Introduction: During the past thirty years in the pastorate, there have been numerous times when I have been with a family at the moment a loved one has taken his or her last breath. What a difficult time that is! Oftentimes, I have found that the grieving family really has no idea what to do. Again and again it has been my privilege to make a call, on behalf of the family, to the funeral home, to inform them that a family needs their services.
I was recently in a service where Pastor Tim Cruse was preaching, and he referenced a verse that I had never noticed. The verse, found in Isaiah 38:14, states: “Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail with looking upward: O Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me.”
In this passage, the prophet Isaiah has given Hezekiah a death sentence. Upon hearing the news, Hezekiah turns to God and cries out for mercy. God hears, and answers the prayer of Hezekiah.
THE DEADLINE THAT IS EXPECTED
In Isaiah 38:1-2, Hezekiah is given some awful news. In no uncertain terms, the prophet predicts, “…For thou shalt die, and not live.” How many times have we received news that causes us alarm? Maybe the news was from a doctor, an employer, a disgruntled spouse, etc. When those times come, we need to do exactly what Hezekiah did. We need to turn and cry out to our God!
THE DEVELOPMENT THAT IS EXHIBITED
In Isaiah 38:2-3 we read of Hezekiah’s petition to God. He reminds God of his testimony. He speaks of his continuing walk, his perfect heart and his good works. God listens to Hezekiah’s cry, and then He responds through the prophet. In verses 4-5 we read of that response. God tells Hezekiah:
I have heard
Isn’t it a wonderful thing to know that God hears us when we cry? We can testify with the penman of Psalms 34:6, “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.”
I have seen
Not only did God hear Hezekiah’s cry, God saw Hezekiah’s tears. Your God knows what you are going through today. He knows and understands your burdens and frustrations.
I will add
What happened when Hezekiah cried out to God? God heard him, God saw him and God responded to him! Your prayers matter to your Father. If you pray, He will answer.
THE DECLARATION THAT IS EXPLAINED
In Isaiah 38:14 Hezekiah exclaims to God, “…Undertake for me.” That sounds both exciting and desperate simultaneously. What does it mean? If God undertakes for us, how does that help us?
To determine that, we need to take a closer look at the word undertake. The word means to pledge, to mortgage, to engage, to occupy, and to make surety for. When Hezekiah asks the Lord to undertake for him, it is much like a son asking a father to co-sign for a loan. When the father co-signs, he is committing to paying anything that the son cannot pay. When the son has done all that he can, and it isn’t enough, the father is committed to making up the difference. He is committed to undertaking for the son.
Isn’t it good to know that Jesus is our undertaker? When our good works are not enough to save us, His righteousness makes up the difference. When our strength is insufficient to sustain us, His power makes up the difference. When our human reasoning is not adequate, His wisdom makes up the difference. He is committed to being our undertaker, our co-signer.
If you feel overwhelmed today, call the undertaker. That doesn’t mean that you have lost your will to live, it simply means that you’ve realized that you don’t want to live without Him!