<<Godly king of Judah>>
He was one of the few Kings of Judah who was constantly aware of God’s acts in the past and His involvement in the everyday events of life. He brought major reforms to the nation and “He held fast to the Lord and did not cease to follow Him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses” (2 Kgs 18:6). Isaiah and Micah were prophets during his reign from around 726 to 697 BC. During this time the northern nation of Israel was destroyed. His story is told in 2 Kings16:20–20:21, 2 Chronicles 28:27–32:33, Isaiah 36:1–39:8 with a few other references.
Lessons from his life: * When Hezekiah heard that the enemy had captured parts of his Kingdom he prayed (2 Kgs 19:1,14-19). In desperation, yet with faith, he asked for help and for God to be vindicated “so that all Kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O Lord are God”. This request was not just for physical relief for the nation of Judah, but that God would be glorified as other nations observed the victory. Is fervent prayer my initial response to bad news? Do I selfishly just pray for my own release from the trying situation or that God will also be praised and recognised?
* He stated that Judah had God’s greater power with them, while their enemies only relied on their natural ability (2 Chr 32:7,8). We need to remind ourselves, and encourage those who feel disheartened, of the ‘real’ facts – in Christ we are more than conquerors, for greater is He who is in us than he is in those who don’t love Christ (Rom 8:37; 1 Cor 15:57; 1 Jn 4:4).
* He reinstated the practice of tithing, as an aspect of worship (2 Chr 31:2-6). He not only instructed this to be done, he practiced what he preached! Do I give a generous portion of my income to God’s Kingdom? How different the effectiveness of world missions would be if all believers consistently contributed to the cause of Christianity. Our lifestyle should be marked by giving as well as receiving. Many people suggest others should do such and such, yet fail to follow their own advice.
* He worked wholeheartedly and took specific drastic action to destroy all objects of idolatry that were turning the hearts of the people away from God (2 Kgs 18:4; 2 Chr 31:20,21). “I’ve always tried to obey you and to please you in everything I do” (2 Kgs 20:3). Does this reflect my attitude and way of life? Never consider you have reached the pinnacle of your experience and work with and for God. There are numerous people that God still wants to be positively impacted through your life and testimony.
* He became seriously ill and was told to set his affairs in order as he was about to die. Hezekiah fervently prayed, asking God to be merciful and to remember all the good he had done, and God graciously extended his life for another 15 years (2 Kgs 20:1-7). However, soon after this, he rashly showed all his wealth to the heathen Babylonians. Isaiah rebuked him for this act and stated that all that he had shown would one day be taken away by that conquering nation, along with his descendants (Isa 39:5-7). It was also after his illness that he fathered the heir to Judah’s throne, Manasseh, who would become the most evil king ever to reign in Judah (2 Kgs 20:21-21:17). Thus, pressuring God to receive his answer to prayer was counterproductive as this request was not God’s will. God’s eternal purpose and divine will never change but His permissive will can vary according to how we negotiate with God. When we clearly know God’s will we should not try to force a different response, but ask for the grace to be submissive (Mt 26:39).
* Our past commendable record of obedience and living for God does not remove the possibility of future disobedience and unwise decisions. Satan is always on the lookout for a vulnerable area of weakness that he can take advantage of so we should always be alert and living in close relationship with God to prevent us from stepping outside the security He provides (1 Pet 5:8; 2 Pet 3:17).