(2 Kings 18:1-8, 13-18, 28-37; 19:1-2, 5-20, 32-37; 20:1-11)
In continuation of our series of messages on Experiencing God’s Unusual Blessings, we want to consider the example of King Hezekiah. Hezekiah was the son of the wicked King Ahaz (see 2 Kings 16; Isaiah 7). Among all the kings of Judah, no reign plunged the nation into the depths of utter wickedness and total depravity as much as the reign of Ahaz did. He unleashed a flood of wickedness that ultimately doomed the nation to total destruction under the hand of God’s judgment. Hezekiah began his reign at the age of twenty-five years and reigned over the southern kingdom of Judah for twenty-nine years (2 Kings 18:2).
Hezekiah’s story is told in 2 Kings 16:20—20:21; 2 Chronicles 28:27—32:33; and Isaiah 36:1—39:8. It was during his reign that the prophets Isaiah, Micah, and Hosea ministered in Judah [Isaiah 1:1 (1 The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah); Hosea 1:1 (1 The word of the LORD that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel); and Micah 1:1 (1 The word of the LORD that came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah–the vision he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem)].
He is also mentioned in Proverbs 25:1 (1 These are more proverbs of Solomon, copied by the men of Hezekiah king of Judah); and Jeremiah 15:4 (4 I will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what Manasseh son of Hezekiah king of Judah did in Jerusalem); 26:17–19 (17 Some of the elders of the land stepped forward and said to the entire assembly of people, 18 “Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah. He told all the people of Judah, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: “‘Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.’19 “Did Hezekiah king of Judah or anyone else in Judah put him to death? Did not Hezekiah fear the LORD and seek his favor? And did not the LORD relent, so that he did not bring the disaster he pronounced against them? We are about to bring a terrible disaster on ourselves!”).
What are the unusual features of his life? They include:
One, he made a deep, genuine commitment to the LORD. Although his father Ahaz was wicked, and despite being surrounded by a world of evil, Hezekiah rejected the sinful lifestyle of his father. When he came of age he turned to the LORD, making a deliberate decision to follow the LORD. He trusted, loved, and was totally devoted to serving the LORD. What a tremendous example to the people of his generation and to all generations down through history. Hezekiah’s life stands as a challenge to us today to trust the LORD and to give our hearts to Him. We should believe the Lord, have faith in Him as our Saviour and Master, the One to whom we owe our total allegiance and loyalty. Our hearts and lives should be devoted to the Lord, totally committed to Him.
Two, he launched a reformation throughout the nation that had been unmatched since the days of David and Solomon. Significantly, he took action that had never before been taken by any king: he aroused the courage to remove the high places, the false worship sites throughout the nation (2 Kings 18:4-5). Although he knew the worshippers of false gods would be disturbed and might react, for their own spiritual welfare he destroyed the altars and images of the false gods. And note, he also destroyed the bronze snake that had been made by Moses and preserved down through the years. Obviously, the bronze serpent had become such an object of reverence that it was eventually looked upon as a symbol or image of some god or idol, perhaps even of the LORD. Whatever the case, so many people worshipped the bronze serpent that it was given a popular name, Nehushtan, which simply means “bronze thing.” In addition to destroying the worship centres of idols and false gods, Hezekiah carried out several other major reforms that are recorded in Second Chronicles 29–30. These reforms included: immediately opening and repairing the doors of the temple (2 Chron. 29:3); immediately cleansing the temple: 1) encouraging the priests to sanctify and set themselves apart to the LORD in a rededication of their lives, and 2) removing all rubbish and every defiling thing from the temple (2 Chron. 29:4-19); rededicating the temple, reinstituting the regular services (2 Chron. 29:20-36); reinstituting the Passover and the Festival or Feast of Unleavened Bread (2 Chron. 30:1-20); reaching out to the entire nation—including the people of the Northern Kingdom who had not been transplanted—challenging everyone to return to the LORD and to join in the great celebration of the Passover (2 Chron. 30:5-12); and launching a genuine revival among the entire nation (2 Chron. 30:13-27).
Three, Hezekiah had a great and most unusual trust in the LORD (2 Kings 18:5). Hezekiah was one of the few kings of Judah who was constantly aware of God’s acts in the past and His involvement in the events of every day. He was more zealous for the Lord than any of his predecessors (2 Kings 18:5). The Bible describes Hezekiah as a king who had a close relationship with God, one who did “what was good and right and faithful before the LORD his God” (2 Chronicles 31:20). Hezekiah’s life is, for the most part, a model of faithfulness and trust in the Lord. His faith was more than superficial, as his bold reforms show. Scripture actually says that he trusted the LORD more than all the kings of the Southern Kingdom. No king before or after him ever trusted the LORD as much as he did. And unlike some of the other good kings who slipped back into sin or failure, Hezekiah held fast to the LORD and persevered to the very end (2 Kings 18:6). He was faithful all his life, always seeking to obey the commandments of God. What are the unusual blessings of God upon Hezekiah’s life.
Because of Hezekiah’s strong trust and faithfulness to the LORD, the LORD poured out His blessings upon him (2 Kings 18:7-8). Above all else, the LORD was with Hezekiah and granted him success in everything he did. The LORD granted His presence as the king walked about serving day by day. He proved, by his own experience, what God said to king Asa of Judah, through Azariah the son of Oded, “The LORD is with you, while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you” (2 Chron. 15:1-2). Two, God gave Hezekiah the courage to resist the oppression of the Assyrians, the superpower of that day. Demonstrating an enormous courage that could only arise from an infilling of God’s strength, Hezekiah stood in stark contrast to the spiritually weak and fearful leaders of the past like his father Ahaz who had willingly subjected the nation of Judah to the Assyrians. Also, Hezekiah marched against the Philistines, who were also one of the vassal states of Assyria. In battle after battle, he defeated the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory (2 Kings 18:8).
Four, God gave deliverance to Judah in answer to Hezekiah’s prayers. Because of Hezekiah’s rebellion against Assyria and his military moves against the Philistines, the Assyrians eventually turned their attention to Hezekiah. Having conquered all of the Northern Kingdom, they now invaded Judah. The invasion took place in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign. Standing all alone against the mighty Assyrians, Hezekiah tried to prevent an attack against Jerusalem by making peace with the Assyrians but this did not work (2 Kings 18:14-16). Sennacherib, the Assyrian king, was determined to conquer Jerusalem, strip the city of all its wealth, and reinstate the annual tribute or tax that Hezekiah had stopped paying. Knowing that his troops could not stand against the mighty army of Assyria, he turned to the LORD for help. Hezekiah sent a delegation to make an appeal to the prophet Isaiah, seeking prayer and some word from the LORD (2 Kings 19:2-4).
Responding to the king’s appeal, Isaiah sent back a concise and comforting prediction from God, a wonderful promise and message of hope (2 Kings 19:5-7). Later, Sennacherib sent a second message to Hezekiah (2 Kings 19:9-13). His message stressed the absurdity of Hezekiah’s trusting his God to deliver Jerusalem (2 Kings 19:11-12). In response to the second message from the Assyrian king, and under intense pressure and strain, Hezekiah personally went directly to the LORD in prayer. Spreading out the letter from the Assyrian king, he laid it before the LORD and began to pour out his soul, crying for deliverance.
In his prayer, Hezekiah, first, declared God’s greatness (2 Kings 19:15). He acknowledged that the LORD alone is God over all the kingdoms of the earth. He alone is the Supreme Creator who has made heaven and earth.
Second, he explained the problem confronting him and the Judeans (2 Kings 19:16-18). He pleaded for the LORD to open His eyes and notice how the Assyrian king Sennacherib had insulted the living God. He then acknowledged the power and conquests of Assyria, how they had destroyed nation after nation.
Third, he cried out for the LORD God to deliver him and his people from the hand of the Assyrians so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that the LORD alone is God (2 Kings 19:19). While Hezekiah was still praying, God sent His answer to his prayer through Prophet Isaiah and, that very night, the judgment of God against Assyria and King Sennacherib fell (2 Kings 19:35-37). Sometime during the night, the angel of the LORD went into the Assyrian camp and executed 185,000 soldiers. Utterly shocked and not understanding what had happened, the Assyrian survivors broke camp and withdrew, returning to Nineveh. Sometime after returning, King Sennacherib was assassinated while worshipping in the temple of his false god Nishroch (2 Kings 19:37). He was killed by two of his sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer.
Fourth, God granted healing and deliverance from death to Hezekiah in answer to his prayers. After the deliverance of Jerusalem from the Assyrian threat, Hezekiah became deathly sick and was soon to die. But, right before his death, the LORD sent Isaiah to the king with the message that he was to put his affairs in order. For he was soon to die (2 Kings 20:1). When Hezekiah received the fatal news, he immediately turned his face to the wall away from Isaiah and began to pray to the LORD (2 Kings 20:2-3). He reminded the LORD of three facts: that He was faithful in following the LORD; THAT he was loyal and wholly devoted to the LORD; AND THAT he had behaved righteously before the LORD. Then Hezekiah began to weep bitterly (2 Kings 20:3). By weeping, he was indicating that his heart was broken, and that he was submitting his life to the LORD’s will. In compassion, the LORD immediately answered the prayer of King Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:4-7). Before Isaiah had left the palace courtyard, a message came to him from the LORD (2 Kings 20:4-7). Isaiah was to return immediately to Hezekiah with the message that God had heard his prayer and seen his brokenness; therefore, the LORD would heal him.
On the third day he would arise, go up to the temple, and worship the LORD. In fact, the LORD would add 15 years to his life and would deliver him and Jerusalem from Assyria (2 Kings 20:6). For God’s honour and David’s sake, the LORD would defend the capital and not allow it to fall to the Assyrians. Turning to the servants, Isaiah instructed them to prepare an ointment of fig leaves to place upon the king. In obedience to the prophet, they nursed the king and he soon recovered. In conclusion, we have seen, through the example of Hezekiah, how we can experience God’s unusual blessings. Indeed, there is nothing that God cannot do for those who walk uprightly and do the unusual by praying to God.
Hezekiah did not allow anything to stand between him and God, and this made God to hear and answer his prayers. Deliverance is one of the blessings that God promises His people. No matter what confronts us—disease, accident, financial difficulty, divorce, or any other trial or hardship—God promises to deliver us. The door into God’s presence is always open, and God is always available to help us. Whether by miraculous deliverance or by infusing us with the strength to walk through the crisis, God will help us. He will help us through any difficult problem, even through the crisis of death itself.
Your eternal salvation and spiritual well-being are our concerns. If you wish to receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour, you can pray the following prayer to God: “Dear God, I thank you for sending Jesus into the world to die for my sins. I repent of my sins right now and invite Him into my life to be my Lord and Saviour. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
If you offered this prayer to God, please write to let us know through the address below. You are also invited to join us in worshipping the Lord every Sunday in Yoruba language at 7.20 a.m. and in English language at 9.00 a.m.
- Good News Baptist Church,
47/49, Olufemi Road, Off Ogunlana Drive,
P. O. Box 3781, Surulere, Lagos.