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Turning to the Wall (Just A Minute #105)

Andy Bonikowsky
Written by Andy Bonikowsky
04/15/2010

In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live. Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the LORD. (Isaiah 38:1-2)

This reaction to bad news is unique in the Bible--not the praying part, but the turning to the wall.

Hezekiah had just received the terrible message from the prophet. Coming from God's man, the announcement of impending death could hardly be doubted. There was no chance of questioning a doctor's diagnosis or some family member's interpretation of symptoms.

He was going to die.

But the king was shocked. How could this happen to him? He had been living for God with a loyal heart! To receive news of this premature death when he had so many projects in mind was too much. He just had to rush into the secret place to speak with the Lord.

This was easier said than done. Just as we can understand his intense desire for privacy we can also see how it might be difficult in his condition. Everyone would be scrambling around to pamper him and make him comfortable, and he was apparently too sick to even get out of bed by himself. So, he turned his back on the elegant decor of his kingly bedroom to face the Lord, alone. His mind was reeling and he was horribly confused.

He prayed intensely, pouring out his soul to God in a direct, personal plea. He prayed earnestly, reminding the Lord of his sincere efforts at godly government and the honesty with which he had served Him.

By turning to the wall in prayer he showed where his trust was. Yes, he was king, but he was just a man, frail and vulnerable like anyone else. The world's latest medicine in the hands of the most learned physicians were of no interest to him. All he urgently wanted and needed was a private conversation with the Lord.

As Hezekiah turned his back to Isaiah, the prophet trudged sadly away.

However, before the preacher had crossed the middle palace court the Word of the Lord stopped him with the answer to the prayer being offered back at the wall. The news was good and I doubt Isaiah ever had a happier chore than tapping Hezekiah on the shoulder to tell him he could quit praying for healing.

Have you ever turned to the wall before? Were you surrounded by people, activities, a busy schedule, and there was no way to really get alone? Maybe all you could do was mentally look to the Throne of Grace. If you have, and if you had been earnestly following after God while the sea was calm, you will find Him there, facing you and ready.

Dear Father, help me respond correctly to the painful surprises of life. Grant me the faith to turn to the wall and talk with You. How easily and how often I jump and wrestle and fight instead of rolling over and looking to You, only You. The miracles will not come before this act of faith. Amen.

Andy