Winners and Losers: Part 2 - HEZEKIAH
Hezekiah: A Man Whose Faith Saved a Nation and Whose Pride Led to its Downfall
Kathy's Sunday School Lessons Written for Young Boys and Girls by Kathryn Capoccia
© Copyright Kathryn Capoccia 2000. This file may be freely copied,
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The popular notion that a man is slave to his circumstances is refuted by many Bible characters. It is not true that man has no control over his own behavior because he has been shaped by his environment. Man has a free will and, therefore, the power to choose to follow right living or wrong. His life may be influenced by his environment but he can rise above his circumstances or sink below them if he chooses. Sometimes godly parents gave rise to ungodly offspring, as in the case of Adam and Eve and their son, Cain, and ungodly parents gave birth to godly children as in the case of our study today, Hezekiah (2KI 18:1-20:21; 2CH 29:1-32:33; ISA 36:1- 39:8). Hezekiah was born in 740 B.C. to King Ahaz of Judah, an idolatrous king. Hezekiah was co-regent with his father, Ahaz from 729- 715 B.C., but became sole king of Judah at age 25 and ruled from 716/15 B.C. to 687/86 B.C.. He ruled for 29 years, during which time he tried to bring the people back to the true God. During that time Judah was under threat from Assyria, the idolatrous empire that had conquered the northern kingdom of Israel, deported her people and repopulated the land with Assyrians and captives from other nations (in Hezekiah’s 6th year as king of Judah). King Ahaz had made an alliance with Tiglath-pileser, the Assyrian ruler, preferring to pay tribute to Assyria in order to maintain his kingdom (which introduced paganism and idolatry into the Temple) rather than obey God and trust in His promises. Hezekiah sought to throw off the bonds of vassalage to Sennacherib, the new Assyrian king, and of paganism and return Judah to obedience to God as His covenant people.
“And every work which he began in the service of the house of God in law and in commandment, seeking his God, he did with all his heart and prospered” 2CH 31:21.
I. Who was he?
A. When did he live? 740 B.C.- 686 B.C.
B. Who were his people? Jews of Judah; he was the son of King Ahaz and Abijah (“my father is Jehovah” or “the will of God”), the daughter of Zechariah, a godly man who could understand visions of God.
C. What was his name? Hezekiah, “strong in the Lord”
II. What did he do?
A. He walked in faith
1. He was zealous
a. he promoted the worship of God
1) he reopened the Temple and repaired the doors (2CH 29:3)
2) he reinstated the priests and Levites (2CH 29:4-16)
3) he rededicated the Temple,
a) he had it cleansed (2CH 29:16-19)
b) he ordered offerings to be made (2CH 29:20-24; 2CH 29:33)
c) he arranged for singers to lead the worship (2CH 29:25,26)
4) he reintroduced true worship at the Temple (2CH 29:27-36)
5) he re-invited all Israel and Judah to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem (2CH 30:1-11, 21- CH 30:)
6) he re-instituted the Levitical tithe (2CH 31:2-21)
b. he purged the land of idols (2CH 30:13,14; 31: 1; 2KI 18:4)
1) Jerusalem was purged (2CH 30:14)
2) Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim and Manassah were purged (2CH 31:1)
2. He was trusting
a. He wanted God to rule Israel.
1) he rebelled against Assyrian rule and would not serve them (2KI 18:7)
2) he warred against the Philistines and defeated them (2KI 18:8)
3) he confronted the Assyrians in his 14th year as king (ISA 36:1; 2CH 32:1; 2KI 18:13)
a) he allowed the cities of Judah to fight against Assyria
b) he prepared for a siege against Jerusalem
i. he stopped up the water springs so they wouldn’t reach the areas outside of Jerusalem (2CH 32:3,4).
ii. he dug a 1,777 ft. tunnel from the Pool of Siloam to the Spring of Gihon to ensure water to Jerusalem.
iii. he strengthened the walls of Jerusalem (2CH 32:5).
iv. he made weapons and shields in great number (2CH 32:5).
v. he organized military resistance in Jerusalem (2CH 32:6-8)
WAS HE RELYING ONLY UPON HUMAN STRENGTH TO WIN AGAINST ASSYRIA?
NO; HE SAID TO THE PEOPLE OF JERUSALEM, “WITH HIM IS ONLY IS ONLY AN ARM OF FLESH, BUT WITH US IS THE LORD OUR GOD TO HELP US AND TO FIGHT OUR BATTLES” (2CH 32:8).
c) he sued for peace with Sennacherib (705- 681 B.C.) after he had defeated “all the fortified cities  of Judah” (2KI 18:13,14; ISA 36:1); he paid him a tribute of 360,000 ounces of silver and 36,000 ounces of gold (2KI 18:14), even removing the gold from the Temple’s doors (2KI 18:17).
b. He wanted God’s Name to be honored
1) he recognized that the attack against Jerusalem was against God
a) the Assyrians ridiculed God’s power and care (2KI 18:20-35; 2CH 32:10-16; ISA 36: 2-20).
b) the Assyrians ridiculed Hezekiah’s faith in God (ISA 36:13-18; 2CH 32:16)
c) the Assyrians equated God with the false gods who had not helped other people (ISA 36:18-20; 2CH 32:19)
d) the Assyrians boasted that they were more powerful than God (ISA 36:20; 2CH 32:17
2) he appealed to God to rebuke the Assyrians (2KI 19:4
a) he humbled himself before God
i. he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth (2KI 19:1)
ii. he entered the Temple (2KI 19:1)
iii. he entreated God through Isaiah (2KI 19:2-5)
aa. God brought reassurance
bb. God promised deliverance
b) he [and Isaiah the prophet] prayed to God to deliver them and glorify Himself after Hezekiah received a derisive letter from the Assyrians (ISA 37:14-20; 2KI 19:14-19; 2CH 32:20)
c) He and his people were saved by God (ISA 37:35)
1) God answered his prayers and promised deliverance for His Name’s sake (ISA 37:21-35) and for the covenant promises to David
2) God sent an angel into the Assyrian camp who killed 185,000 men in one night, possibly using bubonic plague? Herodotus records that the camp was overrun with mice (footnotes from the Ryrie Study Bible) .
3) the Assyrians broke camp and withdrew their forces (ISA 37:37)
4) the Assyrians returned to Assyria in shame (2KI 19:35; 2CH 32:21;ISA 37:37)
5) Sennacherib was murdered in Ninevah by two of his sons (2CH 32:21; 2KI 19:37)
WHAT WAS THE RESULT OF THIS?
“AND MANY WERE BRINGING GIFTS TO THE LORD AT JERUSALEM AND CHOICE PRESENTS TO HEZEKIAH KING OF JUDAH, SO THAT HE WAS EXALTED IN THE SIGHT OF ALL NATIONS THEREAFTER” (2CH 32:23).
Do you see the armor of God on Hezekiah?
B. He stumbled in pride (2CH 32:25)
“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but a man is tested by the praise he receives.” (PRO 27:21)
1. When he was ill
a. He was pouting
1) Hezekiah was ill and would not accept God’s timing for his death (ISA 38:1; 2CH 20:1; 2KI 32:24)
Why was he ill? 2CH 32: 25 says his heart was proud. (See HEB 12:6, JAM 5:15.)
a) God sent Isaiah to advise him of his impending death (ISA 38:1; 2KI 20:1).
b) Hezekiah wept and prayed for extended life (2KI 20:2,3; ISA 38:2,3)
b) God sent Isaiah back to Hezekiah
i. to promise healing within three days (2KI
ii. to promise Hezekiah an additional 15 years of life (2KI 20:4-6; ISA 38:4,5)
iii. to promise deliverance from Assyria (ISA 38:6)
iv. to provide a healing for his illness (a boil, to be healed with a cake of figs) (2KI 20:7)
2) Hezekiah received a sign (2CH 32:24; 2KI 20:8-11; ISA 38:7)
a) Hezekiah asked for a sign as a token that God would do what He had promised (2KI 20:8)
WAS THIS WRONG? Only if it was asked from an unbelieving heart.
JESUS SAID, “AN EVIL AND ADULTROUS GENERATION ASKS FOR A SIGN”, MAT 12:39
ZACHARIAH WAS STRUCK DUMB WAS HE ASKED FOR A SIGN CONCERNING THE BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST (LUK 1:18-20)
b) God caused the sun’s shadow to go backward 10 steps on the stairway of Ahaz as a sign to Hezekiah (2KI 20:8-11)
b. Hezekiah was judged (2CH 32:25,26)
“But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore, the LORD’S wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah repented of the pride of his heart, as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore, the LORD'S wrath did not come upon them during the days of Hezekiah.”
WHAT HAPPENED DURING THOSE EXTRA 15 YEARS?
c. He was productive (2CH 32:27-33)
1) he constructed buildings
a) treasuries for his silver, gold, precious stones, spices, shields, and all kinds of valuables (2CH 32:27)
b) store houses for grain, oil, and wine (2CH 32:28)
c) stalls and pens for cattle and flocks (2CH 32:28)
d) villages (2CH 32:29)
2) he channeled the Gihon Spring to the west side of the City of David (2CH 32:30)
3) he acquired great numbers of flocks and herds (2CH 32:29)
BUT HEZEKIAH ALSO HAD A SON, MANASSEH, WHO WAS CALLED THE MOST WICKED KING JUDAH EVER HAD AND HEZEKIAH MADE A DISASTEROUS MISTAKE WHEN GOD TESTED HIM (2CH 32:31)
2. When he was tested (2CH 32:31)
a.. He was a “show off”
1) He was flattered; “he received them gladly” (ISA 39:2)
a) Babylon sent “goodwill” envoys to Hezekiah to inquire about the miraculous sign (2CH 32:31; 2KI 20:12; ISA 39:1)
b) the envoys brought letters from Merodach-Baladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon and a gift for Hezekiah
2) He was foolish
a) he revealed to the Babylonians the riches of everything in his palace and in his kingdom (ISA 39:2-4)
b) he underestimated the danger of the Babylonians because they came “from a distant land” (ISA 39:3)
c) he never consulted God about them (like Joshua with the Gibeonites)
b. He was selfish (ISA 39:5-8)
1) Isaiah prophesied a future disaster for Israel from a Babylonian invasion
a) total pillaging and desolation (ISA 39:5,6
b) abductions (ISA 39:7
c) emasculations for royal descendants who would serve as eunuchs for the king of Babylon (ISA 39:7
2) Hezekiah thought only about his present security (ISA 39:8)
“’The word of the LORD is good,’ Hezekiah replied. For he thought, ‘There will be peace and security in my lifetime’’ (ISA 39:8)
III. What can we learn from him?
Added to Bible Bulletin Board's "Kathy Capoccia's Sunday School Lessons for Young Adults" by:
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