Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hezekiah (Continued)

So, I continue to consider our friend Hezekiah in II Kings 18.  Let me remind you that the scripture tells us that “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord…trusted in the Lord…held fast to the Lord and did not stop following Him; he kept the commands…And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.” (vv 5-8)

 I noticed something interesting in v.4:   Hezekiah’s rule began with a spiritual cleansing of the places of worship.  He had “removed the high places, smashed sacred stones, and cut down the Asherah poles”.  All of these places of worship were directed at the gods of the day – not Jehovah – the One True God.  But the Bible tells us also that “He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made”.  That bronze snake, though, was a symbol of God’s deliverance.  I’m sure you remember:   God led His people by Moses out of Egypt, through the Red Sea and into the wilderness. He provided water from a rock and  He provided good, nourishing “manna” daily for them to eat. He destroyed enemy armies all around them, He led them faithfully through every trial – kept them warm with a pillar of fire by night and cooled with a pillar of cloud by day in the desert.   But the people grew tired of it and began to grumble and complain.  They spoke against God and against Moses.  So, God sent venomous snakes that bit the people and many died.  But, the people repented and begged Moses to pray to the Lord for deliverance.  God spoke to Moses and told him to make a bronze snake and put it on a pole.  Anyone who was bitten could merely look at it and live.  That bronze snake saved their lives.  It was also a type and shadow of Christ and the deliverance that He would bring to all mankind.  Just as the Israelites could be delivered from the curse of their sin, we too can look to Christ and live. 

That bronze snake was meant to be kept as a reminder of the forgiveness and faithful loving kindness of the Lord.  So, why would Hezekiah destroy such a good thing?  The answer is in the latter part of v. 4: “for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it”.  They were worshiping the bronze snake rather than the Lord Himself.  Matthew Henry in his commentary says, “good things, when idolized, are better parted with than kept.” 

Are there “good things” in your life that you have idolized? – a husband, a wife, a child, a house, a job, a church, a ministry,?…The list could go on.  All these good things in our lives have been given to us by the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He desires to bless us with all good things, but is a jealous God.  Our hearts must be totally surrendered and our worship must be always and only to Him.   Perhaps today, we need to search our hearts and “break into pieces” any “bronze snakes” that we are worshipping. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


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”.

That’s sad.

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”. 

That’s good.

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.

That’s sad.

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)

That’s good

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.

That’s sad….

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..



                                 …THAT WOULD BE GOOD!