King Hezekiah of Judah
(2 Chronicles 29.1,2; 31.1)
1Hezekiah son of Ahaz became king of Judah in the third year of Hoshea's rule in Israel. 2Hezekiah was 25 years old when he became king, and he ruled 29 years from Jerusalem. His mother Abi was the daughter of Zechariah.
3Hezekiah obeyed the Lord, just as his ancestor David had done. 4 He destroyed the local shrines, then tore down the images of foreign gods and cut down the sacred pole for worshiping the goddess Asherah. He also smashed the bronze snake Moses had made. The people had named it Nehushtan and had been offering sacrifices to it.
5Hezekiah trusted the Lord God of Israel. No other king of Judah was like Hezekiah, either before or after him. 6He was completely faithful to the Lord and obeyed the laws the Lord had given to Moses for the people. 7The Lord helped Hezekiah, so he was successful in everything he did. He even rebelled against the king of Assyria, refusing to be his servant. 8Hezekiah defeated the Philistine towns as far away as Gaza—from the smallest towns to the large, walled cities.
Whole hearted Hezekiah distinguished himself by his single minded obedience. That obedience required vigorous opposition to the entrenched practices of his day. One widespread activity was the worship of many gods. Perhaps this had a pragmatic component, rooted in fear. Why take a chance at ticking off a local god by neglecting to worship it? Better to add it to the family’s worship pantheon, just in case.
But just like in marriage, saying yes to the one God, means forsaking all others. For better or worse, your present and your future become tied to that one choice. For Hezekiah, the stakes were even higher. He was making that choice not only for himself, but he was imposing it on the entire nation he led.
What courage it must have taken to publically take that stand. Where did he get his certainty that this was the right choice?
In Hezekiah’s case, the correctness of his choice seems to have been confirmed by the “success in everything” he experienced. But “success”, however it is defined, is never a reliable confirmation of righteousness. It’s merely a measure of practical soundness. It shows that a method “worked”.
Sometimes we’re called to be faithful and obedient in a way that does not yield “success,” at least as others may define it. “Doing” with an expectation of “getting” is a transaction, not an act of obedience. A heart yielded and committed just “does” because it’s the right thing to do, even when the cost is high and the return may be low. Hezekiah is esteemed today for his choice and actions, not the outcomes.
Our God and Father – Your way is the path of righteousness, not the path of least resistance. Cost and conflict sometimes seem like our only immediate rewards for obedience but you have something far greater in mind for us. Help us see what you see. Give us strength to obey in spite of the cost.