2 Kings 20:19-20
Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, Good is the word of the LORD which you have spoken. And he said, Is it not good…
"Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him: therefore there was wrath upon him and upon Judah and Jerusalem." The prophet was sent to say to him, "Behold the days come that all that is in thy house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord. And of thy sons which shall issue from thee — shall they take away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon." This was the humiliating and distressing message to which the penitent king made the reply in our text, "Good is the word of the Lord which thou bass spoken." Shall I call your attention to the holiness and happiness of such a temper, and to the universal obligation on mankind to offer this homage to their God and King? In doing this I will,
I. EXPLAIN PRECISELY WHAT THE TEMPER IS. It is a temper of universal and absolute submission to the will of God. There is a forced submission — a yielding because we cannot help it; but this is not the thing required. There is an acquiescence in the will of God when that will sends prosperity; but this is only a consenting that another should make us happy. The only true submission is that hearty acquiescence in the will of God which arises from supreme love to him. The reason why the wicked do not submit, is that they love themselves and their own enjoyments most. While such a temper continues, they must of course value their own gratification more than the Divine pleasure, and approve of the will of God only so far as that will is tributary to them. This selfishness is the root and core of all rebellion. When our own wishes and interests are less dear to us than that universal interest which is wrapt up in the Divine will, what can tempt us to unsubmission? what is there for us to oppose to that will? what interest have we to maintain against the wishes of God? But so certain as we love another interest better than that which the Divine will protects, we shall set up that interest against God, and resist whenever he lays his finger upon it. True submission then is the necessary effect of supreme love to God, and can arise from no other principle. This submission is to be distinguished from that morbid inactivity and aversion to care which, retiring from exertion, leaves God to be the only agent in the universe — which puts off burdens upon Him just as the indolent shift them off upon each other — which, instead of exerting a dependent agency with an eye fixed upon an overruling providence, leaves God to perform both His part and ours. That may be called submission to a providential dispensation, which really is indolence shrinking from an effort to change the posture of affairs. It is an essential part of God's plan, and for His glory, that creatures should obtain good by their own activity; otherwise there would be no use for their immortal powers. This activity He has therefore enjoined. "Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord," is the Christian's motto.
II. I AM TO DWELL A LITTLE ON THE HOLINESS AND HAPPINESS OF SUCH A TEMPER, and the universal obligation on mankind to exercise it. To love the righteous will of God, in which are balanced all the interests of the universe — which is perfectly wise and benevolent and right — to love that will better than our own interests, and to subject our interests and wishes to that; must be holy if any thing is holy — must be pure and sublime benevolence. How generous and noble is the temper. How infinitely superior to the littleness and meanness of a selfish spirit. And it is precisely what God commands. If then holiness consists in obeying God, it consists in rendering him that supreme love which will produce the submission in question. What can be holiness, what can be goodness, if it is not subjection to the will of eternal wisdom and benevolence? This submission to the will of God, so far as it operates, necessarily excludes all evil passions and conduct. For instance, it excludes all discontent. For one who knows that the providence of God is universal, and extends to the most minute events, and who is willing that the will of the Lord in all things should be done, and delights in that will more than in anything which that will can take away; what ground can there be for discontentment? If events are crossing to his feelings, still His supreme desire is gratified, for the will of the Lord is done; and though He may suffer he would by no means change a single circumstance about which the Divine will has been clearly expressed. But when the pleasure of God is known, a particle of discontentment evinces a want of submission. With proper resignation, we shall feel, under any cross event, that we have nothing to do, in mind or body, but to use the means which God has appointed to remove or support the evil. In looking forward into the wide expanse of futurity, or in contemplating the issue of any particular event, the Christian knows that nothing can happen but what the will of God appoints. While that will engages his supreme regard, how can he be anxious? It follows of course that submission will exclude every complaining word, every, angry, or bitter word, every impatient word. Submission will cure every inordinate desire after wealth, honour, pleasure, friends, ease, or whatever else we regard. An inordinate desire is an unsubmissive desire. Submission is an effectual cure of all envious feelings towards our neighbour. It follows of course that submission will exclude every falsehood, and I may add, every transgression. The temptation to transgress is a desire for some object which we cannot obtain without going counter to a Divine precept. Where the object is placed in this predicament by the providence of God, it is plain that submission to providence take away all motives to transgress. I add finally, that submission, so far as it extends, must quench every evil passion, and thus extinguish the inward fire from which all outward eruptions proceed. If it suppresses every inordinate desire, every feeling of discontent, all distrust of God, every motion of impatience. Thus the holiness of this temper appears. And its happiness is no less evident. Submission to God, as we have seen, excludes all those uncomfortable passions which make the wicked like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. It clears away everything that can agitate or corrode the mind. And as its very life-blood consists in supreme delight in the will of God, it has always the happiness of knowing that its dearest object is safe — that the ground of its highest exultation and joy is secure — that the will of infinite wisdom and benevolence will in all things be done. And in respect to the universal obligation, who can doubt that this is precisely the temper in which all moral agents ought to unite? The very definition of moral agents is, that they are under obligation to feel and do right and to avoid wrong. But in the temper under consideration, all the right feelings in the universe are involved, and by it all the wrong feelings in the universe are excluded. If you revolt from these conclusions, you must go back to the full admission that all men are under indispensable obligations to yield unlimited submission to God. Is he not our rightful King, and are we not His subjects? Is not His will perfect? Has not the Creator and Proprietor of all things a right to govern His own world according to His own pleasure? This is the religion Of the Old Testament and the New. Under the severest trials this resignation has all along been exemplified in the history of the Church. "The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord," said Job when all his children and possessions were destroyed. "Shall we receive good at the hand of the Lord, and shall we not receive evil?" was his language when covered with one tormenting ulcer from head to foot. In more general and common matters, the same acknowledgment of God and the same resignation to His will have all along been exemplified. A general acquiescence and joy in His government have always distinguished His true servants. All down the ages they have sung, "The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof."
(E. D. Griffith, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then said Hezekiah unto Isaiah, Good is the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken. And he said, Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days?