The Faith of Hezekiah

This is from 2 Kings 18 – 20; 2 Chronicles 29 – 32; Isaiah 36 – 39)

Hezekiah was a good king (in fact, the Bible says that there was no king in Judah better before or after.) . He did many reforms, including getting rid of the idols and them crazy pole thingies. He also restored the Passover (which hadn’t been celebrated fully in hundreds of years!!!). He invited Israel (which hadn’t fallen yet and wouldn’t for another few years.) but few came. However, loads came from Judah.
He tried to get independent from Assyria (one of his ancestors had been responsible for that, causing them to fall under Assyrian rule.) He refused to pay the tribute and he got clobbered pretty bad. He was forced to pay a huge tribute and had to take gold and stuff out of the Temple to pay for it (which made him sad I’m sure.)

Later, he tried to get free again. He prepared for a siege. The evil king of Assyria came and tried to get the people to turn against Hezekiah. He offered them weapons, trying to mock them to say that, even with the weapons that he would give them, more than they had already or could get on their own, they couldn’t defeat the weakest of his armies. He offered them rewards if they would desert Hezekiah and join him.
However, the people didn’t budge. So he threatened them. Worse, he mocked God, saying that God had helped him take over the nations (which, ironically, was true). However, he said that God had willed that they fall into his hands (NOT true). He said that their god (God) couldn’t save them more than the gods of the heathen nations that he had beaten.

Things look really bad for Hezekiah. However, he did the right thing and went to God for help. God told him, through Isaiah, that God would sent the evil king away, where he would die at home. Also, he would send the armies away.
The King of Assyria got a message saying that some nations were causing trouble. He left, as God had said, but the army was still there. Hezekiah again went to God. God sent him a sign that all would be well. Hezekiah had the people do a day of mourning and prayer. This worked.

God sent an angel that smote 185,000 of the Assyrians in the night. When the survivors woke up, they saw all dead guys. The wisely decided to live and let live (LITERALLY).
Meanwhile, the evil king of Assyria was at home in Nineveh (their capital). He was praying to an idol. Two of his sons went and killed him with a sword and then took off. (Guess HIS god couldn’t save him! Given his taunt of Judah, this is quite ironic!) Another of his sons became king in his stead.

However, Hezekiah didn’t have much time to party. He soon got a very bad illness. God told him that he would die and to set his affairs in order. (I think this may have been going on before Assyria had been defeated.) Hezekiah, however, cried out to God, pointing out his faithfulness to God.
God told Isaiah to tell Hezekiah that God had heard him and that he would live another 15 years. God told him to go to the Temple and that He would also protect them from Assyria. God told him to use a certain remedy to get well. Hezekiah did. He asked a sign from God that he would get well. God agreed to move the shadows back ten steps and God did. He then went to the Temple. Hezekiah indeed had a strong relationship with God!

Alas, Hezekiah, like many, had his moment of pride. He got ambassadors from Babylon. He showed them all of his wealth. He did not praise God or point them to God.
God was displeased. He warned that someday Babylon would defeat them. However, Hezekiah arrogantly didn’t care, as he was sure, from what God had told him, that it wouldn’t occur during his lifetime. (As a side note, Hezekiah appears to have repented at some point.) Hezekiah’s falling out with God would influence his son Manasseh to be the worst king of Judah ever and one of the worst kings of the Divided Kingdom.
Hezekiah had a strong faith with God and relied strongly on Him. We should do the same. And certainly, we should never get proud like Hezekiah did and not care that future generations will suffer because of our actions just because the results won’t happen in our lifetimes.


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