King Hezekiah’s heart for God is not only revealed in his first acts as newly appointed king, but it is further disclosed in his discourse that follows:
“6 For our fathers have been unfaithful and have done what was evil in the sight of the Lord our God. They have forsaken him and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the Lord and turned their backs. 7 They also shut the doors of the vestibule and put out the lamps and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the Holy Place to the God of Israel. 8 Therefore the wrath of the Lord came on Judah and Jerusalem, and he has made them an object of horror, of astonishment, and of hissing, as you see with your own eyes. 9 For behold, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this. 10 Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with theLord, the God of Israel, in order that his fierce anger may turn away from us.” – 2 Chronicles 29.6-10
By the time king Hezekiah ascended the throne, Judah was in very poor military condition. International relations were at an all-time low. His predecessor, king Ahaz, had plummeted the nation to a whole new level of shame before surrounding nations. In fact, it is recorded that, “… Ahaz took a portion from the house of the LORD and the house of the king and of the princes, and gave tribute to the king of Assyria, but it did not help him” (2 Chronicles 28.21). Basically, he was in such straights that he tried to buy allegiance from the king of Assyria in order to ward-off the invading Edomite and Philistine armies; but, instead, “Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria came against him and afflicted him instead of strengthening him” (2 Chronicles 28.20). Judah was militarily vulnerable, weak, and defenseless.
However, when king Hezekiah ascended the throne, he did not see this as a “military” issue, rather he saw it for what it really was: an issue of worship. He shares his views with the priests and Levites in his discourse as he points to the faithlessness of their fathers. Their predecessors had willfully chosen to worship idols and false gods rather than the true and living God. They rebelled against God and forsook Him. They turned their backs on God, so now God was turning His back on them. King Hezekiah saw Judah’s current situation as an act of discipline from God. They were reaping all that their fathers had sown.
King Hezekiah’s assessment was perfectly in line with all that the Scriptures had taught in Israel’s law. See, centuries beforehand, Moses the prophet, proclaiming the Word of God to the people of Israel, declared:
“26 “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of theLord your God, which I command you today, 28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.” – Deuteronomy 11.26-28
King Hezekiah rightly interpreted this prophetic word and concluded that Judah was abiding under the curse for their rebellion and idolatry. It would have been very common, if not expected, that a new king would usher in changes in the military, taxation, work force/labor regulations, etc. However, king Hezekiah pushes those issues aside as secondary and instead goes for the heart of the matter. He focuses on the root-cause of their problems: worship.
King Hezekiah also rightly derived the solution for such a problem. The Scriptures went on to record Moses words:
“30 ‘And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, 2 and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, 3 then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where theLord your God has scattered you.’” – Deuteronomy 30.1-3
King Hezekiah was seeking the solution that God had provided in His Word as the remedy for his problem: he called the Scriptures (i.e. Word of God) to mind; he was seeking to return the heart’s of the nation of Judah back to God; and he was striving to help them be obedient to God by restoring a right relationship to God (a relationship defined by true worship of the one true and living God). It would have been a temptation for any lesser man to seek counsel from military leaders, “wise men,” or even the common people. However, king Hezekiah consults God’s Word alone.
We do well to heed the example of king Hezekiah in this matter. When faced with troubles, problems or trials, what is our response? Do we rationalize our problems as simply being the result of our surrounding circumstances (i.e. our parents, our childhood, our finances, our spouse, our health, the sins committed against us by others, the thoughts/opinions of others, the everyday situations in which we find ourselves, etc.)? Or do we allow God to inform us of the reality of our situation (i.e. Hebrews 12.3-11; James 1.2-4; 1 Peter 1.6-7, 2.19-20; etc.)? Perhaps we try to arrive at our own solutions to our problems (i.e. it’s just a matter of: will-power, self-determination, self-actualization, self-healing, self-love, etc.)? Or do we turn to God and His Word for His solutions to our problems (i.e. Romans 3.9-26; Ephesians 4.17-24; Colossians 3.1-4; Hebrews 13.1-9; James 4.6-10; 1 Peter 1.13-15, 2.11; etc.)?
If we are to be a godly example in this world, then we must follow the example of godly men, like king Hezekiah: see our circumstances and situations in life as God defines them in His Word, and we must seek His solutions for those things that He allows in our lives (Proverbs 3.5-7).