Friday, June 09, 2017

King Hezekiah's Prayer of Thanksgiving

Hezekiah's Prayer of Thanksgiving

A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah after his illness and recovery
Isaiah 38:10-20

1. It seemed to me my life was at an end:
"Must I now through the gates of death descend?
Will I be robbed of my remaining years?"
I cried to God as I shed many tears.
I said, "I will not see the LORD again,
no more my friends and neighbours entertain."
Though not yet old I felt the end approaching.
I wept and called out to my God, lamenting.

2. Just like a shepherd will collapse his tent
so did I think my days were all but spent.
Or as a weaver's cloth is rolled away
so did my sickness cause me to decay.
I have been cut away from off the loom
and all that's left is swept up with a broom.
Throughout the night I waited for the morning
to no avail despite my patient longing.

3. For like a lion he broke all my bones.
I'm like a mourning dove that only moans
or like a swift or thrush that quickly flees
and seeks its safety in among the trees.
My eyes grew weak as I looked to the sky.
I'm troubled, LORD, please help me lest I die.
Throughout the night I waited for the morning
to no avail despite my patient longing.

4. What shall I say? I'm at a loss for words.
What I've experienced came from God, the LORD.
I will walk humbly my remaining years
because of all my anguish and my tears.
Lord, by such things do men and women live;
my spirit, too, finds life in what you give.
Restored to health I was not left to perish.
God let me live! His love and grace I cherish.

5. You kept me from destruction's yawning pit
and you forgave my wrongs, you did acquit
me of my guilt and all my wickedness.
I praise you for your lasting faithfulness.
You cast my sins and evil far away.
behind your back, far from the light of day.
Death and the grave you never hear exulting.
Only the living praise God, as I'm doing.

6.O parents, tell your children, let them know
about this God who saves us from all woe.
Tell them about his love and faithfulness.
Ensure they know about his gentleness.
The LORD will save me and we'll sing his praise
with harp and lyre exulting all our days.
In God's own temple we will all be singing.
From us, his people, psalms and hymns are ringing.

I set this canticle to the tune of Genevan 49 since the contents of Psalm 49 and of Hezekiah's prayer are so similar. Please see here for the arrangement.