Hezekiah - Trust in the Lord
Read Time: 10 Minutes
Hezekiah's trust in the Lord is a great example to us. He was up against a considerable amount of danger from Assyria and he had to turn an entire nation back to the one true God. Assyria is a huge nation by this time of which Ninevah is the capital city (see the map Assyria Triumphant). Remember Jonah and how he didn't want to preach the Word to Ninevah so that Assyria would be overrun by their neighbors? This threat from Assyria is what Jonah didn't want to happen. The spiritual condition of Judah had deteriorated considerably also. Ahaz had turned a believing nation into idol worshippers in one reign and lost many people and cities to Syria, Israel, Edom and the Philistines. Ahaz only reigned 16 years so Hezekiah, his son had seen God work with Jotham his grandfather. He determined to trust in the Lord and God prospered him.
II Chronicles 29
in the first year of his reign,
in the first month,
opened the doors of the house of the LORD,
and repaired them.
:4 And he brought in the priests
and the Levites,
and gathered them together into the east street,
:5 And said unto them,
Hear me, ye Levites,
sanctify now yourselves,
and sanctify the house of the LORD God of your fathers,
and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place.
:6 For our fathers have trespassed,
and done that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD our God,
and have forsaken him,
and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the LORD,
and turned their backs.
:7 Also they have shut up the doors of the porch,
and put out the lamps,
and have not burned incense
nor offered burnt offerings in the holy place unto the God of Israel.
:8 Wherefore the wrath of the LORD was upon Judah and Jerusalem,
and he hath delivered them to trouble,
to astonishment, [shammah - waste or desolation]
and to hissing, [held in low esteem among other peoples]
as ye see with your eyes.
:9 For, lo, our fathers have fallen by the sword,
and our sons
and our daughters
and our wives are in captivity for this.
:10 Now it is in mine heart to make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel,
that his fierce wrath may turn away from us.
:11 My sons, be not now negligent:
for the LORD hath chosen you to stand before him,
to serve him,
and that ye should minister unto him,
and burn incense.
Hezekiah is really cleaning house. Other kings would let some of the altars remain but we see him set up the priests and Levites to minister unto the Lord and teach His Word. Hezekiah also makes provision for the sacrifices that were required by the law. We then see something in the Word that we haven't seen in a long time:
:28 And all the congregation worshipped,
and the singers sang,
and the trumpeters sounded:
and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.
:29 And when they had made an end of offering,
the king and all that were present with him bowed themselves,
:35 And also the burnt offerings were in abundance,
with the fat of the peace offerings,
and the drink offerings for every burnt offering.
So the service of the house of the LORD was set in order.
:36 And Hezekiah rejoiced,
and all the people,
that God had prepared [provided for] the people:
for the thing [dabar - word/speech] was done suddenly.
God had provided the people with the means for the offerings. There was much joy and rejoicing and singing.
Remember the ever-present danger of Assyria? Hezekiah didn't build up his army first to handle the threat. He opened the doors of the house of the Lord and set up the priests and Levites and commanded them to do the sacrifices and offerings that were required by the law. He set his kingdom in order from the beginning.
The next thing Hezekiah did was reinstigate the Passover which had not been done for a long time. He still is not fortifying his army.
30:1 And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah,
and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh,
that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem,
to keep the passover unto the LORD God of Israel.
:2 For the king had taken counsel,
and his princes,
and all the congregation in Jerusalem,
to keep the passover in the second month.
:3 For they could not keep it at that time,
because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently,
neither had the people gathered themselves together to Jerusalem.
:4 And the thing pleased the king
and all the congregation.
:5 So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel,
from Beersheba even to Dan,
that they should come to keep the passover unto the LORD God of Israel at Jerusalem:
for they had not done it of a long time in such sort as it was written.
Usually the Passover was kept in the first month on the 14th day but there was no time to get everyone together. There is provision in the law stating that anyone that couldn't keep the Passover at the appointed time could do so in the second month on the 14th day (Numbers 9:10-13).
Many of the people laughed at the proclamation of Hezekiah, that they should keep the Passover, but:
:11 Nevertheless divers of Asher
and of Zebulun
and came to Jerusalem.
:12 Also in Judah
the hand of God was to give them one heart to do the commandment of the king
and of the princes,
by the word of the LORD.
:13 And there assembled at Jerusalem much people to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month,
a very great congregation.
:14 And they arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem,
and all the altars for incense took they away,
and cast them into the brook Kidron.
:15 Then they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the second month:
and the priests and the Levites were ashamed,
and sanctified themselves,
and brought in the burnt offerings into the house of the LORD.
:16 And they stood in their place after their manner,
according to the law of Moses the man of God:
the priests sprinkled the blood,
which they received of the hand of the Levites.
:17 For there were many in the congregation that were not sanctified:
therefore the Levites had the charge of the killing of the passovers for every one that was not clean,
to sanctify them unto the LORD.
:18 For a multitude of the people,
even many of Ephraim,
had not cleansed themselves,
yet did they eat the passover otherwise than it was written.
But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying,
The good LORD pardon every one
:19 That prepareth his heart to seek God,
the LORD God of his fathers,
though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.
:20 And the LORD hearkened to Hezekiah,
and healed the people.
The priests were ashamed because they were not sanctified according the law and that was their job. There was so much service to be done and the people were still not clean to eat the Passover. This is a critical time for them and Hezekiah recognized this so he asked God to cleanse the people of their sins and He did, and He healed them.
:21 And the children of Israel
that were present at Jerusalem
kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness:
and the Levites
and the priests praised the LORD day by day, singing with loud instruments unto the LORD.
:22 And Hezekiah spake comfortably unto all the Levites that taught the good knowledge of the LORD:
and they did eat throughout the feast seven days,
offering peace offerings,
and making confession to the LORD God of their fathers.
:23 And the whole assembly took counsel to keep other seven days:
and they kept other seven days with gladness.
:24 For Hezekiah king of Judah did give to the congregation a thousand bullocks
and seven thousand sheep;
and the princes gave to the congregation a thousand bullocks
and ten thousand sheep:
and a great number of priests sanctified themselves.
:25 And all the congregation of Judah,
with the priests and the Levites,
and all the congregation that came out of Israel,
and the strangers that came out of the land of Israel,
and that dwelt in Judah,
:26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem:
for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel
there was not the like in Jerusalem.
:27 Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people:
and their voice was heard,
and their prayer came up to his holy dwelling place,
even unto heaven.
31:1 Now when all this was finished,
all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah,
and brake the images in pieces,
and cut down the groves,
and threw down the high places
and the altars out of all Judah
in Ephraim also
until they had utterly destroyed them all.
Then all the children of Israel returned,
every man to his possession,
into their own cities.
There was great rejoicing among the people because they returned to the Lord and God healed the people. They were so blessed that they got to spend another week there. Nice extended vacation. Then the people took action and rid themselves of the images, groves, high places and altars that served other gods.
In II Chronicles 31:2-19 we learn that Hezekiah sets up the priests and the Levites to do the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, minister and to give thanks, and to praise God. He set aside the king's tithe and commanded the people to bring their tithes to the Levites they that might be encouraged in the law of the Lord. A great abundance of the firstfruits was brought in. God said it was laid in heaps for four months. They blessed the Lord and His people and built store houses for it. The Priests and Levites were also set up throughout Judah. The Priests and Levites were now taken care of so that they could minister unto the Lord and His people.
II Chronicles 31
:20 And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah,
and wrought that which was good
and truth before the LORD his God.
:21 And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God,
and in the law,
and in the commandments,
to seek his God,
he did it with all his heart,
Hezekiah did that which was good, right, and the truth before the Lord his God and in every work in the service of the house of God and the law and the commandments to seek His God he did it with all of his heart and God prospered him and the nation. He did this first. He put God first. Hezekiah lined up his heart and actions to the Word of God and God took care of him and all those that made the commitment to Him. The nation was affected by it. Not everyone believed. Many laughed them to scorn. But the remnant that believed caused the prosperity and protection of Judah.
What affect do you have on your nation? What affect do you have on your community? As you stand faithful on God's Word--learn it, confess it, believe it, speak it--God can work mightily in our lives, communities, and nations.
:11 The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever,
the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD;
and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.
:13 The LORD looketh from heaven;
he beholdeth all the sons of men.
:14 From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth.
:15 He fashioneth their hearts alike;
he considereth all their works.
:16 There is no king saved by the multitude of an host:
a mighty man is not delivered by much strength.
:17 An horse is a vain thing for safety:
neither shall he deliver any by his great strength.
:18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him,
upon them that hope in his mercy;
:19 To deliver their soul from death,
and to keep them alive in famine.
:20 Our soul waiteth for the LORD:
he is our help and our shield.
:21 For our heart shall rejoice in him,
because we have trusted in his holy name.
:22 Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us,
according as we hope in thee.