When told by Isaiah that he will die from his sickness, Hezekiah turns his face to the wall and prays. A wooden rendering of the prayer would be along these lines: “Remember, please, that I have walked before your face in truth and with a heart of completion/peace (shalem) and the good in your eyes I have done” (Isaiah 38:3).
That lays out in a fairly neat chiasm:
A. Remember I have walked
B. Before your face
C. In truth
D. With a complete heart
C’. The good
B’. In your eyes
A’. I have done
The prayer is framed with general statements about Hezekiah’s way of life – walking and doing. His walk is before the face of God; his doings are before Yahweh’s eyes, which see and judge. His walk is truthful, faithful, a walk of integrity; the doings, like the doings of Yahweh Himself, are good (cf. Genesis 1, where God does, then sees, then pronounces good).
At the heart of the prayer is a prayer concerning Hezekiah’s heart. Yahweh looks not on the outward appearance, but on the heart, to see who walks before his face and does in His eyes with sincerity, a walking and doing from the heart. The prayer of a righteous man avails much, and Hezekiah asks Yahweh to judge him according to what is in and on his heart. Hezekiah is sure that when Yahweh looks at his heart, he will see a complete, perfect heart like David’s, not like Solomon’s (1 Kings 11:4; cf. 1 Kings 15:3, 14), a heart that is not led astray to idols. He is confident that the eyes of the Lord that run to and fro through the earth will spot his perfect heart and answer his prayer (2 Chronicles 16:9).
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Friday, May 25, 2012 at 9:27 am
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