Today we begin our journey through Kings and Chronicles with Hezekiah, the king that raised the bar in Judah so high that no other Judean king could match him. Just as Ahab set a new standard for evil in the reign of the Israelite Kings, so Hezekiah set a new standard for doing right in God’s eyes. He not only destroyed all of the idols in Judah, he destroyed all of the high places that the other kings, even the good ones, failed to remove.
Hezekiah has more scripture spent on him than any other Israelite King, except David and Solomon of course. Eleven chapters in total are devoted to Hezekiah and his story (2 Kings 18-20; 2 Chronicles 29-32 and Isaiah 36-39). We read through the Isaiah passages last week, but it is interesting to note the differences in focus and perspective as we read the accounts from Kings and Chronicles this week. But you notice some major theme in all three sections of scripture. The accounts of Hezekiah can teach us a lot about faith, prayer and the dangers of pride.
Today we see the introduction of the first of these themes as we see Hezekiah act completely in faith in dealing with the Assyrian invasion of his country. I find the comment by ‘the Rabshakeh” (an Assyrian military title, not a name) in 18:29 very telling. He says “Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you; he can’t deliver you from my hand.” This is a truthful statement. Hezekiah couldn’t deliver Judah or Jerusalem from the invaders hand. The Assyrian army had a reputation for violence and brutality. They were dominant in numbers and military equipment. Hezekiah had no hope of saving his people from this military machine, EXCEPT BY THE GRACE OF GOD.
Hezekiah was fully aware that he could do nothing against these invaders, but he was fully aware of who could. Hezekiah paints a wonderful picture of what it looks like when men and women of God rely on Him even when the odds are stacked full and completely against them.
Consider how that applies to your own life. How many times have you shied away from a situation precisely because you thought it impossible. What we forget is that we serve the God of the impossible. It is a sad fact my friends that we limit what we expect of God’s power. There is no limit to God’s power, but our minds and our hearts have such a hard time accepting that fact.
What is truly worth pondering as you finish today’s reading from 2 Kings 18 and 19 is how God honours Hezekiah’s faith in him. God alone defeats the Assyrian army. Hezekiah could do nothing to save his people, but he had faith in the one who could.
What are you facing in your life right now that you know you have no power to change? Are you trusting God to change it for you? Have you even asked him about it?
- What was familiar from this passage of scripture? What was something I already knew?
- What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
- Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
- How does this passage apply to my life, here and now? Do I need to do anything about it?
- What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?
Tomorrow’s Reading: Isaiah 49-53