2 Chronicles 31:21, 32:7-8, 20-21, 25-26
One of the good ones!
After King David, God’s people–the nation of Israel–had many kings. Some of them were good, like Solomon. But many of them were not. In fact, more of them were plain awful than were good.
Hezekiah was one of the good ones. The bad kings worshipped other gods and/or trusted in their own military might or alliances to ensure their safety. The good kings trusted in God and followed his commands.
This was Hezekiah. He had all the pagan monuments (like Asherah poles) and places of worship (the ‘high places’) destroyed, then rededicated and reopened the Temple, and reactivated the priestly line of Levites (descendants of Levi) to ensure continual worship of the Living God.
In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow God’s laws and commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result, he was very successful.2 Chronicles 31:21 NLT
God rewarded Hezekiah with success. And not just political success, but also military success.
Hezekiah learned that Jerusalem would come under attack from King Sennacherib of Assyria, whose armies had already taken much of Israel, including the city of Samaria. So he made preparations like reinforcing the walls around Jerusalem. As he did, he made no secret of where he placed his hope.
“Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side! He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!” Hezekiah’s words greatly encouraged the people.2 Chronicles 32:7-8 NLT
When Sennacherib reached Jerusalem, the Assyrian king was very confident, and had a heavy advantage in his huge army. Hezekiah trusted God, but he was also overwhelmed by the prospect of facing such massive odds. He tore his clothes and prayed to God. He also consulted the prophet Isaiah for a word from the Lord.
Then King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer to God in heaven. And the LORD sent an angel who destroyed the Assyrian army with all its commanders and officers. So Sennacherib was forced to return home in disgrace to his own land. And when he entered the temple of his god, some of his own sons killed him there with a sword.2 Chronicles 32:20-21 NLT
Miraculously, in one night, much of the Assyrian army died in their sleep! King Sennacherib–who had talked a whole lot of trash about how Israel’s God would never be able to save them–was sent packing.
But Hezekiah was not perfect. After a period of peace, he became deathly ill. He prayed to the Lord, who showed him a ton of mercy…by healing him and extending his life by 15 years! Somehow, though, Hezekiah became proud of this.
But Hezekiah did not respond appropriately to the kindness shown him, and he became proud. So the LORD’s anger came against him and against Judah and Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah humbled himself and repented of his pride, as did the people of Jerusalem. So the LORD’s anger did not fall on them during Hezekiah’s lifetime.2 Chronicles 32:25-26 NLT
Thankfully, he was smart enough to humble himself and put his pride away, thereby averting God’s anger. If only we could all be that smart!
How do you rule your little kingdom? Do you trust God or your own strength? What do you do when threats set up camp outside your walls? As you answer these questions, look to King Hezekiah’s example.
Questions for Group Discussion
- Is it encouraging to know that archaeologists found Hezekiah’s seal? Why, or why not?
- What was the key to Hezekiah’s success, according to 2 Chronicles 31:21? Is this applicable to your life, or just to Judean kings?
- Hezekiah’s father Ahaz and son Manasseh were both evil kings of Israel, who worshiped other gods and led their kingdoms astray. What does this say about your choice to follow God?
Application: Uneven Parallels
You may not be a king, but you can still draw parallels between your life and Hezekiah’s.
Do so, by writing in something from your life that correlates with each of the following bullet points from Hezekiah’s life. If you have no experience with one of them, write “Not yet” for that bullet point.
|– Put in a position of authority|
– Experienced success
– Faced a huge threat
– Trusted God for victory
– Dealt with excessive pride
Now take a look at the parallels between your life and Hezekiah’s. How can you follow Hezekiah’s example and run your ‘kingdom’ as he did?