I’ve been reading about Hezekiah. Are you familiar with him? You can find accounts of his life in II Chronicles 29-32 and II Kings 18-20. If you are familiar with him, what do you think of at the mention of his name? Most likely you remember him as the king of Judah who was dying and God gave 15 more years of life. You know, the one who was given the sign of his healing by God “backing the sun up 10 ten steps”…the one who was then lifted up in pride – and the added 15 years of his life were his downfall. A son born to him during that time became the next king of Judah – Manasseh, who “did evil in the eyes of the Lord”. He was 12 years old when Hezekiah died.
I’ve often, through the years, heard preachers expound on this aspect of Hezekiah’s life. They say, be careful what you ask for – it may be the thing that destroys you. They put much blame on Hezekiah for his son’s evil. They focus on those last 15 years. But, I’m not so sure we should.Hezekiah’s great grandfather was Uzziah. II Chronicles 26 tells us that “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” and “as long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.” However, after he “became powerful, his pride led to his downfall”. In unfaithfulness and unconsecrated for the task of priest, he attempted to burn incense to the Lord in the temple. The Lord struck him with leprosy and he “had leprosy until the day he died”. He reigned 52 years and had great success, victories, power, and wealth – all given to him by God, yet when he died, “people said, “He had leprosy”. I don’t know how many years he “did what was right in the sight of the Lord”, but people only remembered how his life ended.
Fifty two years of reigning as king, doing right in the Lord’s eyes, seeking the Lord, and having success was forgotten. His sin of pride overshadowed all the good in his past. The history books remember Uzziah as the one who “had leprosy”.
Hezekiah’s grandfather was Uzziah’s son, Jotham. What was said of him was that he “grew powerful because he walked steadfastly before the Lord His God”. “He did what was right in the sight of the Lord”.
Hezekiah’s father was Jotham’s son, Ahaz. “He did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord…following the detestable ways of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites…he promoted wickedness in Judah and had been most unfaithful to the Lord” . He “became even more unfaithful to the Lord”… when trouble came on him and his people.
Then Ahaz died and his son Hezekiah became king at the age of 25. Even though Ahaz followed detestable ways, promoted wickedness, and was unfaithful to the Lord, the scriptures tell us that Hezekiah “trusted in the Lord” (II Kings 18:5). “He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following Him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.” (II Kings 18:6,7)
But do we remember Hezekiah for that? No, often he is remembered for the sin of pride after God had so miraculously healed him and promised him 15 more years of life. Then we further blame him for improperly raising his son Mannassah.
But I don’t see a pattern here. Good kings begat evil sons and evil kings begat good sons. So what do we learn from these examples?
1) We all have a personal choice to make. Whether we have had a good parental example or a bad one, the choice to serve God and walk in His ways is ours. There is no excuse for upbringing. We cannot say, “I had a bad example growing up, therefore I cannot truly walk a righteous life”. The fact of the matter is this: obey God, follow His precepts and all His promises are yours. It will be good for you and for those around you... That’s good…
2) Parents often blame themselves for a wayward child. Though we do reap what we sow at times, our children do have their own choices to make. And they often choose the way of the world. And …that’s sad.
3) God is faithful. If we yield our trust in Him and follow His ways, we will be blessed and God will grant us success in our dealings…. And that’s good…
4) We must be careful to serve the Lord ALL THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES. One indiscretion can ruin our reputation. A soiled reputation can erase may years of good things. …and that’s sad..
SO, MAY WE GET TO THE END OF OUR DAYS AND IT BE REMEMBERED OF US …
THAT WE TRUSTED IN THE LORD AND NEVER STOPPED FOLLOWING HIM – THAT THE LORD WAS WITH US AND GAVE US SUCCESS IN WHATEVER WE UNDERTOOK.
…THAT WOULD BE GOOD!