Speaking the Truth in Love

Father Knows Best

See the source image“Father Knows Best” was a popular sitcom with a six-season run (1954-60). The show portrayed the life of the middle class Anderson family. Jim was in the insurance business. He and Margaret had three children—Betty, Bud, and Kathy. Human fathers don’t always know best, though. But our Father in heaven always does.

Hezekiah’s experience is a good illustration. This king reigned over Judah in a troubled time (c. 715-686 BC). The people had rejected the Lord and embraced idolatry. King Ahaz, Hezekiah’s own father, had even sacrificed his children in the fire. And now the cruel Assyrians invaded Judah, fully intending to crush Jerusalem.

But Hezekiah trusted God. He fervently prayed for deliverance from the host of Assyrians besieging the holy city. The Lord heard and answered. One night an angel struck 185,000 enemy soldiers dead. Invincible Sennacherib, the Assyrian tyrant, turned back and went home. And the Hebrews had never shot the first arrow.

Shortly afterward, Hezekiah became gravely ill. Dying at only 39 seemed unfair to a man who had so completely trusted in God. In prayer he begged for a longer life. The Lord gave him 15 more years.

When the Babylonians learned of Hezekiah’s sickness and subsequent recovery, they sent envoys to express their sympathy. Flattered, the king proudly showed off his treasuries. The prophet Isaiah sharply rebuked him for his foolishness. He predicted that the Babylonians would come to Jerusalem one day, plunder the royal treasury, and carry away the king’s descendants into captivity.

If Hezekiah had accepted God’s timing for his death, he would now be remembered as one of the greatest men of faith in the Bible. Instead, he stained his record in those added 15 years with an act of pride that paved the way for the Babylonian invasion of Judah a century later. The heavenly Father truly does know best.

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