(Today's post by Adam Cooper)
2 Kings 20 & 21
Hezekiah was on his death bed. The news had been delivered by the prophet Isaiah himself. Hezekiah prayed to the Lord seemingly reminding Him of how he (Hezekiah) had walked in His ways. Then the Lord delivers a new message, the one listed above, and suddenly Hezekiah has 15 more years. Hezekiah then entertains visitors from Babylon and pridefully shows them all of the riches of the kingdom. Isaiah then tells him that all of those riches he boastfully displayed would one day be taken away by the very country he was just bragging to.
2 Kings 21:1-18 introduces us to a boy king, 12-year old Manasseh, who undid everything that Hezekiah had accomplished by reinstating the high places and idolatrous worship that Hezekiah had routed out. 2 Kings 21:14, “I will forsake the remnant of my inheritance and hand them over to their enemies. They will be looted and plundered by all their foes, 15 because they have done evil in my eyes and have provoked me to anger from the day their forefathers came out of Egypt until this day.” God vows to deliver His people over to their enemies for their “detestable sins.” God says, “I am going to bring such disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. (v.12)”
2 Kings 21:19-26 basically tells us a “like father, like son” story about Amon who continued to do the things his father had done and was eventually killed by his own officials. The people then killed the people who had killed him.
So what do these stories have in common? What do they mean for us after thousands of years?
In the person of Hezekiah I see a couple of things working. First, I see faith. Hezekiah had walked in the ways of the Lord, destroying the high places and the idolatrous worship practices of those before him. He put great stock in the word of the Lord and when Isaiah brought him word of his impending death he trusted that word. Second, I see humility. When Hezekiah heard he was about to die he turned towards the wall. This would mean that he turned his back to Isaiah while he prayed. During this time period a king would never turn their back to anyone and I feel that him doing this showed great trust and humility. Lastly, I see pride. Pride led him to “show off” the riches of his kingdom and pride would cost that kingdom those riches in the future.
In the story of Manasseh and Amon we see the continuation of the idolatrous practices that Hezekiah had worked so hard to remove. It is also business as usual for the Jews and it seems that the author of the book of 2 Kings is trying to show the anger that God has mustered against the sinful nation of Israel. I don’t know about you but hearing that there will be such disaster brought against my people that anyone who hears about it their ears will tingle reminds me of the saying, “I’ll slap you so hard your children will feel it.”
I think we should all draw solace from 2 Kings 20:5, “'This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you.” How many times have we prayed in earnest when we or someone close to us is hurting and longed to hear this from God? In this case God is healing Hezekiah from his physical illness. In our cases it may be healing from an addiction, healing spiritually, or any other type of healing because nothing is beyond the grasp or range of God’s glorious power. We need to stop longing to hear this from God and realize that we have ALREADY heard from God in this verse. God hears our cries and will heal us in ways that we may never even imagine.
My prayer for you today is that you remember that God is for us. God loves us. All things are within His power and within His grasp. If we call out to Him with our heart and soul He will hear and heal us in a way that best serves His glorious will.