It Is Not the Netherworld That Gives You Thanks ! ( Canticle of Hezekiah 6/6 )

“For it is not the netherworld that gives you thanks , nor death that praises you. Neither do those who go down into the pit await your kindness.  The living, the living give you thanks as I do today! Fathers declare to your sons, O Lord, your faithfulness the Lord is our  Saviour. We shall sing to stringed instruments  in the house of the Lord all the days of our lives ! ”


Hezekiah , realizing the blessing that he has received, is rejoicing and praising God .  He is joyful  an thankful for his healing and so he says this joy should be passed on to everyone !

The first thing that we can see is that Hezekiah , in his human nature , sees his crisis in human eyes, where this is a terrible thing and there is doom and gloom all about him, fearing for his earthly life.  In life there are crisis of every type and size.  From minor inconveniences, to catastrophic events.  In each case, the response to these crisis might be anything from grumbling and annoyance to pleading for rescue and relief.

The first lesson is that we are thankful.  Thankful for the blessing we already receive.  This is the easy part.  The Lord told us to love our enemies, and that it was not just our family and friends we need to love.  Even those who do not have faith do that.  The same is true here.  Those who have no faith at all in any god are thankful for relief from a difficult situation.

As Christians we need to be thankful all the time even in the midst of crisis. This is where the mark of faith resides.

The other part of this story that we do not have recorded for us is “the story behind the story” ! Consider for a moment that this is very much a story of single vision.   No one lives in a vacuum … Hezekiah was a king !  he had family, and servants.  Physicians , nurses, maids, probably a multitude of people literally at his beck and call.

We know nothing of these other people as their story is not recorded …. Who brought him water when he was thirsty ?  Who was it who stayed with him all night ?  Who wiped his face and put cool cloths on his head ? Who carried him in their hearts and prayers as they could no longer stay with him ?

All these people , to spite their positions or circumstances were effected by the crisis.  Each of these people  were given a cross to carry, a challenge.  Each of these people were also given a blessing !  It was an opportunity to engage in a corporal work of mercy.  It was an opportunity to offer their work as a sacrifice to God and to serve God through one who needed mercy.

The final facet of this story is that  through this story of fear and suffering, relief and praise is the idea that through the challenges we face in life there is an even greater opportunity to share our faith through the example of how we life our lives.   It is easy to praise God in the good times , when things are easy.  The test we get is how we live our lives and praise God when things are getting difficult.  Is also then that we have the greatest testament, the greatest witness, and our greatest opportunity both for ourselves, and all who are effected by their own service and witness to the glory of God !





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