Isaiah 38 … Consider His Reassuring Sign that He Hears Our Prayers and Sees Our Tears

Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying, “Go and say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of your father David, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will add fifteen years to your life,'” (38:4-5).

There was such comfort in the words Isaiah brought from the Lord. Was that all Hezekiah needed? Was the thought of God paying attention to him in his affliction, the declaration that God was listening and watching, was that all Hezekiah needed to be convinced? Apparently not, for even after the prophet ministered a physical treatment for his illness, still he asked for a sign.

Now Isaiah had said, “Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil, that he may recover.” 22 Then Hezekiah had said, “What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the Lord?” (38:21-22).

The way this chapter is constructed makes it appear as though Hezekiah asked for a sign after he had been told what the sign would be.

“This shall be the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing that He has spoken: Behold, I will cause the shadow on the stairway, which has gone down with the sun on the stairway of Ahaz, to go back ten steps.” So the sun’s shadow went back ten steps on the stairway on which it had gone down, (38:7-8).

But Hezekiah’s prayer actually recounted the events that transpired from the time Isaiah informed him that he would die to the time of his healing. In Hebrew writing, a scenario is often depicted first and then followed with further details; and so it is with this prayer of King Hezekiah.

A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah after his illness and recovery: (38:9).

2 Kings 20 expresses in greater detail Hezekiah’s need for a sign, and not just any sign, but a difficult sign, one seemingly impossible. For when God performs the impossible, faith is strengthened to believe that He will do exactly as He has spoken, for nothing is too difficult for Him.

Now Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the Lord the third day?” Isaiah said, “This shall be the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing that He has spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten steps or go back ten steps?” 10 So Hezekiah answered, “It is easy for the shadow to decline ten steps; no, but let the shadow turn backward ten steps.” 11 Isaiah the prophet cried to the Lord, and He brought the shadow on the stairway back ten steps by which it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz, (2 Kings 20:8-10).

And God responded with His Reassuring Sign, a seemingly impossible one; and Hezekiah received his healing. But the truth is, sometimes our prayers seem to go unanswered and the healings don’t come, at least not in the way we think they should.

And I needed to be reminded today, I needed to remember even when He delays, even in the waiting, still we have His Reassuring Sign that He Hears Our Prayers and Sees Our Tears.

Consider His Reassuring Sign that He Hears Our Prayers and Sees Our Tears

The truth is, whether or not we get the answer we want, He gave us His Reassuring Sign that He Hears the Prayers and Sees the Tears of all those who come to Him in faith.

And because He sent His Reassuring Sign, and not just any sign, but a difficult sign, one seemingly impossible, our faith is strengthened to believe that He will do exactly as He has spoken; for when God performs the impossible, nothing is too difficult for Him.

  • His Reassuring Sign given in the Birth of His Son:
    • But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger,” (Luke 2:10-12).
  • His Reassuring Sign given in the Life of His Son:
    • You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin, (1 John 3:5).
  • His Reassuring Sign given in the Death of His Son:
    • knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ, (1 Peter 1:18-19).
  • His Reassuring Sign given in the Resurrection of His Son:
    • Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, (1 Peter 1:3-4).

And in the Birth, Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have His Reassuring Sign that He Hears Our Prayers and See Our Tears no matter where we find ourselves in this life.

  • When we feel abandoned and frightened, He Hears Our Prayers and Sees Our Tears
    • As for me, I said in my alarm,
      “I am cut off from before Your eyes”;
      Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications
      When I cried to You,
      (Psalm 31:22).
  • When we are brokenhearted and crushed in spirit, He Hears Our Prayers and Sees Our Tears.
    • The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
      And His ears are open to their cry…

      17 The righteous cry, and the Lord hears
      And delivers them out of all their troubles.
      18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
      And saves those who are crushed in spirit,
      (Psalm 34:15, 17-18).
  • When we are wandering and overwhelmed by the enemy, He Hears Our Prayers and Sees Our Tears.
    • You have taken account of my wanderings;
      Put my tears in Your bottle.
      Are they not in Your book?
      Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call;
      This I know, that God is for me.
      10 In God, whose word I praise,
      In the Lord, whose word I praise,
      11 In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid.
      What can man do to me?
      (Psalm 56:8-11).
  • When we are brought low and in need of rescue, He Hears Our Prayers and Sees Our Tears.
    • The Lord preserves the simple;
      I was brought low, and He saved me.
      Return to your rest, O my soul,
      For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
      For You have rescued my soul from death,
      My eyes from tears,
      My feet from stumbling.
      I shall walk before the Lord
      In the land of the living,
      (Psalm 116:6-9).
  • When we are in the pit of despair and desperate for relief, He Hears Our Prayers and Sees Our Tears.
    • I called on Your name, O Lord,
      Out of the lowest pit.
      56 You have heard my voice,
      “Do not hide Your ear from my prayer for relief,
      From my cry for help.”
      57 You drew near when I called on You;
      You said, “Do not fear!”
      58 O Lord, You have pleaded my soul’s cause;
      You have redeemed my life,
      (Lamentations 3:55-58).

How do we respond to His Reassuring Sign that He Hears Our Prayers and Sees Our Tears?

Is it enough? Is it enough to know and believe that He Hears Our Prayers and Sees Our Tears? What if we heard Him say, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears,” and then after that, silence?

But hasn’t He given us His Reassuring Sign, the most impossible sign, the greatest of all signs in the Birth, Life, Death and Resurrection of His Son? Shouldn’t that be enough for us to believe that He will do exactly as He has spoken, to believe that nothing is too difficult for Him, even in His delays and in the waiting?

Jesus knew the Father Heard His Prayers and Saw His Tears; and although His prayer was not met with the response He had requested, He chose to accept the Father’s answer and learn obedience as He submitted to His Father’s Will. And if Jesus chose to do so, how much more should we.

And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, 42 saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done,” (Luke 22:41-42).

In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered, (Hebrews 5:7-8:).

Hezekiah acknowledged the benefit he received from his bitterness; for he learned that in those bitter times, faith is strengthened to believe that He Hears Our Prayers and Sees Our Tears. And even in the bitterness of our circumstances, when we turn to Him in faith He will reassure us of His promise to deliver us from despair and the guilt of our sins, for He has given us His Reassuring Sign in His Beloved Son.

“Lo, for my own welfare I had great bitterness;
It is You who has kept my soul from the pit of nothingness,
For You have cast all my sins behind Your back,”
(38:17).

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, (Colossians 1:13-14).

It just so happened, as I came to this chapter, I came needing His reassurance that my prayers are heard and my tears are seen. And the Lord brought me another reminder through a devotion by Charles H. Spurgeon that expresses the truth that He Hears Our Prayers and Sees Our Tears. Though a bit lengthy, I share it below with prayers that you will also find encouragement in His delays and in your waiting, for He has given us His Reassuring Sign.

From Spurgeon Morning and Evening  (Evening, March 29):

“Prayer sometimes tarrieth, like a petitioner at the gate, until the King cometh forth to fill her bosom with the blessings which she seeketh. The Lord, when he hath given great faith, has been known to try it by long delayings. He has suffered his servants’ voices to echo in their ears as from a brazen sky. They have knocked at the golden gate, but it has remained immovable, as though it were rusted upon its hinges. Like Jeremiah, they have cried, “Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through.” Thus have true saints continued long in patient waiting without reply, not because their prayers were not vehement, nor because they were unaccepted, but because it so pleased him who is a Sovereign, and who gives according to his own pleasure. If it pleases him to bid our patience exercise itself, shall he not do as he wills with his own! Beggars must not be choosers either as to time, place, or form. But we must be careful not to take delays in prayer for denials: God’s long-dated bills will be punctually honoured; we must not suffer Satan to shake our confidence in the God of truth by pointing to our unanswered prayers. Unanswered petitions are not unheard. God keeps a file for our prayers—they are not blown away by the wind, they are treasured in the King’s archives. This is a registry in the court of heaven wherein every prayer is recorded. Tried believer, thy Lord hath a tear-bottle in which the costly drops of sacred grief are put away, and a book in which thy holy groanings are numbered. By and by, thy suit shall prevail. Canst thou not be content to wait a little? Will not thy Lord’s time be better than thy time? By and by he will comfortably appear, to thy soul’s joy, and make thee put away the sackcloth and ashes of long waiting, and put on the scarlet and fine linen of full fruition,” (emphasis added).

Let us ever cling to His Reassuring Sign that has confirmed He will always do what He has spoken; for He has performed the most impossible of all things when He granted us eternal life in Christ.

“This shall be the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing that He has spoken,” (38:7).

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord, (Romans 6:23).

Let us trust Him to strengthen us with resolute and unwavering faith through the Birth, Life, Death and Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ, as we wait and trust Him Who Hears Our Prayers and Sees Our Tears. For the day is coming when every Prayer will be answered and every Tear will be wiped away.

They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes,” (Revelation 7:16-17).

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away,” (Revelation 21:3-4).

Until that day, let us continue to wait and watch expectantly, absolutely convinced that He Hears Our Prayers and Sees Our Tears. And let us choose to always believe that because He gave us His Best in His Reassuring Sign, that His answers are always best, even in His delays.

But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation.
My God will hear me,
(Micah 7:7).

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32).

Let’s Grow Together!

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