This week we pick up the life of Hezekiah in 2nd Kings. If you missed last week, as always the previous studies can be found in the archives.
All that we looked at in 2nd Chronicles in the first week is contained in the following 4 verses in 2nd Kings 18:3-6 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father did. He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan. He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. For he clave to the Lord, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses.
Although the first year of Hezekiah's rule is covered well in the 2nd Chronicles account, the rest is covered more extensively here in 2nd Kings and in Isaiah. Remember that in his first year he cleansed the temple and invited both the northern and southern kingdom to keep the Passover in Jerusalem. Remember also that the southern kingdom came but only a few of the northern kingdom came and the rest mocked and laughed at the messengers.
Let us skip ahead 3 years, 2nd Kings 18:9-12 And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged it. And at the end of three years they took it: even in the sixth year of Hezekiah, that is the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken. And the king of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria, and put them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes: Because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord their God, but transgressed his covenant, and all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded, and would not hear them, nor do them.
The call to the Passover was one of, if not the LAST call that Israel would recieve. Three years later they would be in deep trouble and after three years of seige the northern kingdom would be removed from the land that God had given them. THEY WOULD NEVER RETURN.
A couple of observations here. If you are witnessing to someone and they mock and laugh, don't (or at least try not to) get upset or feel too hurt, just keep your eyes on Jesus, you may be their last call. If you are ever in the situation where you begin to mock and laugh at the things of God, be very careful, you may be using up your last chance. There are people who worship God in ways i don't prefer, some i don't agree with, but God has taught me (and i usually learn the hard way) that i should never mock or laugh at them. If i feel compelled, i'll say something but always with the intention of redemption.
Before somebody gets the wrong idea let me state that i am refering to the real God, whose son is Jesus, who created all that is and is above all. Those who worship anything else are not what i am talking about here. Here is something that Jesus said about it in Mark 9:38-40 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part. There are people in this kingdom that like slow music and punctual meetings. There are people who like their music loud and lively and their meetings free and easy. BOTH of these styles and all the others can be equally holy or worthless depending on the hearts of the participants. OK, OK, off the soap box and back to the story. :)
In the 4th year of Hezekiah's reign the Assyerians removed Israel and 10 years later they came back for Judah. 2nd Kings 18:13 Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them. Hezekiah sued for peace and the king of Assyera agreed and put them to tribute, verse 14. Hezekiah had to take from the temple to pay the tribute, verses 15, 16, which if you will remember is what his father had done. Once you begin to pay tribute to the devil's crowd they will expect it from that day forward as if it belonged to them. Hezekiah would discover that soon it would not be enough to give some of your possesions to that crowd and he would have to choose to trust God in the face of their threats or be cowed by them and surrender much more than possesions.
After Hezekiah gave the treasures of the temple to Sennacherib, this Assyerian king sent messengers to explain that would not be good enough. You can read the exchange in 2nd Kings 18:17-37 and the 37th chapter of Isaiah.
This time Hezekiah reacts properly to the threat, funny how even back then people seek deliverance from God when there is no other alternitive. I could give many examples in our day where the majority of Christians seek relief from man rather than God but if you will listen to the still small voice of the Spirit he can be much more accurate and redemptive than i ever could. Let me just say that when i listened, there were a lot of ways where i did this very thing, some of which i am still learning to rid my life of, and turning to man for help never helped me unless the man (or woman) i turned to pointed me to Jesus and His word.
Unrepentant mankind has a totally different world view and often 'helping' someone in their mind is the exact opposite of what truth and God prescribes. Just think how you would feel if your children turned to your neighbors for help instead of you when they had a problem. Would you be mad? Maybe a little but mostly you would be hurt and concerned for their well being. God is our father and if we are going to trust Him with our eternity, don't you think we can trust Him with these temporal things we go through.
And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. And he sent Eliakim, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz. And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and blasphemy; for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth. It may be the Lord thy God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God; and will reprove the words which the Lord thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that are left. So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah. And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say to your master, Thus saith the Lord, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. 2nd Kings 19:1-7.
This time Hezekiah turns to the Lord and asks for help. He sends messangers to the prophet of God Isaiah, who no doubt had been waiting for this response since Hezekiah's great grandfather was king of Judah. This was at least 45 years that Isaiah spent trying to warn Judah and Israel that these days were coming. After watching Israel laugh and mock and then be removed from their land how grateful he must have been when the king's messengers sought God's help with humility. Sometime study the book of Isaiah, which will bless you immensely if you spend enough time in it, and notice the change of tone after this occured.
The Lord sees to it that Sennacherib is distracted and cannot besiege Jerusalem at that time but the king of Assyeria isn't as fast a learner as the king of Judah. 2nd Kings 19:9-13 And when he heard say of Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, Behold, he is come out to fight against thee: he sent messengers again unto Hezekiah, saying, Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God in whom thou trustest deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria. Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly: and shalt thou be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed; as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Thelasar? Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivah?
Have any of you ever heard whispers simular to these cross your thoughts when you get in trouble? All hope is gone, God won't or can't help you. Me to. If God is on your side the only weapon satan has that can defeat you is deception. If he can get you to believe him instead of God, he wins, and you lose.
Well i hate to leave you hanging like this but either i cut it of here or this will be long enough to put you to sleep. Don't pay attention to the whispers of doubt, God is able and willing, even desirous to deliver you in all that satan sends your way, all you need do is ask and trust and even if the answer isn't what the flesh wants to hear it will always be what is best. Next week we will find out how Hezekiah and Judah fares. Until then the Lord bless and keep you and cause His face to shine upon you and give you peace.