Hezekiah - He Clave to the Lord

Read Time: 6 Minutes

During Uzziah's reign in Judah Israel saw many kings. Jeroboam (II) of Israel died during Uzziah's reign (about 663 BC) and Zachariah his son reigned for 6 months and Shallum killed him and reigned in Israel for one month then Menahem the son of Gadi killed him and reigned 10 years. After Menahem died ( about 651 BC) Pekahiah his son reigned 2 years until Pekah killed him and took over for the next 20 years. All of these kings did evil and during Pekah's reign Assyria attacks Israel, conquering many of the cities. Because of this Hoshea son of Elah killed Pekah (about 620 BC) and reigned in Israel 9 years. Hoshea paid tribute to Assyria like Pekah but conspired against them and after a three year siege Assyria overthrew Samaria and carried them away to Assyria and repopulated the land (about 611 BC). All of this is recorded in II Kings 15 and 17.

During the above time Uzziah reigns from 701 BC for 52 years until 649 BC. There is a gap of a year than Jotham, Uzziah's son, begins to reign in Judah. He reigns 16 years and does right in the eyes of the Lord.

II Chronicles 27
:6 So Jotham became mighty,
    because he prepared his ways before the Lord his God.

He was able to build cities and castles and the high gate in the house of the Lord. The Ammonites fought with Judah but lost and ended up paying tribute to Judah.

After Jotham King of Judah dies Ahaz his son reigned in his stead. Ahaz was 20 years old when he began to reign and he reigned 16 years (II Chronicles 28). However, he did evil, he burnt incense unto Baal and sacrificed his children by fire. Consequently Judah was attacked by Syria and many were carried away. Israel attacked also and carried many of the people back to Israel to be slaves but a prophet told them to let them go otherwise Israel would receive a worse fate so they did. The Edomites and Philistines also attack Judah and carry away people. Judah was besieged because of Ahaz.

II Chronicles 28
:19 For the LORD brought Judah low
    because of Ahaz king of Israel;
        for he made Judah naked,
        and transgressed sore against the LORD.
:20 And Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria came unto him,
    and distressed him,
        but strengthened him not.
:21 For Ahaz took away a portion out of the house of the LORD,
    and out of the house of the king,
    and of the princes,
    and gave it unto the king of Assyria:
        but he helped him not. [the tribute money didn't help]
:22 And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the LORD:
    this is that king Ahaz.
:23 For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus,
        which smote him: and he said,
        Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them,
        therefore will I sacrifice to them,
            that they may help me.
        But they were the ruin of him,
        and of all Israel. [Judah--translation error, also in vs. 21 and 21:2 ]
:24 And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God,
    and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God,
    and shut up the doors of the house of the LORD,
    and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem.
:25 And in every several city of Judah
    he made high places to burn incense unto other gods,
    and provoked to anger the LORD God of his fathers.
:26 Now the rest of his acts
    and of all his ways, first and last,
    behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.
:27 And Ahaz slept with his fathers,
    and they buried him in the city, even in Jerusalem:
        but they brought him not into the sepulchres of the kings of Israel:
    and Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead.

Ahaz left Judah ruined and did his best to remove God from Judah which had damaging consequences.

Fortunately Hezekiah is the next king of Judah in about 617 BC.

II Chronicles 29
:1 Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and twenty years old,
    and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem.
    And his mother's name was Abijah,
        the daughter of Zechariah.
:2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD,
according to all that David his father had done.
:3 He in the first year of his reign,
        in the first month,
    opened the doors of the house of the LORD,
    and repaired them.

Hezekiah cleaned up and cleaned out the idols. He probably saw the consequences of his father's actions compared to his Grandfather's. He must have also been taught God's Word for him to rise up and believe it in spite of his father's beliefs.

God prospered him and God protected him and the kingdom.

II Kings 18
:4 He [Hezekiah] removed the high places,
    and brake the images,
    and cut down the groves,
    and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made:
        for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it:
        and he called it Nehushtan.
:5 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.
:6 For he clave to the Lord,
    and departed not from following him,
        but kept his commandments,
            which the LORD commanded Moses.

The brazen serpent that Moses made (Numbers 21:5-9) in the wilderness was for the people, so when they looked at it, they could be delivered from the fiery serpents that attacked the children of Israel (because they sinned and murmured against God). This brass serpent was for the children of Israel at that time ONLY! It didn't pertain to everyone all of the time. By Hezekiah's time they had taken this piece of brass to worship and offer incense to it. Like people in search of the Holy Grail, a piece of the cross, a thread from the shroud, etc. These people were looking for a sign or symbol, a five-senses idol. They were looking to carnal things instead of  God who is spiritual and all powerful.

Hezekiah called the serpent Nehushtan--a piece of brass, the brass thing. The literal name of the brazen serpent tells you what it is and not what it represents, memorializes, or brings to remembrance. The brazen serpent was supposed to remind them of God's deliverance not be a god. The same is true with certain traditions in the church, many people go through acts not knowing what it represents to them, i.e. communion represents their healing and forgiveness of all their sins. People get caught up, sucked into the actions of their times and forget what it represents. The act becomes repetition, rote and eventually without heart, believing, and power. The people had made the brass serpent an icon which they burnt incense to, they no longer looked to God as the source of power. Hezekiah recognized this and destroyed the serpent.

Hezekiah clave to the Lord and departed not from following Him. We will delve into Hezekiah's life more fully in the next few weeks. You can read about him in II Kings 18-20, II Chronicles 29-32 and Isaiah 36-39. He was the second to last great king that stood for God. During his time Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria and took it; carrying away Israel and repopulating the land with his own people (II Kings 18:9-12). Judaism was then watered down, Samaria developed their own Judaism. This is why the Samaritans were looked down on. Jesus Christ was born in this area. Jesus Christ taught the parable where the Samaritan was the good guy which was totally contrary to Judaic cultural thinking of his time.

    Judah is a small nation up against some stiff odds; for Assyria has grown considerably. See the map Assyria Triumphant and notice how small Judah is compared the Assyrian empire.

    See you next week.

Ephesians 3
:20 Now unto him
        that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,
        according to the power that worketh in us,
:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus
    throughout all ages,
    world without end.
    Amen.