It’s painful reading through Hebrew history, beholding Israel’s continued cycle of rebellion, idolatry and waywardness. To see this lifestyle in her leaders is especially difficult to behold. This was their legacy, a people chosen by God who for the most part hated Him. They instead chose to worship and serve the creature not the Creator who is blessed forever.
Today however reading about Hezekiah felt like a breath of fresh air, for unlike most of the previous monarchs and unlike any of the rulers in Israel’ history, Hezekiah’s heart was fully devoted to the LORD God as the text reads in (18:3-6):
“He did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done. 4 He removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it; and it was called Nehushtan. 5 He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel; so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among those who were before him.6 For he clung to the Lord; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the Lord had commanded Moses.”
He did not hold syncretistic sympathies with Yahweh, but was instead a faithful ruler in both word and deed. His loyalty to God, according to the text, surpassed all the kings in Israel’s history because he never stopped following God whole heartedly (This includes king David and Solomon who are authors of sacred texts).
And yet, this truth did not keep him insulated from troubled times. On the contrary, evidenced through the Assyrian kings’ taunts of Israel and Yahweh (19:8-13):
“Then Rabshakeh returned and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah, for he had heard that the king had left Lachish. 9 When he heard them say concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, “Behold, he has come out to fight against you,” he sent messengers again to Hezekiah saying,10 “Thus you shall say to Hezekiah king of Judah, ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you saying, “Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.” 11 Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the lands, destroying them completely. So will you be spared? 12 Did the gods of those nations which my fathers destroyed deliver them, even Gozan and Haran and Rezeph and the sons of Eden who were in Telassar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, and of Hena and Ivvah?’””
Sennacherib defied God including him with the rest of the gods of the nations conquered by Assyria. Despite all this, Hezekiah prays for the glory of God’s name to be upheld (19:15-19):
“Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and listen to the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. 17 Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have devastated the nations and their lands 18 and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. 19 Now, O Lord our God, I pray, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, O Lord, are God.”
The zeal of God had consumed Hezekiah and God answered his prayer because it was offered to God (19:20) and the angel of the LORD killed 185,000 men in the Assyrian camp (19:35).
I’m so grieved over the leadership in our country who; daily deny Your name, oppress Your people, and conspire to harm them. Oh LORD, arise and rectify that which is so twisted in the land. My heart grieves, my soul aches so for the sake of Your glory and Name, act now and don’t delay.