KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth.” (Isaiah 37:16)
Hezekiah, King of Judah, is given much attention in Scripture. A total of eleven chapters are devoted to his story: 2 Kings 18-20, 2 Chronicles 29-32, and Isaiah 36-39. They are similar in content, but a study of these texts will give a richer texture and broader understanding of the reign of King Hezekiah and the lessons we can learn from his story.
Although he was quite human, 2 Kings 18:5 states, “He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.” At the age of twenty-five, about 715 B.C. and possibly as early as 729 B.C., he began to rule as co-regent with his father. One of his first acts was the cleansing and reopening of the Temple in Jerusalem, which his father had left closed and desecrated. He was instrumental in restoring worship at the Temple, while destroying hills and groves that encouraged false worship. His reign continued for 29 years.
In Isaiah 36-39, we read of the developing political crisis in the area, which finally came to a climax. After the military fall of the Northern Kingdom (Israel), Judah struggled with Assyria. Hezekiah first tried to bribe Assyrian King Sennacherib. Sennacherib accepted of the treasures but then soon invaded Judah. There is also indication that Hezekiah had previously attempted to secure Judah by an alliance with Egypt, the other major military power of the day. When the mighty Assyrian army stood outside the gates of Jerusalem demanding surrender, Hezekiah’s confidence in God was greatly tested by blasphemous accusations made by envoys of Sennacherib.
Bible scholars generally agree that the account of Hezekiah’s sickness (Isaiah 38) and reception of envoys from Babylon (Isaiah 39) actually took place before the Assyrian invasion (Isaiah 36-37). It appears that this change of chronology was intended by the prophet as a bridge between the two parts of Isaiah. Chapters 36-37 end the first part with emphasis on Assyria, while chapters 38-39 introduce the second part with emphasis on Babylon.
Two great lessons can be learned from Hezekiah and his life story. The first is that our confidence must be in God alone. He is bigger than any circumstances or crisis that may confront us along life’s way. The second is that mankind is quick to forget the blessings and deliverances that God provides and tend to put confidence in ourselves. We must be vigilant to keep our confidence in God alone if we are to make our calling and election sure.