“In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.”’ Then Hezekiah . . . prayed to the Lord” (Isaiah 38:1-2).

He was a king riding the crest of victory,
Delivered miraculously by God
From King Sennacherib’s army.
He was wealthy and renowned
When sickness struck,
Bringing him to the brink of death.
The prophet warned,
“Get ready to die
It’s all over for you.”
But the king loved life,
And turning his face to the wall
Cried, and prayed to the Lord
For a new lease on life.
God heard and gave him fifteen more years.
But how should a man live
Who has won over death?
As so many do who survive
A close call with death.
Should he not live each day gratefully,
Giving himself humbly to God and mankind?
But the way of human flesh is not so.
The king began to glory in his own worth—
He sank in the mud of materialism,
Parading his treasures before foreigners.
A second message by the prophet was sounded
Of judgment on his posterity
For pride and ingratitude.
And how many today have been given
A new lease on life,
Only to spend their borrowed years
In selfish pursuit of things
Which have no value?
Eternity will reveal
It would have been better
For some to die
Rather than beat the rap.