King Hezekiah handled the distribution throughout all Judah, doing what was pleasing and good in the sight of the Lord his God. 1 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.
A little background before we begin: the nation of Israel divided after King Solomon (because Solomon abandoned the Lord – 1 King11) The north, or Samaria, had 10 tribes and the south, Judah had 2 tribes. Long story short, North Israel- Samaria was ultimately destroyed while Hezekiah reigned in Judah, the kingdom of Israel was taken captive by Assyria and the people were scattered among the nations. The remaining nation of Judah stood alone. The bible tells us the that the fall of Israel was due to the sins of their kings and the people. I’m not talking about one or two sins, I’m talking about years and years of the people rejecting God, rejecting God’s laws, refusing to listen to warning and finally meeting their ultimate destruction.
Enter King Hezekiah at age 25 as King of Judah. Now Judah was not without fault, but within Judah, God saw a remnant of righteousness and King Hezekiah was one who stood out at being righteous before the Lord. The Kings had the power to bring sin or righteousness into the nation with their leading. Hezekiah’s father, King Ahaz was a wicked king, even sacrificing his own sons and being in alliance with Assyria, yes the nation who destroyed their own family to the north, Israel. Hezekiah, his son, steps in and changes everything – for the good.
Hezekiah begins to rule in the 3rd year of King Hoshea of Israel. Just 6 years later, Samaria/Israel is wiped out and destroyed by Assyria leaving only southern Judah ruled by Hezekiah standing strong. Samaria/ Israel falls during Hezekiah’s of Judah’s 6th year because ” Israel refused to listen to the Lord their God and obey him” . Assyria eventually goes after Judah, because, unlike his father, Hezekiah will not submit to Assyria. Assyria is unsuccessful, all thanks to the Lord’s amazing help, his angelic army, and his strategic maneuvers.
Hezekiah’s story begins in 2 Chronicles 29 and 2 Kings 18 (Also in Isaiah)
K Hezekiah did what was pleasing to the Lord
- He repaired and opened the Temple doors
- Demanded the Levites purify themselves and once again lead the people to worship the Lord
- Cleansed the temple
- brought back the Passover
- during his reign, the leaders of Simeon completely destroyed the descendants of Ham and the Meunites- No trace of them remains today. They destroyed them and took their land. They also destroyed the few Amalekites who survived.
- Brought back the feasts of the Lord
- held the greatest celebration to the Lord since the days of Solomon
- He remained faithful to the Lord in everything, obeying all the commands of Moses
- He conquered the Philistines in Gaza
- he broke the bronze serpent that Moses had made because the people of Israel had been offering scarifies to it. They had named it Nehushtan
- Brought goods back into the storehouses for the Priests
- brought knowledge to the people by having Levites teach the knowledge of the Lord
- repaired walls, erected towers, put up a second wall , reinforced terraces
- manufactured weapons and shields
- built special treasury buildings for his silver, gold, precious stones, spices, shields and other valuables
- built a pool and dug a tunnel to bring water into the city
- saved a nation because of his humble heart and obedience to God
- He constructed many storehouses for grain, new wine and olive oil.
- He made many stalls for his cattle and pens for his flocks of sheep and goats
- He built many towns and God gave him great wealth
- He blocked up the upper spring of Gihon
- he brought back the Passover and feasts of the Lord
- he purified the priests, the temple and the people
- collected and recorded Proverbs of King Solomon Pr 25-
- He brought back and obeyed all the commands of God, the commands the Lord have to King David
- “And so he succeeded in everything he did” 2 Chronicles 32:30
- lived during time of prophet Isaiah and prophet Micah of Moresheth
Once the Temple and priests were cleansed, he gathered the people and made a great offering/ sacrifice to the Lord for the sins of all the people
Imagine this first gathering of worship:
The entire assembly worshiped the Lord as the singers sang and the trumpets blew, until all the burnt offerings were finished. Then the king and everyone with him bowed down in worship. King Hezekiah and the officials ordered the Levites to praise the Lord with the psalms written by David and by Asaph the seer. So they offered joyous praise and bowed down in worship…. So the Temple of the Lord was restored to service. And Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced because of what God had done for the people, for everything had been accomplished so quickly.
This was an amazing day for the people, imagine everyone in the land coming together as one to offer praise and honor the Lord with song and rejoicing, but also with repentant hearts and acknowledgment of their sin and God’s mercy
This was just the beginning! He sent word inviting the people of Ephrain, Manasseh, Jerusalem, all Israel to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. At this time, the people had not celebrated Passover. Word went out to all the people, some mocked them and others humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem.
A HUGE crowed assembled to celebrate God’s holy feast of unleavened bread! They removed the idols and the pagan altars. Although they missed the original day of Passover, instead of waiting for the proper day the following year, they held the Passover a month later than usual. The local people were not properly prepared or cleansed for this special feast so Hezekiah prayed, “May the Lord, who is good, pardon those 19 who decide to follow the Lord, the God of their ancestors, even though they are not properly cleansed for the ceremony.” And the Lord listened to Hezekiah’s prayer and healed the people.
I find it amazing how quickly and instantly God hears prayers – there is no time delay or a waiting period. There may be a waiting period to be answered, but God immediately hears prayers. (also see Daniel, his prayer was instantly heard and instantly answered but demonic forces stood in the way of the answer arriving)
Imagine this holy celebration! It was the GREATEST CELEBRATION since the days of King Solomon:
The people of Israel in Jerusalem joyously celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread for 7 days! Each day the Levites and priests sang to the Lord, with loud instruments The celebration continued for seven days. Peace offerings were sacrificed, and the people gave thanks to the Lord, the God of their ancestors.3 The entire assembly decided to continue the festival another seven days, so they celebrated joyfully for another week. The entire assembly of Judah rejoiced, including the priests, the Levites, all who came from the land of Israel, the foreigners who came to the festival, and all those who lived in Judah. There was GREAT JOY, for Jerusalem had not seen a celebration like this one since the days of Solomon, King David’s son. Then the priests and Levites stood and blessed the people, and God heard their prayer from his holy dwelling in heaven.
Wow, just wow.
After the celebration, the people continued to destroy all the idols, pillars, poles, shrines and pagan altars. K. Hezekiah made so many good changes, by good, I mean by bringing the people back to the Lord. Teaching them, bringing knowledge of God’s word to the people, restoring the duties of the priests and Levites in order to Honor the Lord as well as bringing the tithes of people back to the temple. The people gladly gave until there was an overflow of abundance.
TROUBLE COMES, Here comes Assyria….
King Sennacherib of Assyria invades Judah (remember, he had just destroyed Samaria and taken the land captive and Hezekiah’s father was bf with Assyria) . Hezekiah strategically blocks the Assyrians water supply, increases military strength, creates new weapons and enforces protection around the city. He tells the people: “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.
TAUNTING WORDS OF DISCOURAGEMENT AND DESPAIR
King Sennecherib of Assyria mocks King Hezekiah of Judah and his hope in God. His words are meant to discourage and crush the hope of the people. He mocked the God they hoped in. (2 Chronicles 32) The Assyrians shouted the threats and hopelessness to all who had gathered along the wall to listen. Instead of speaking in Arabic, they shouted in Hebrew so all the people could hear and understand. And they shouted:
- What makes you think your God can rescue you from me?
- Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you! Don’t listen to your king!
- your king, Hezekiah, will never be able to rescue you from my power.
- Don’t let your king fool you into trusting in the Lordby saying, ‘The Lord will surely rescue us. This city will never fall into the hands of the Assyrian king!’
- no god of any nation or kingdom has ever yet been able to rescue his people from me or my ancestors.
- Hezekiah is misleading you
- Make a peace treaty with me and you will be blessed
- perhaps you will say to me, ‘We are trusting in the Lordour God!’ But isn’t he the one who was insulted by Hezekiah?
- Have the gods of any other nations ever saved their people from the king of Assyria?
- Which of their gods was able to rescue its people from the destructive power of my predecessors?
- the God of Hezekiah will also fail
- What are you trusting in that makes you so confident?
- What god of any nation has ever been able to save its people from my power? So what makes you think that the Lordcan rescue Jerusalem from me?”
These words of discouragement were shouted to all the people gathered on the walls of the city in their own language so they could understand and try to terrify them. King Hezekiah’s men tell the men to Assyria to shhhhhh! and talk in Arabic so the people wouldn’t hear but they refused and said ” King of Assyria wants all the people to hear it, for when we put you to seige, they will suffer with you! You will be hungry, thirsty so much you will eat your own dung and drink your own urine”
However, the king had commanded the people to be silent and not to answer the Assyrians so the people did not utter a word. The Kings men reported to Hezekiah and tore their clothes in despair as they went. Hezekiah joins them, he tore his clothes, put on burlap and went to the Temple. He sent his men to call on Isaiah and request prayer and tell the Lord how the king of Assyria had defied the living God.
ISAIAH STEPS IN
The prophet Isaiah and K.Hezekiah cried out in prayer. and the Lord sent and angel to destroy the Assyrian army 185000 of them, the ground was littered with corpses when the rest of the Assyrian army awoke! God hears prayer! As prophesied, King Sennecherib of Assyria went back to Ninevah, his capital, and as he was worshiping his god Nisroch, his 2 sons killed him with a sword and Esahadon became next ruler of Assyria..see below for full story:
King Hezekiah sends messengers requesting prayer and and update on what is going on with Assyria. Isaiah reports to K. Hezekiah: ” The Lord says: Do not be disturbed by this blasphemous speech against me from the Assyrian King’s messengers. Listen! I myself will move against him and the king will receive a message that he is needed at home. So he will return to his land where I will have him killed with a sword”
Then, as the Lord had said, King Sennecherib is called back home to Assyria and eventually killed by his own sons.(with a sword)- and even on his way back home, before his death, he sent more threats to Hezekiah, saying don’t trust in your God! He deceives you with promises.
Hezekiah prays in the temple with the letter spread out before the Lord and asks the Lord to look at the words , listen to the defiance against the living God.
Isaiah sends message to King of Assyria/ King Sennecherib 2 Kings19:20-30
The daughter of Zion laughs in your face – oh Assyria, you are despised, we shake our heads as you walk by, what a joke you are
Who do you think you’ve been defiling? Against who did your raise your voice? No one messes with our God, the living God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, No one.
You think your men and your chariots make you so great? you think because you’ve destroyed nations that you are above God? You sit in your abundance of pride, but God is not mocked.
Your end approaches. Have you not heard? The Lord planned this out before you existed! Long ago, and now it is happening. I planned for you to crush those nations, that was the Lord, not your own power. But Oh Assyria, the Lord know you very well. He knows where you go, where you came from, the words youve spoken against Him and now the Lord says ” I will put a hook in your nose and a bit in your mouth. I will make your return by the same road on which you came”
Isaiah gives Hezekiah a promise from the Lord (vs29) and another word against the king of Assyria- that their armies would not enter Jerusalem, nor surround it, the king will return to his own country
An angel of the Lord went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 18500 Assyrian soldiers
Hezekiahs untimely death and sickness about this time- Hezekiah is in his 14th year of reign and all this stuff with Assyria just went down…
Hezekiah becomes deathly ill, Isaiah brings a word from the Lord to him ” Get your affairs in order, you are going to die, you will not recover” but prayer….. Hezekiah prayed to the Lord and before Isaiah had left, the Lord said – Go back and tell Hezekiah, I have heard his prayer and in 3 days I will heal you. I have seen your tears. I will add 15 years to your life and I will rescue you and this city from Assyria- for the sake of my servant David.
The SUN GOES BACKWARDS? FIG OINTMENT?
Read 2 Kings 20:7-11 We have and odd verse that Isaiah made a fig ointment that was put on the kings boils, then he was healed. Also a sign was given to Hezekiah proving God would heal him, he was given the option of the shadow on the sundial to forward 10 steps or backward 10 steps, Well Hezekiah says backwards, because it always goes forward. And Isaiah prayed, and the Lord caused the shadow to move 10 steps backward on the sundial of Ahaz!
Sin of PRIDE Sneaks in the Heart
After the Lord healed him, scripture says : “But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the Lord’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah repented of the pride of his heart, as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore the Lord’s wrath did not come on them during the days of Hezekiah.
The Test of Hezekiah’s heart
You have to read the version in Chronicles, Isaiah and Kings to get the full picture . Here it is:
God withdrew himself from Hezekiah in order to test him and see what was really in his heart. This happened when Hezekiah decided to show the ambassadors from Babylon every single thing he owned when they visited him”
The son of the king of Babylon heard Hezekiah was healed of his sickness (boils) and sent good wishes and a gift to Hezekiah. Hezekiah welcomed the people of Babylon into his house and showed them everything in his royal treasuries.
This reminds me of a verse in 2 John :If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don’t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement. Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work.” Hezekiah should not have let the ambassordors to Babylon in his house nor shown them all he had.
Somehow, that I do not understand, this was a test of Hezekiah’s heart. Was he firm in standing with God? Did he honor God’s house? Who did he trust? it seems he did not pass this test.
Isaiah soon comes along and questions Hezekiah about what he’s just done..yeah- showing the enemy all your treasures, being their friend and bringing them into your house. The Lord then sent a message: The time is coming when everything in your palace, all the treasures stored up by your ancestors until now, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left. Some of your very own sons will be taken away into exile” and the King thought to himself ” At least there will be peace and security during my lifetime” ( Hezekiah knew something more)
We always need to be on alert for sin in our heart. K. Hezekiah became proud and the Lord was angry, The anger came against the land of Judah and Jerusalem but not during K. Hezekiah’s lifetime
Hezekiah in book of Jeremiah:
Hezekiah was remembered among the people in Josiah’s day (Hezekiah’s great grandson) for honoring God’s prophet when doom was pronounced on them. Usually a king would kill a bearer of bad news, but when the prophet Micah prophesied disaster and ruins, King Hezekiah respected the words and instead of killing him, King Hezekiah and the people turned from their evil ways, begged for mercy and worshiped the Lord. Then the Lord changed his mind about the disaster had pronounced against them.
Hezekiah in Proverbs
He collected the proverbs of King Solomon.(over 200 years had passed, Hezekiah was 13 kings after Solomon. See proverbs 25, probably chapters 25-29, Here are a few King Hezekiah collected
Don’t visit your neighbors too often,
or you will wear out your welcome.
Singing cheerful songs to a person with a heavy heart
is like taking someone’s coat in cold weather
or pouring vinegar in a wound
It’s not good to eat too much honey,
and it’s not good to seek honors for yourself.
A person without self-control
is like a city with broken-down walls.
Hezekiah did not have a godly example of a father: (133 years of history condensed below)
Understand that Hezekiahs father, King Ahaz, was a wicked king – the opposite of his son Hezekiah. Ahaz reigned for 16 years starting at age 20. Hezekiah’s righteousness was probably taught to him from his mother -which might explain why her name is mentioned ” His (Hezekiahs) mother was Abijah, (Abi) the daughter of Zechariah”. He also knew much about history which is evident during his reign, as well as the laws of God. Ahaz, his father, rejected the Lord, he sacrificed his sons in the fire, he burned incense to shrines, shut the temple doors so no one could worship the Lord, he worshipped Ball, he made pagan shrines in all the towns, he rearranged the temple and sacrificial times and made his own rules based on what he saw the pagans doing in Assyria and their idol worship.
Hezekiah ruled for 29 years beginning at age 25. At age 39 he was given another 15 years to live. He died at age 54-55 and his (wicked) son Manasseh (age 12) ruled in his place, he was king of Judah for 55 years until his son Amos ruled (2 years) then Josiah (age 8) rules for 31 years. King Hezekiah was a great and godly king, he did much good yet the sin of pride came in as a destroyer. Just like we see with King Solomon who, although a great and wise king, died in his sins. How easily the world pulls us into sin. We need to be diligent in our walk along the narrow path – a path that is difficult and few find it. Don’t get caught on the highway to hell, the path that is wide, easy and many choose- Matthew 7, Isaiah is accused of walking this “narrow path” in Isaiah 30:11 ‘Get off your narrow path and stop telling us about your Holy One of Israel
Verse to think about:
Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked so hard to achieve. Be diligent so that you receive your full reward.