There is something about reading the Bible’s record of the life of the Old Testament kings. As we look at how they responded to the Lord, how they led or misled the people, and how their lives turned out, we are encouraged to do right and live for the Lord here and now. In tonight’s lesson, we will look at Hezekiah’s early reign before getting into his prayer and God’s miracle on his behalf.
- What do we know about Hezekiah?
He was a man of godly character (2 Kings 18:1-3).
Hezekiah was the son of Ahaz, a wicked king who made his son pass through the fire and who sacrificed on the high places (2 Kings 16). If Ahaz died at 36 and Hezekiah was 25 when he became king, he may have been the son who passed through the fire. Thankfully, Hezekiah was not like his father. Perhaps his mother or grandfather were godly influences on him as their names are mentioned here. God’s perspective on Hezekiah was that he did what was right as David had done.
He was a man of godly influence (2 Kings 18:4-8).
Hezekiah removed the objects of false worship including the high places, sacred pillars, and the brass serpent. He did this because he was trusting in the Lord more than those before or after him. He chose to steadfastly follow the Lord and obey His commands. Because of this, the Lord prospered him and enabled him to subdue the Philistines as far as Gaza.
He was a man who faced tough decisions (2 Kings 18:13-16).
During his fourteenth year, the new Assyrian king, Sennacherib, defeated the fortified cities in Judah. Hezekiah told the king that he had done wrong and agreed to pay whatever tribute was required. The king told Hezekiah to send 300 talents of silver and 30 talents of gold. Hezekiah took silver and gold from the temple and sent it to Sennacherib.
- What does his life teach us?
Your circumstances don’t determine your destiny.
While your upbringing can have a big influence, it does not necessarily determine the outcome of your life. The fact that Hezekiah’s father was wicked could have been a huge influence on his life, but Hezekiah still chose to do what was right. It is incumbent on each of us to make our own choices.
This ought to give us hope as we pray for certain people to be saved. No matter how dark the background, choices, or situation, God is able to save “the vilest offender who truly believes.” So don’t give up hope. Keep praying.
Your choices make a big impact on how your life turns out.
This shows that your personal choices have a big part in how your life turns out. The fact that Hezekiah removed the idols shows that his heart was tuned to the Lord. This doesn’t imply that God’s working in his life wasn’t a factor but it does highlight the godly choices he made and how God rewarded them.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a person like Hezekiah in political office today? While that would be great, it is up to each of us to make a difference in our own circle of influence. As we do what is right, it will make an impact on the people around us. So, be an influence for the Lord where you are.
Your life won’t always be a bed of roses.
Hezekiah’s first encounter with Sennacherib shows that godly living doesn’t guarantee immunity from difficulties or that you will always make the right decisions. Hezekiah was a godly man but God still allowed him to go through this conflict with Sennacherib. This was part of God’s plan and it seems that Hezekiah should not have conceded to the Assyrian king’s demands. Taking money from the temple for tribute seems like a bad idea.
I am glad that God recorded this event from Hezekiah’s life because it gives insight into how we ought to respond when bad things happen. Even good people will make mistakes at times. And despite poor decisions, God is still there to help us.