Hezekiah Reigns in Judah

I wonder what would happen if we applied the same standards of loyalty to our Christian activities that we expect from other areas of our lives? If your car starts once every three tries, is it reliable? If the postman skipped delivery every Monday and Thursday, is he trustworthy … More

Faith

Hezekiah’s rule was characterized not only by devotion to God but by devotion with such intensity that even the high places were destroyed. Even the brazen serpent which Moses had erected seven hundred years earlier had become an object of worship and was reduced to scrap metal.

Hezekiah repaired the temple that had been desecrated during Ahaz’s rule. Worship was restored and all Israel from North and South were invited to the celebration of Passover. Of all the other godly kings of Judah, none ranked with Hezekiah. Unlike some of the other kings he did not apostatize later in life but kept the Mosaic Covenant faithfully. Because of this the Lord was with him and blessed him with success in all he undertook.

Hezekiah rebelled against Sennacherib, king of Assyria, which precipitated the Assyrian invasion recorded later. Sennacherib invaded Judah to enforce Ahaz’s commitment to Assyria that Hezekiah had broken (v. 7). In this campaign he captured 46 strong cities plus many villages in Judah. He then set up his headquarters in Lachish, a well fortified city about 30 miles southwest of Jerusalem.  Hezekiah did not want to fight Sennacherib, whose armies had been consistently successful so he quickly admitted his guilt in breaking with Assyria and offered whatever Sennacherib asked.

Application

Just as Hezekiah placed his faith in God’s strength rather than his own and he obeyed God’s commands in spite of the obstacles and dangers I need to do the same today.

II Kings 18:1-16 (English Standard Version)

In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah, king of Israel, Hezekiah the son of Ahaz, king of Judah, began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Abi the daughter of Zechariah. And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done. He removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan). He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him. For he held fast to the LORD. He did not depart from following him, but kept the commandments that the LORD commanded Moses. And the LORD was with him; wherever he went out, he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and would not serve him. He struck down the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city. In the fourth year of King Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah, king of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria and besieged it, and at the end of three years he took it. In the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken. The king of Assyria carried the Israelites away to Assyria and put them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes, because they did not obey the voice of the LORD their God but transgressed his covenant, even all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded. They neither listened nor obeyed. In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, "I have done wrong; withdraw from me. Whatever you impose on me I will bear." And the king of Assyria required of Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. And Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the LORD and in the treasuries of the king's house. At that time Hezekiah stripped the gold from the doors of the temple of the LORD and from the doorposts that Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid and gave it to the king of Assyria.

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