events which took place within the life of Hezekiah king of Judah during the days of Isaiah the prophet. IN THE YEAR OF THE PROPHET! IN THE YEARS OF THE PROPHET! The prophetic book of Isaiah opens with the description of how Isaiah prophesied the word of the Lord during the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, yet as much as those words describe the days in which Isaiah prophesied, I would dare say that we must also view the reigns of these four kings as reigning over Judah and Jerusalem “in the days of the prophet.” In other words, these four kings not only reigned in Jerusalem with the throne of David still established, and the Temple of the Lord still standing atop Mount Moriah, but these kings also prophesied during days when there was both the prophetic word of the Lord and a prophetic presence among them in their midst. In fact, I would dare say that their reigns are more about them reigning in Jerusalem with the word of the Lord present in their midst than anything else. From Uzziah to Hezekiah the southern kingdom of Judah had a prophetic voice present among them in their midst—a prophetic presence that was not alone in its scope. In the Old Testament prophetic book of Hosea we read how Hosea prophesied “in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of JoAnn, king of Israel” (Hosea 1:1). In the Old Testament prophetic book of Amos we read how Amos “who was among the herdsmen of Tekoah” prophesied “in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel,” and how he did so “two years before the earthquake” (Amos 1:1). The opening verse of the prophetic book of Micah reveals how Micah the Morasthite prophesied “in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah” (Micah 1:1). During the days of Uzziah king of Judah we find that not only did Isaiah prophesy during those days, but the prophetic word of Isaiah was also accompanied by the prophetic word of Amos, and the prophetic word of Hosea. During the days of Jotham, we not only find the prophetic ministry of Isaiah, but we also find the prophetic ministries of Hosea, and of Micah. During the days of Ahaz we find that the prophetic ministry of Isaiah also had contemporary prophetic ministries through Hosea, and Micah. Finally, we read how during the days of Hezekiah the prophetic voices of Isaiah, Hosea and Micah were present within the land. It is clear that these kings reigned during days of the prophet—during a time when the prophetic word of the Lord was still active and present in their midst.

 When I read the four chapters of the prophetic book of Isaiah, I don’t merely see a historical recounting of the life and reign of Hezekiah, but I also see the presence of the prophet during those days. In other words, when Hezekiah stared down and faced Sennacherib king of Assyria and his great army outside Jerusalem, the prophetic presence of Isaiah, and the prophetic word of the Lord was there in the midst of it. When it was declared unto Hezekiah that he was going to die, it was not only the prophet Isaiah who informed of this impending death, but also came with an additional prophetic word from the Lord that He was going to add fifteen more years to his life. Finally, when Hezekiah recovered from his sickness, and when Merodach-Baladan, son of Baladan king of Babylon came to Jerusalem with a letter and great gifts, the prophet Isaiah was there to inquire of the king what he had shown him from his house, from the house of the Lord, and within the city of Jerusalem. There is something about facing a threat from the adversary, a sickness that would have led to death, and an envoy from a distant, and doing so with the prophetic voice and word of the Lord that is quite remarkable. When Hezekiah faced the threat of Sennacherib and the great army of Assyria, which had invaded the land of Judah and captured all the fortified cities, the prophetic ministry of Isaiah was right there in the midst of it. In fact, Hezekiah’s first response was to rend his garments and gird himself with sackcloth, while this was accompanied and followed up by his sending officials to inquire of the prophet Isaiah. These four chapters not only describe the reign of Hezekiah king of Judah, but they also describe the involvement of the prophet Isaiah. Through the presence of Isaiah we not only see the presence of a prophet of the Lord, but we see the presence of the prophetic as well. I would dare say that these chapters are included in the prophetic book of Isaiah—in addition to the books of Second Kings and Second Chronicles—because they reveal how intimately involved the prophet Isaiah truly was in the life of Hezekiah. It was the prophet Isaiah who prophesied the deliverance of Jerusalem, and the subsequent slaying of Sennacherib king of Assyria. In fact, when you read the words of the prophet Isaiah to Hezekiah after his healing, you will discover the Lord again declares unto him that Jerusalem and Judah would be delivered out of the hand of the Assyrians.

 The thirty-eighth chapter of Isaiah is incredibly interesting to read, for it opens with these words—“In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death.” Not only was Hezekiah sick unto death, but Isaiah the prophet came unto him, and said unto him, “Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live.” Within the first verse of this chapter we not only read of Hezekiah’s being sick unto death, but we also read of the prophet Isaiah’s declaration unto him that he would die, and would not live. What I so love about this particular section of the prophetic book of Isaiah is how it reveals Hezekiah’s unwillingness to accept the report that was given unto him. When his officials came to him and rehearsed the words of Rabshakeh in their hearing, Hezekiah immediately rent his clothes, girded himself with sackcloth, and sent those same officials to the prophet to inquire of the Lord. In other words, Hezekiah was unwilling to accept the words which Rabshakeh had spoken concerning the city of Jerusalem. Moreover, when the letter of Sennacherib was brought unto Hezekiah, and after he read it, he went up unto the house of the Lord, spread out the letter before the Lord, and called on the Lord to both hear and see. Now, in this chapter, it was declared unto Hezekiah that he would die and not live, yet he refused to accept that word as well. As soon as Hezekiah heard the words of the prophet Isaiah we read how he “turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the Lord…and wept sore.” When Hezekiah heard the words which were spoken by Rabshakeh, he went into the house of the Lord and inquired of the prophet Isaiah. When Sennacherib sent a different threat—a second threat—in the form of a letter, Hezekiah went up into the house of the Lord and spread the letter out before the Lord. When Hezekiah was instructed to set his house in order, for he would die and not live, he immediately turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the Lord. WORDS SPOKEN AT THE WALL! WORDS WRITTEN IN A LETTER! WORDS DELIVERED FACE TO FACE! Hezekiah’s reign experienced three different times when some type of report and word was brought to him by another—twice concerning the city of Jerusalem, and once concerning his very own life.

 Through Hezekiah we see one who was completely comfortable inquiring of the Lord concerning any situation or circumstance before him. Even when he stared death in the face he elected to pray unto the Lord and weep sorely. When Hezekiah was threatened not by a natural, physical army outside the walls of the city, but rather by an unseen and invisible foe, he wept bitterly and cried out to the Lord. These chapters are quite powerful for they reveal how Hezekiah not only stared down the army of the Assyrians, but how he also stared down death itself. In chapters thirty-six and thirty-seven it was a physical danger and threat which sought to wreak havoc, chaos and destruction. In the thirty-eighth chapter it was not a physical danger which threatened his life, but a spiritual and unseen force. The prophet Isaiah had declared unto Hezekiah that he was going to die and not live, and the very fact that Hezekiah prayed unto the Lord not only reveals his sorrow over the news, but also his unwillingness to accept such a report. Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall and prayed unto the Lord, for he knew the Lord was perfectly able to deliver him from the grip and clutches of death. DELIVERED FROM THE ASSYRIAN & DELIVERED FROM DEATH! If there is one thing that is so absolutely wonderful about these chapters it’s that Hezekiah personally was not only delivered from Sennacherib the Assyrian, but he was also delivered from death—death which was an even greater foe and adversary. Death was undoubtedly crouching at the door of Hezekiah’s life, seeking to take him away—much like Sennacherib sent a great army to Jerusalem and threatened to take them away. WHEN A PEOPLE ARE THREATENED WITH CAPTIVITY AND A KING FACES DEATH! The Lord delivered Jerusalem from the great army of the Assyrians, and delivered them from the threat of captivity, and the Lord also delivered Hezekiah from certain death. WHEN A CITY IS THREATENED WITH AN ARMY AND A KING STARES DEATH IN THE FACE! These four chapters are utterly and completely amazing, for they reveal the tremendous reality that Hezekiah not only saw the Lord deliver the city of Jerusalem from the hand of the Assyrian army, but he also saw the Lord add to his life fifteen years. When faced with calamity, disaster, devastation and destruction Hezekiah went up into the house of the Lord and not only inquired of the prophet Isaiah, but also spread out the words of the adversary before the Lord. When faced with certain and imminent death, Hezekiah turned his direction upward and cried out to the Lord. The prophet Isaiah not only prophesied the deliverance of Jerusalem from the hand of the Assyrians, but the prophet Isaiah also prophesied the recovery of Hezekiah.

 WHEN A PROPHET PROPHESIES DELIVERANCE AND RECOVERY! Within these chapters we find the prophet Isaiah prophesying two distinct realities—both of which Hezekiah experienced and encountered. During the days of Hezekiah, the prophet Isaiah not only prophesied the deliverance of the city of Jerusalem, but he also prophesied Hezekiah’s recovery from a sickness that was unto death. As I read these chapters I can’t help but gripped with the tremendous weight that surrounds these chapters—namely deliverance and recovery. Chapters thirty-six through thirty-eight speak not only to the reality concerning the Lord’s ability to deliver from the hand of the enemy, but also the Lord’s ability to cause those sick unto death to recover. I believe with all my heart that these three chapters provide a powerful prophetic word that is necessary in this generation—a word of deliverance and a word of recovery. There are countless men and women in this generation who desperately need a word from the Lord concerning deliverance. There are men and women who right now are being threatened by the adversary as the adversary not only threatens destruction, but also captivity. There are individuals who right now feel like David did—like their enemies are many, and they are surrounded by enemies on all sides. There are men and women who right now feel as though they are staring down the sword of the adversary as he has come against them with a great horde and force. Such individuals are desperate to experience the deliverance of the Lord, as they hear the taunts and threats of their adversary. There are others who are starting down and facing a sickness that is unto death. There are men and women who right now are staring death straight in the face as death has sought to lay hold of them. I can’t help but think of how death can be defeated on three distinct and three different fronts. Death can be defeated on the first front by the Lord causing those who are targets of death to recover, as He did with Hezekiah. Death can also be defeated on the second front by the Lord causing those who have died to rise from their graves as our Lord did with Lazarus at the tomb in Bethany. Finally, death can be defeated at the end of time when death—along with hell—is cast into the lake of fire where it will be consumed forever and for all eternity. The apostle Paul writes how Christ must reign, “till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:25-26). I can’t help but be reminded of the words which Jesus spoke in the hearing of the apostle John on the isle of Patmos—“Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:17-18). In the twenty-first book of Revelation we read how “death and hell were cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14), thus revealing that there is coming a day when death will no longer have any jurisdiction upon the face of the earth, for it will be cast into the lake of fire along with hell.

 In the Old Testament we read how death was defeated on two very distinct occasions—the first is in the life of the prophet Elisha, while the second is in the life of Hezekiah. Consider the account of the prophet Elisha as is recorded in the Old Testament book of Second Kings—“And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed. He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the Lord. And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm. Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son. Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son and went out” (2 Kings 4:32-37). The child of this Shunammite woman was clearly dead, yet the Lord honored the prophet Elisha and raised the child from death to life. In the case of Hezekiah—although the prophet Isaiah declared unto him that he would not die, but rather, that his sickness would lead unto death—Hezekiah recovered from his sickness after the prophet Isaiah instructed a paste of figs to be spread upon the boil which was upon his body. It’s interesting to note the tremendous similarity between Hezekiah and Lazarus, for both men faced a sickness that was unto death. Scripture clearly records how Hezekiah was sick unto death, while Scripture reveals how Lazarus whom Jesus loved was sick. It’s worth noting that in response to the report of Lazarus’ sickness, Jesus declared “this sickness is not unto death.” This is worth noting, for Lazarus would ultimately die and be buried in a tomb and remain there for four days. Scripture clearly records how Hezekiah was sick unto death, and how Lazarus was sick, and as a result of his sickness, he died. In other words, both Hezekiah and Lazarus were sick unto death—yet, the Lord of hosts worked two completely different miracles in their lives. In the case of Hezekiah, the Lord declared that He would add fifteen more years to his life, while the prophet Isaiah called for a paste of figs to be placed upon the boil on his body. In the case of Lazarus, Lazarus actually died as a result of his sickness, and was even buried in the tomb for four days, yet the Lord raised him from the grave, thus giving him his life back. In the case of Hezekiah the Lord added to his life, while in the case of Lazarus the Lord gave him his life back.

 

 WHEN THE LORD ADDS TO YOUR LIFE! WHEN THE LORD GIVES YOU YOUR LIFE BACK! Both of these realities are absolutely incredible when you consider the activity of the Lord within your life and within mine. Through the account of the Shunammite woman’s son, the account of Hezekiah king of Judah, and Lazarus the friend of Jesus, we see an absolutely amazing picture of the power of the Lord of hosts. Within the accounts of each of these individuals we not only see the Lord of hosts as being able to add to your life, but we also see how the Lord is able to give life back. The Lord is able to defeat death by causing you to recover in the face of death, as He thus adds more years to your life. In addition to this, the Lord is able to defeat death by causing you to rise from the grave, thus giving you your life back. THE LORD WHO ADDS TO YOUR LIFE THROUGH RECOVERY! THE LORD WHO GIVES YOU YOUR LIFE BACK THROUGH RESURRECTION. What I can’t help but wonder at this moment is which of these you have need of within your own life right now. Are you in need of a God who can add to your life through recovery, or are you in need of a God who can give you your life back through resurrection? We serve a God who is able to do each of these, as He is not only able to cause many to recover, but He can also cause many to rise from their graves. Those whom the Lord raises from their tomb—regardless of whatever tomb that may be—experience the wonderful reality of a God who can give them their life back. Those whom the Lord heals experience a God who is able to add to their life through recovery. Which do you need in your life right now: RESURRECTION OR RECOVERY? With either of these two realities we witness the Lord who is able to defeat death on two different fronts. The Lord of hosts can defeat death through recovery, and the Lord can defeat death through resurrection. We serve a God who is not only able to open tombs and cause dead ones to come forth—as He did with Lazarus, and even after the resurrection of Jesus—but who is able to cause men and women to recover from that which has so gripped their lives. It’s worth noting that in the case of the Shunammite’s son, the prophet Elisha actually told her to take her son—words which are more accurately described as the prophet saying to the woman, “Take your son back.”

 In the Old Testament, the prophet Elisha wasn’t the only one who experienced resurrection from the dead, for the prophet Elijah also experienced the resurrection from the dead. In the seventeenth chapter of the book of First Kings we read these words—“And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? Art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son? And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. And he cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord may God, hast thou also brought eveil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again. And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah: and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother, and Elijah said, See, thy son. Live this. And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is true” (1 Kings 17:17-24). AND ELIJAH TOOK THE CHILD, AND BROUGHT HIM DOWN OUT OF THE CHAMBER INTO THE HOUSE, AND DELIVERED HIM UNTO HIS MOTHER! TAKE UP THY SON! In the seventh chapter of the New Testament book of Luke we read these words—“And it came to pass the day after, that He went into a city called Nain; and many of His disciples went with Him, and much people. Now when He came night to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the cit y was with her. And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And He came and touched the bier: and they that bare himn stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. AND HE DELIVERED HIM TO HIS MOTHER!” (Luke 7:11-17). In the very next chapter we read these words—“While He yet spake, ther ecometh one from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. But when Jesus heard it, He answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. And when HE came into the house, HE suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. And all wept, and bewailed her: blue He said, Wep. Not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. And He put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and He commanded to give her meat. And her parents were astonished: but He charged them that they should tell no man what was done” (Luke 8:46-56). There were two other occurrences of resurrection recorded in the New Testament book of Acts as Tabitha was raised from death to life in Acts 9:36-43, and Eutychus was raised from death to life in Acts 20:7-12).

 DELIVERED HIM UNTO HIS MOTHER! TAKE UP THY SON! DELIVERED HIM TO HIS MOTHER! Please don’t miss the significance and importance of these words, for these words reveal the incredible reality that through resurrection the Lord not only gives men and women their lives back, but He also presents them anew to those around them. In each of these cases the individual resurrections experienced by these individuals also included a re-presenting of them to their loved ones as the Lord of hosts not only gave them their lives back, but gave them back to those who loved them. What an absolutely incredible God we serve who can not only give men and women their lives back through resurrection, but through resurrection He also gives men and women back to those around them—parents, brothers and sisters, close relatives, friends, companions, and the like. Our God not only adds to life through recovery, but He also gives life back through resurrection. I ask again—what are you in need of this day? Who do you know who is in desperate need of recovery as the Lord seeks to add to their lives? Who do you know who is in desperate need of resurrection as the Lord gives them their life back? It’s important that we understand that this twin concept of recovery and resurrection is not merely limited to the physical and natural realm, but also the spiritual realm. Recovery and resurrection are also just as real and just as powerful in the spiritual realm as there are countless men and women who are dead in their trespasses and dead in their sins—men and women who have spent their lives rotting in a tomb and grave. Oh that we would in this generation not only witness a physical recovery and resurrection as men and women recover from sickness and are raised from the dead, but also a spiritual recovery and resurrection. We desperately need to see men and women recover from addiction, recover from abuse, recover from violence, and so much more. We desperately need to see men and women raised from the dead and resurrected from their sins and trespasses as the same Spirit which raised Jesus from death to life causes them to rise. We serve a God who is not only able to cause men and women to recover from that which threatens their lives, but is also able to cause men and women to be raised from that which has consumed them with death. I leave you with these words which are found in the fifteenth chapter of the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians—“So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55). O DEATH, WHERE IS THY STING? O GRAVE, WHERE IS THY VICTORY!

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