Posts Tagged ‘Hezekiah’

2 Chronicles 32

2 Chronicles 32 has Hezekiah up against a new challenge.  “After these things and these acts of faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah”.  Hezekiah has just cleaned up the house of the Lord and reinstated the feasts and now an enemy is coming against him.  So he prepares for that battle.  He has his men “stop the water of the springs that were outside the city….made weapons and shields….set combat commanders over the people”.  Hezekiah takes physical steps to prepare for a long siege and battle.

But he does more.  He “spoke encouragingly….there are more with us than with him….with us is the Lord our God”,  Hezekiah had done what he could to prepare, but knows that the battle is truly the Lord’s and he lets the people know that while they are ready to fight, it is God that will do battle for them.  Of course the enemy is trying to discredit that idea completely.  They are speaking lies to the people.  “Is not Hezekiah misleading you, that he may give you over to die by famine and by thirst….do not let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you….do not believe him”.

The enemy surrounded the city and “they shouted it with a loud voice in the language of Judah to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, to frighten and terrify them, in order that they might take the city”.  Discouragement is a key way the enemy always comes after us.  If we don’t hear the audible words from others around us, certainly the enemy whispers in our ear that we cannot trust God.  That He won’t show up and do battle on our behalf.  But Hezekiah knows the secret and “prayed because of this and cried to heaven”.  God is his secret weapon and prayer activates God’s power.

The Lord sent an angel, who cut off all the mighty warriors and commanders and officers in the camp of the king of Assyria”.  They didn’t even have to raise a sword.  God took care of the enemy in their very own camp.  “The Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem….he provided for them on every side”.  He didn’t just win the battle for them.  God took care of all the details.  “Hezekiah did not make return according to the benefit done to him, for his heart was proud”.  Hezekiah gets prideful and believes he was the source of victory.  And God rebukes him and Hezekiah humbles himself and leads his people to repent of pride in a victory that was God’s.  “Hezekiah prospered in all his works”.

2 Kings 20

2 Kings 20 has Hezekiah king of Judah sick and on the edge of death.  Isaiah the prophet “came to him and said….Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.”  While Hezekiah wanted to know what his future held, that isn’t the answer any of us would want to hear.  So he does what has been his action every time he faced something that was difficult and out of his control. We can learn much from this king who did what was right in God’s eyes.  Going to God is the only response we should have too in light of every situation.

Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, saying….please remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight”.  Hezekiah doesn’t just ask God to heal him.  He reminds God of how they hwave walked together and the depth of the relationship they have.  Hezekiah talks about his faithfulness to God – a complete and wholehearted walk that has led to God’s being pleased.  The foundation of his request for healing was their relationship, not simply that he wanted to live longer.

So as Isaiah was walking away from the palace after delivering the message of Hezekiah’s coming death, God hears Hezekiah’s prayer and turns Isaiah around to give Hezekiah the new reality.  “I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you….I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city….I will defend this city.”  What started as a simple request to extend Hezekiah’s life has resulted in a promise of much more from the God he served.  That’s just like God – full of mercy and grace and abundance for those who walk with Him.  Hezekiah asks for proof that what Isaiah has said will happen.

First is the manner of healing God uses.  “Isaiah says….Bring a cake of figs. And let them take and lay it on the boil, that he may recover:”  God chooses a very specific way to remove the disease from Hezekiah.  But God goes much further.  He causes the sun to go backward in the sky – “let the shadow go back ten steps”.  This was a reference to the sundial that was used to keep time for the city.  By making the shadow of the sundial move backward, it gave more time in a day – just as God gave Hezekiah more time. It’s just like God to do miraculous things to assure his people, even at the individual level.

God’s assurance was just the miracle Hezekiah needed to prove to everyone that he was indeed walking with God.  He does some boneheaded things like showing some spies from Babylon where his wealth was hidden which leads to their capture of the kingdom in the future, but overall he walks in obedience.  Hezekiah was granted 15 more years and did some amazing things during his life including making “the pool and the conduit and brought water into the city”.  He served God and his people well. God hears our prayers when we walk with Him.  And He is more than able to respond to those requests.  It doesn’t mean He’ll always answer our way, but He definitely will hear us when we come to Him as faithful servants that chose to walk in obedience!

2 Chronicles 31

2 Chronicles 31 continues the lessons from Hezekiah on how to walk well with the Lord.  He took over at age 25 and immediately turned the people back to God.  He has gone through a series of offerings and cleansings and prayer.  Now “all Israel who were present went out” and destroyed the idols and other things that previous kings had allowed the people to fall to.  And they stayed on task “until they had destroyed them all”. Can you see this?  Things that had been around for a long time and were part of the culture are now being torn down and destroyed so they can get right with God.

But Hezekiah isn’t done.  “Hezekiah appointed the divisions of the priests and of the Levites” and created a structure of leadership that will keep them on track in their pursuit of God.  He realizes that while he may set direction, he needs other leaders in place that can help stay the course and serve the people well.  Remember how Jethro advised Moses to do this many years earlier.  Leadership is not just about setting direction.  It also involves creating a structure than can execute and carry out that vision.  That is what Hezekiah does here.

Next Hezekiah gets reall personal as “he commanded the people who lived in Jerusalem to give the portion due”.  He is messing with their pocketbook and that is when a lot of people begin to question whether walking with God is really all that necessary.  If it costs me money, time to draw the line.  But giving is a vital component to walking with God.  He asks us to give back from the blessing He provides, and Hezekiah asks the people to do that. What was the response?  “As soon as the command was spread abroad, the people of Israel gave in abundance the firstfruits….they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything”.  They not only brought their tithes, they did it immediately.  And they did it in abundance!

Hezekiah has completely turned the people back to God.  In fact, scripture tells us “they were faithful in keeping themselves holy”.  Do you realize how big this change was?  Before Hezekiah came to power, the kingdom had been in the weeds for many years.  Their way of life was without God.  They were following leaders that were not at all focused on serving God and obeying any commands but their own.  But along comes Hezekiah.  And “he did what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God”.  Hezekiah comes in as the new king and turns a nation back to God.  So what is the outcome?  “And every work that he undertook in the service of the house of God and in accordance with the law and the commandments, seeking his God, he did with all his heart, and prospered”.  Hezekiah was sold out to serving and worshipping God.  And God blessed him and his people indeed.  God loves it when we walk with Him.  He loves obedience.  Hezekiah is a textbook case in how we should walk with God!

2 Chronicles 29

2 Chronicles 29 shows us how Hezekiah changes the course of history, which was on a bad course when he came into power at age 25. We learn that “he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done”.  This is a complete turnaround from the past.  Scripture tells us that previous generations “have been unfaithful and have done what was evil in the sight of the Lord our God”.  So this is a complete 180 and he does it immediately.  There is no pause to evaluate the course.

“In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them”.  Hezekiah was all over it.  He didn’t take time to call for evaluation or a meeting to determine a course of action, he just got after it.  He called the troops together and said “consecrate yourselves, and consecrate the house of the Lord”.  This wasn’t just a personal mission for Hezekiah for himself.  It was a new way of living he was going to instill across his kingdom.  He knew that the problem was that “our fathers….They have forsaken him and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the Lord and turned their backs”.  And he was going to fix it.

He knew what had happened as a result of their sin.  “Therefore the wrath of the Lord came”.  There is a consequence to sin.  And Hezekiah was going to change it.  “Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel, in order that his fierce anger may turn away from us”.  Hezekiah was on a new course.  He was going to heal his land and make things right with God.  And he started with those who were to lead the people in the worship of God.  He gives them a direct command: “My sons, do not now be negligent, for the Lord has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him and to be his ministers and make offerings to him”.

He started with the priests, but Hezekiah was quick to take the new direction to all the people.  “The king commanded that the burnt offering and the sin offering should be made for all Israel”.  While he knew it started with leadership and at the top, this problem had penetrated all the people.  So he was going to address it throughout all the kingdom and all the people.  The priests sacrificed and involved everyone in getting things right with God.  And once they had, “the whole assembly worshiped, and the singers sang and the trumpeters sounded”.  They celebrated their new direction and relationship with the living God.  “When the offering was finished, the king and all who were present with him bowed themselves and worshiped”.  He led the way.  He demonstrated how to worship the Lord.  “And Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced because God had prepared for the people”.  It was a new way and a great place for the people to be!

%d bloggers like this: