What can we learn from the life of King Hezekiah?
King Hezekiah's reign is discussed in several biblical passages, including 2 Kings 18—20, 2 Chronicles 29—32, Isaiah 36—39, and is mentioned in Proverbs 25:1, Jeremiah, Hosea, and Micah. Hezekiah served as king of Judah from approximately 715—687 BC. He began his reign at the age of 25 and reigned for a total of 29 years.
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Many lessons can be learned from Hezekiah's reign. First, he honored God through repairing the Jewish temple that had been closed during the reign of his wicked father, Ahaz. This included a renewal of the work of the Jewish priests and sacrifices and celebration of the Passover (2 Chronicles 29—31). Second Kings 18:3 says, "And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done." Verses 5-6 further explain, "[Hezekiah] trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him. For he held fast to the LORD. He did not depart from following him, but kept the commandments that the LORD commanded Moses."
Further, Hezekiah sought to remove false gods from the land and destroyed the high places of pagan worship in Judah. Second Kings 18:4 notes, "He removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan)."
As a result of his godly lifestyle, we are told the Lord was with Hezekiah and that he prospered (2 Kings 18:7). He achieved military victories over the Philistines and remained in the land even after Assyria defeated the northern kingdom of Israel (2 Kings 18:11-12). When Hezekiah prayed to the Lord after threats from Rabshakeh, the prophet Isaiah was sent to comfort Hezekiah; and Rabshakeh and the Assyrians were defeated by the Lord (2 Kings 19). During a time of sickness, Hezekiah prayed and was granted 15 more years to his life (2 Kings 20:6).
On the negative side, Hezekiah carelessly allowed a Babylonian envoy access to visit all of his treasures, weapons, and goods. Isaiah prophesied that this people, the Babylonians, would one day take away the sons of Hezekiah to Babylon (2 Kings 20:16-19). Second Chronicles 32:25-26 called this an act of pride on Hezekiah's behalf, though v. 26 notes, "But Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah."
Second Chronicles 31:20-21 provides a fitting conclusion to his godly reign: "Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and faithful before the LORD his God. And every work that he undertook in the service of the house of God and in accordance with the law and the commandments, seeking his God, he did with all his heart, and prospered." In this we see the important traits of doing what is right, faithfulness to God, obedience, seeking God fully, and God's blessing upon his life. These traits, as well as his prayer of faith in time of sickness, reveal many positive aspects of Hezekiah's reign that can be emulated by those who follow God today.
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