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"The living, only the living, can thank You, as I do today; Fathers will tell their children about Your faithfulness." Isaiah 38:19
"Set your house in order, for you shall die, you shall not recover." Isaiah 38:1.  Death is a reality for every man, but few men are ever told that there days are numbered and they should prepare themselves and their families for their own demise.  Such was the case for the ancient King Hezekiah who became deathly ill and called out to the prophet Isaiah for a word from the Lord about his chances of recovering.  Isaiah, without fear or flinching looked the King in the eyes and gave him the wretched gift of hard truth- You are going to die.
This was not a punishment, for Hezekiah was a righteous man who walked before the Lord in faithfulness and with sincerity and wholeness of heart.  He had done what was good and pleasing in the Lord's sight (see Isaiah 38:3).  Yet, according to God's Word from Isaiah, Hezekiah's time on earth was nearly over.
Acknowledging the impending reality of death can be a very healthy process for the man who loves God.  We know that for the believer, death gives way eternity in light of the Gospel of Jesus made possible through His own crucifixion and resurrection.  Death is certainly not frivolous, it should be taken with a note of solemn reflection, but it is also not final.  The final nail in the coffin is nothing to fear when we remember the nail pierced Savior.  Our time on earth will come to an end, but the best is yet to come.
In the case of Hezekiah, however, he was not ready to die.  So, he cried out to the Lord for mercy and prayed that God might graciously heal his sickness and extend his life.  We will never understand or know how and why the Lord chooses to answer some such prayers, while not answering others of the like, but we do know that man is never faulted for praying them.  For Hezekiah, the Lord responded, sending Isaiah to say, "I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your life." Isaiah 38:5. As if this good news wasn't enough, the Lord provided a sign to Hezekiah, telling him that he would turn the shadow on the sun dial back 10 steps, thus defying the laws of science to demonstrate that God is over life and death.  God saved Hezekiah, and the King broke out in a song of praise!
In the text of this song, Hezekiah drops a piece of fruitful wisdom for every man, particularly every Father to pay close attention to- "The living, only the living, can thank You, as I do today; Fathers will tell their children about Your faithfulness." Isaiah 38:19.  The King had been given a second birth, a new lease on life, and he realized that only in his living days could he live with gratitude and tell his children about the faithfulness of God in his life.
Fathers... today is the day to tell your children your best stories about God's faithfulness!  Every day of life is an opportunity to tell and retell the stories of how God saved you, provided for you, redeemed you, rescued you and carried you through valleys, up to the mountaintops, our of the pits and into the promised land.  May your best stories not be about your own accomplishments and accolades, but about the great things that God has done.  Our focus is not on escaping death, but embracing life.  For this life is our time to live and relive our best stories!