2 Kings 18-19 begins with Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, taking up kingship of Judah at the age of 25. He made a great effort to keep the commandments of the Lord by breaking the pillars, cutting down the Asherah, and even breaking the bronze snake that Moses had lifted up in the desert, which people had begun worshipping as an idol. Hezekiah trusted the Lord and walked after the example of David.
After four years of Hezekiah reigning as king in Judah, the king of Assyria brought his army against Samaria, besieged it, and took the Israelites there captive. A while after this, the Assyrians brought their weapons of war against all the fortified cities of Judah and took those too. Hezekiah, in an effort to ransom his people, stripped Jerusalem of all it’s silver and gold, even going so far as to remove the gold from the temple. The king of Assyria took the payment but besieged Jerusalem. The two sides send out delegations to talk near Jerusalem where the commanders of the Assyrian army taunt those sitting on the walls of Jerusalem, profaning God and breathing threats against His people.
Hearing of this with great distress, Hezekiah goes to see the prophet Isaiah who reassures him that God will indeed punish the Assyrians who, once being an instrument by which God judged the people of Judah and Samaria for disobeying the Lord, have gone too far and think of themselves as gods. The Lord then says that He will work a great work for Judah. Indeed, later one night, the angel of the Lord went out and struck down 185,000 of the Assyrians besieging Jerusalem. The enemy king returns home and is struck down by his sons while worshiping to his god, just as the Lord had said.
The pages of 1 &2 Kings are packed with drama and action. Each chapter is full of great and terrible deeds, judgement, redemption, history, and more. These two chapters are no exception as we finally come to a king who is faithful to the Lord and decent to His people. Though his life is full of ups and downs and crazy turns, we see an example in Hezekiah of a man who remembers the commandments of the Lord and how He honours him.
There were countless times when the taunts of the enemy and the strength of their arms would have given the king good reason to fear and tremble, yet even during a terrible siege, he sought the Lord and did as He commanded. The very enemy, who after having carted off much of Judah, that was encamped around Jerusalem was not enough to shake the kings dependence on his King and seek His guidance and wisdom.
While Hezekiah was commended and blessed for his obedience to the Lord in regards to the Law, he also availed himself of the most precious fruit of obedience – a steady relationship with his God. Throughout his reign, Hezekiah showed the benefits of being close to the Lord and being committed to Him fully. It was not mere ritual and law he fulfilled, but demonstrated love and obedience, and by doing so had the eyes and ears of God Almighty during the greatest trial during his days as king!
We think a lot about our walk with the Lord and how to do what pleases Him, but are we making the most of our relationship with Him? Do we let Him know the woes and worries of our hearts? Do we tell Him about the sins with which we are struggling? Are we making our requests known to Him with praise and thanksgiving? Let’s always remember that God is personal and wants to be closer to you than even your most beloved friends and family!
How can we live our lives in a way that makes the most of our relationship with God Almighty? What difference could that have on your life?
Lord Jesus, thank you for making a way for us to be one with you. Thank you for taking on human form and being one of us, and that we know when we pray to you, we’re talking with a personal God who understands us fully. Please help us dive into a deeper relationship with you and warm our hearts with your presence and love. Amen!
Song - King of Kings, by Hillsong Worship
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.