Most parents are pleased when their children obey their instructions right away and all the way. This is the picture that comes to mind when I think of Hezekiah’s early commitment to the Lord. Hezekiah was the son of Ahaz (and the great-grandson of Uzziah). Ahaz was the first of Judah's kings known to have sacrificed children to Baal (2 Chronicles 28:3); his rule was an evil and chaotic time in Judah. Hezekiah succeeds his father and makes religious reform his first priority.
The new king reopens the temple doors on his first day in office and assembles the priests and Levites; he admonishes these men to consecrate themselves for the service of the Lord (many had abandoned post for years). On the 14th day of his second month, Hezekiah leads Israel in a two-week celebration of the Passover--an event the Chronicler describes as unmatched since the days of Solomon (2 Chronicles 30:26). Hezekiah obeyed the spirit of God’s Law, not just the letter of it. We do well to examine our own hearts--is our obedience "all the way and right way" or is it merely surface?
But careful obedience doesn’t always keep trouble away (Job 1:8) There comes a day when faithful Hezekiah is faced with the besieging army of mighty Sennacherib, king of Assyria. We find Hezekiah dressed in sackcloth in 2 Kings 19; Sennacherib’s “intimidation strategy” was taking its toll on him. Sennacherib was sending letters and messages to Judah, full of boasts of his past victories and blasphemous insults against the living God (2 Kings 19:8-13; 2 Chronicles 32:10-15).
As Hezekiah cried out in lament, God, through the prophet Isaiah, sent His own message to Sennacherib: “Have you not heard that I determined it long ago? I planned from days of old what now I bring to pass, that you should turn fortified cities into heaps of ruins. But I know your sitting down and your going out and coming in, and your raging against me. Because you have raged against me...I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will turn you back on the way by which you came." (2 Kings 19:25-28).
This passage is a staggering display of God’s sovereignty! The triumphs that wicked Sennacherib rested in had been enabled by the Lord God Himself. God had planned his rising and his falling from the days of old. Indeed, what is outside of our God’s control? Trust today that your own times are in His hands--and that hand is immeasurably kind to those in Christ (Psalm 31:15; Ephesians 2:7)!
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