KING HEZEKIAH -Reformer-
Hezekiah came to the throne of Judah in 715.B.C. He ruled the land between the two world powers of that time, Egypt and Assyria. Both Nations wanted control of this country because of the trade, and Judah was under the dominion of the Assyians.
He did what was right in the eyes of The Lord. He led a time of renewal and reformation both spiritually and economically. In the first month of the first year of his reign, King Hezekiah re- opened the Temple of God. His father had closed down the Temple and allowed pagan worship under the Assyrian oppressors.
He had the temple repaired. He summoned the priest back in to duty and sin offerings were made on behalf of the Nation of Judah. He organized orchestral groups and singers according to the direction of King David. Instruments of music, hymns of praise are closely united to worship. He restored the Temple services, also reinstating tithing as income for the priests.
Once more Passover celebrations were a national holiday, reminding the people how God passed over and spared the lives of their first born the night they left the bondage of Egypt, for the Promised Land. He sent messengers with letters to all the cities throughout the land urging them to return to the God of Israel, The Only One True Living God. He was the first King to remove and smash pagan idols and demolish their places of worship. Any shrine or obelisk was destroyed. He broke into pieces the snake that Moses had made at God's direction during a deadly plague of snakes in the wilderness, for the people started to worship it burning incense before it.
Adoring the symbol and not the maker is idolatry in the God's eyes. The bronze snake on the pole was quoted by Jesus, for He would be lifted up on the cross for people to see, and also be forgiven, as they were in the wilderness, and it was built to remind people of God's care and forgiveness. Snake worship became a common custom amongst the ancient peoples of the eastern world.
King Hezekiah followed God sincerely and closely more than any king in the southern or the northern kingdoms, except for King David. Features of Hezekiah's character is to be found in his trust in God, who helped him be successful in everything he undertook. He, at one time, defeated the Philistines when at war.
An amazing engineering feat was accomplished under his rule. He had the natural springs plugged that were outside the City of Jerusalem but channeled fresh spring water into the City by an underground tunnel, chiseled through rock. This was achieved by diggers starting at each end of the tunnel and chisling their way to each other's sound of tools hammering through the rock. This tunnel is 6 and 1/2 feet high, and was very helpful to the inhabitants of Jerusalem during sieges from enemies.
At the age of 38 the king almost died from an infection that occurred from a boil and God sent Isaiah, His prophet to Hezekiah to advise him to get his affairs in order, to settle the matter of succession of the throne of Judah for he had not yet had any children to succeed him as heir, and that he was going to die.
Hezekiah prayed to God and wept bitterly reminding him of what he had done in The Lord's Name. His prayer was not said for divine favour that was based on good works, but on the realization that the Lord grants favours to those who sincerely and earnestly serve him.
He acknowledged that God is the one who sovereignly ordains all things. and prayer and God's response is His Highest Plan. The Lord healed Hezekiah, but divine healing does not necessarily exclude the use of well- known remedies. Isaiah was told by God to put a compress of figs on the boil. Isaiah ordered the court physicians to attend to this request. The king asked God for a sign so that he would know he would live, God gave him a choice. Hezekiah chose that the shadow of the sundial go backwards instead of forwards. God accomplished this sign for Hezekiah and told him he would live for another 15 years. Hezekiah offered praise to God for his healing and his life. Spiritual and Physical healing are sometimes linked together. God not only puts sins out of view but also out of grasp.
Hezekiah's prosperity and success gave him pride as he tried to impress foreigners with his wealth. Victory can quickly degenerate into vanity and self-flattery. Hezekiah foolishly showed Babylonian delegates who came to see and hear about his health and healing under the guise of checking the weaknesses and prizes that the City of Jerusalem held, all the treasures and riches of both the Palace and the Temple.
Isaiah prophesied that these treasures will be taken and carried off by the Babylonians, but not in Hezekiah life time. The Babylonians had gleamed a lot of information for future knowledge. Hezekiah was able to fortify most of the cities in the land. Acting with great courage, he rebelled against the Assyrian empire to which his father had submitted and refused to pay the annual tribute required by them. Being under their domination, they demanded that their god's be formerly recognized and worshipped.
The Northern Kingdom had already been destroyed and taken into exile. The Assyrians attacked and so the tribute fee was paid with the gold and silver from the Temple doors and the Palace. They attacked again and captured dozens of fortified cities and many open villages in Judah.
The Assyrians once more threatened Jerusalem and used psychology to try and break the resistance of the people who stood with the King, especially targeting those who opposed trashing of idols. They tried to stir up a revolt against the leadership of King Hezekiah and they blasphemed against the True Living God.
A threatening letter was sent to King Hezekiah, who turned to God. He immediately took the letter to the Temple and put its contents before The Lord. He humbled himself before God and begged for deliverance from their oppressors. He went to God because he knew it was an impossible situation. He had learned that Prayer is the first response in a crisis. Problems are an opportunity for God to act.
The God of Israel is the Ruler of all history, yet in their ignorance their enemies attributed their victories to their own military might, instead of acknowledging them as God ordained. It is arrogance to think that people are responsible for achievements made or gained. The King of Assyria only succeeded because God allowed the victories for His purposes.
He had the priests of the Temple seek out Isaiah, the prophet for God's word. The destruction of the Assyrian army was actually prophesied through Isaiah on three separate occasions. Hezekiah was constantly aware of God's intervention.
That night the Angel of The Lord put to death 185,000 fighting men, including officers and generals of the Assyrain army. The Assyrian King woke up to find dead bodies all around him. God put fear into the King and he immediately returned home where he was murdered, while worshipping in the temple of his pagan god.
Hezekiah was a reformer, a civil and religious developer, he had an ongoing personal relationship with God. He learned maturity in a powerful prayer life.
Sadly reforms for the better are shortened if little action is taken to secure them for the future. The wickedness of Hezekiah's son, and some of the other selfish kings that followed, led to the future captivity under Babylon 138 years later.
Just as Kings of Judah had a past filled with God's action, with each passing generation, today, Christians can listen to His guidance and commands, be obedient to Christ's headship and aware of acts from God in this period of time, corporately and individually.
The Old testament is there as an example from God for Christians to follow and learn from the mistakes made in the past, to learn what the Israelites did and did not do, according to His will and purposes.
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Created ,managed by Stefan Kreslin,Updated March 2011