Introduction: In 2 Kings 19, God revealed seven blessings that He offers to faithful believers through His defeat of the Assyrian army. These include: (1) guidance, (2) encouragement, (3) protection, (4) deliverance, (5) answered prayers, (6) restoration, and (7) forgiveness. In 2 Kings 20, God used Hezekiah’s successes and his failures to reveal seven additional things that He offers to believers. These include: (1) healing, (2) a prolonged life, (3) His faithfulness, (4) His forgiveness (offered a second time), (5) conviction of sin, (6) discipline and (7) mercy and grace.
First, when faced with a mortal illness before the Assyrian invasion, Hezekiah cried out to God for deliverance. God heard his prayers and healed Hezekiah. From Hezekiah’s faithful example, God reveals that He may heal your illness when you faithfully seek Him. Second, as a reward for his faith-led obedience, God extended Hezekiah’s life by 15 extra years. This confirmed promises that God made to His people through Moses. Through Hezekiah’s example, God confirmed His promise to prolong the life of a believer whose faith produces the fruit of obedience. Third, Hezekiah then sadly sinned by asking for a sign and by failing to thank God. God, however, was still faithful to keep His promise to Hezekiah. From this example, God reveals that He is faithful to keep His promises, even when our faith fails us. Fourth, Hezekiah then committed several sins when he agreed to an alliance with Babylon and showed all of Judah’s hidden gold in an act of pride. Although God could have revoked His promises to protect Judah from Assyria, He instead forgave the Jews and defeated the Assyrians. Because forgiveness is such an important part of God’s character, this theme is repeated across both chapters. Just as He did for Hezekiah, God offers to forgive His people, even when they fail to trust Him. Fifth, God used Isaiah to try to gently convict Hezekiah of his sins. Today, God’s Word and the Holy Spirit work together to convict sinners to cause them to repent. Sixth, because of Hezekiah’s sins and the sins that his son Manasseh would commit, God would discipline the Jews by sending them in to Babylonian captivity. Yet, He waited approximately a century longer to give the Jews a chance to repent. From these events, God reveals that He disciplines His people out of love to correct them. Finally, despite his sins, God celebrated Hezekiah for his faith and his obedience. From this example, God reveals that His mercy and grace is greater than our sins. Yet, this mercy and grace is available only through Jesus.
Hezekiah cries out to God when faced with a mortal illness. In one of his many tests of faith, Isaiah revealed to Hezekiah that he would soon die from an illness. Hezekiah showed both his faith and his knowledge of God’s Word by praying in faith for one of the blessings that God promised for those who act with faith-led obedience. “1 In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.’’ 2 Then he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, saying, 3 ‘Remember now, O Lord, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart and have done what is good in Your sight.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly.” (2 Kgs. 20:1-3; 2 Chr. 32:24; Is. 38:1). These events are told out of chronological order for thematic reasons around the middle of Hezekiah’s reign. We know this because God promised to defend Jerusalem later on in this chapter: “I will defend this city. . .” (2 Kgs. 20:6). Based upon the length of his reign, Isaiah confronted Hezekiah with God’s testing approximately 12 years before King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded and approximately 15 years before Hezekiah died (Isa. 38:1-22). Based on the ages given in two separate verses, he was only 39 years old when Isaiah told him to prepare for his death (2 Kgs. 18:2; 20:6). This was a test of faith that God knew in advance that Hezekiah would pass. Hezekiah cried out to God and placed his trust in God to be healed. Hezekiah did not want to die. Because Manasseh was only 12 when he became king (2 Kgs. 21:1), this means that Judah would have died without an heir if God had not extended Hezekiah’s life by 15 years. God’s answer to Hezekiah’s prayers reaffirmed His conditional promise to Solomon that a faithful king would never lack an heir to the throne (1 Kgs. 9:5-9).
God can restore the health of a faithful believer. Hezekiah called out in faith by reciting God’s promises. He had lived in a faith-led obedience that was unlike any king since David: “Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah; and he did what was good, right and true before the LORD his God.” (2 Chr. 31:20). Through Moses, God promised to pour out His blessings on those who live in faith-led obedience (Dt. 28:1-2). This can include His promise to withhold diseases and poor health: “And He said, ‘If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer.’” (Ex. 15:26; Dt. 7:15). ‘“See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; it is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, and there is no one who can deliver from My hand.”’ (Dt. 32:39). “ . . . the LORD binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted.” (Is. 30:26). “For He inflicts pain, and gives relief; He wounds, and His hands also heal.” (Job 5:8). “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Ps. 147:3). “He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” (Ps. 107:20). You cannot earn God’s blessings. Yet, God is faithful to bless those who live with faith-led obedience.
All things are possible with God when you have faith. Hezekiah also had faith because he knew that God can do all things: “Is anything too difficult for the LORD?” (Gen. 18:14(a)). “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?” (Jer. 32:27). “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2). “‘With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”’ (Matt. 19:26(b); Mk. 10:27(b); Lk. 1:37). “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Ro. 8:31). God also wants you to turn to Him in faith when your health issues seem impossible. His miracles happen every day.
You cannot earn God’s healing through your works. By Jesus’ stripes you can also be healed from any infirmity: “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” (Is. 53:5; 1 Pet. 2:24). He is so powerful that He healed a leper merely with His touch or His command: “Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” (Matt. 8:3). Although your faith-led obedience can bring His blessing of healing, you cannot earn His healings through your works. This would undermine Jesus’ sacrifice. God illustrated this principle in the Old Testament through His healing of the Syrian leper Naaman. Naaman wanted to earn his healing through a dramatic test of his strength in the raging mountainous rivers in Syria. He did not want to dunk himself seven times in the calm Jordan River (2 Kgs. 5:9-12). God never wants you to serve Him with the wrong motives. Yet, He also wants you to know that His offer to bless and restore your health are real. Serve Him in obedience and let Him bless you.
Cry out to God when you need deliverance from an illness or disease. Some think that a true person of faith should stoically accept bad news. Yet, Hezekiah showed that he was a man faith because he cried out to God for healing. David also cried out for God when he needed healing: “O LORD my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me.” (Ps. 30:2). “Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am pining away; Heal me, O LORD, for my bones are dismayed.” (Ps. 6:2). “As for me, I said, ‘O LORD, be gracious to me; heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.”’ (Ps. 41:4). Moses also cried out for God to heal his sister Miriam from her leprosy: “Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, ‘O God, heal her, I pray!”’ (Nu. 12:13). Have you cried out to God if you need healing?
Because of his faith-led obedience, God extends Hezekiah’s life 15 years. In response to Hezekiah’s cry for healing and his faithful obedience, God extended his life by 15 years: “4 Before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 5 ‘Return and say to Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of your father David, ‘I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord. 6 I will add fifteen years to your life, and I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.’’ 7 Then Isaiah said, ‘Take a cake of figs.’ And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered.” (2 Kgs. 20:4-7). God heard Hezekiah’s righteous prayers and gave Isaiah His response before Isaiah had even left Hezekiah’s palace. God heard his prayers and saw his tears (Isa. 38:5). God not only promised to extend his life, He also promised to defend Jerusalem from the mighty Assyrian army (2 Kgs. 20:6; Is. 37:36-37).
God promises to extend your life when you follow His Fifth Commandment. As part of the Fifth Commandment, God promised to prolong the lives of believers when they follow it. When He gave this promise to Moses, the blessing was limited to a longer life for the Jews who lived inside the Promised Land: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.” (Ex. 20:12; Dt. 5:16). Yet, when God restated this commandment through Paul, He expended it to include a longer life and a blessed life for believers in Christ anywhere on the Earth: “Honor Your Father and Mother so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.” (Eph. 6:2-3). When you follow the Fifth Commandment, God may bless you and your children through good relationships and peace: “All your sons will be taught of the LORD; and the well-being of your sons will be great.” (Is. 54:13). Through your walk with Jesus, are you giving your children a reason to honor you?
Spirit-led obedience may extend your life longer than it would have been. God blessed Hezekiah because of his faith and obedience were unlike any king before him: “5 He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel; so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among those who were before him. 6 For he clung to the Lord; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the Lord had commanded Moses.” (2 Kgs. 18:5). God also promises to prolong your life on Earth if you walk in faith-led obedience to God’s Commandments and His Word: “Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess (Dt. 5:32-33; 4:40; Lev. 18:5). “Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged.” (Dt. 6:1-2). “so that you may prolong your days on the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give to them and to their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Dt. 11:9). “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep My commandments; for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.” (Prov. 3:1-2). “For by me your days will be multiplied, and years of life will be added to you.” (Prov. 9:11). “The fear of the LORD prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be shortened.” (Prov. 10:27). When your faith leads to obedience, God may extend your time a day, a week, a year, a decade, or longer. You will never know how much longer He extended your life until you get to heaven. For now, He wants you to have the faith to believe that His promises are true. If you doubt His promise of a prolonged life, you should not expect Him to extend your life (Jam. 1:6-7). Indeed, “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6). If you are battling a long-term illness or if you simply want to live longer, are you willing to obey in faith for God to prolong your life?
Because He loves you, God also hears your cries to Him. Like Hezekiah, God also responded to the cries of His people when they were oppressed. For example, when God picked Moses in response to the cries of His people in Egypt: “The LORD said, ‘I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings.’” (Ex. 3:7). He had also responded previously to their cries of oppression in the Promised Land (Jdgs. 2:18). “Many times He would deliver them; they, however, were rebellious in their counsel, and so sank down in their iniquity. Nevertheless He looked upon their distress when He heard their cry; and He remembered His covenant for their sake, and relented according to the greatness of His lovingkindness.” (Ps. 106:43-45). This same love caused Jesus to come to Earth and allow Himself to be killed so that underserving sinners might be delivered (Jo. 3:16). If God has rescued you from the pain, praise Him (Ro. 12:1-2).
Hezekiah asks God for a sign and then fails to thank Him. Although Hezekiah was a man of incredible faith, he errored in asking Isaiah for a sign of God’s faithfulness and by failing to thank Him: “8 Now Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the Lord the third day?’ 9 Isaiah said, ‘This shall be the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing that He has spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten steps or go back ten steps?’ 10 So Hezekiah answered, ‘It is easy for the shadow to decline ten steps; no, but let the shadow turn backward ten steps.’ 11 Isaiah the prophet cried to the Lord, and He brought the shadow on the stairway back ten steps by which it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.” (2 Kgs. 20:8-11). Hezekiah wanted to wait until the third day after he was healed to return to the courtyard of God’s Temple. God, however, did not need to provide Hezekiah with an additional sign. Nevertheless, He promised that He would alter time by allowing Hezekiah to see Him supernaturally alter the sun’s shadow by ten degrees.
God’s mercy and grace in response to Hezekiah’s lack of faith. If Hezekiah’s faith were pure, he would not have asked for a sign to confirm God’s Word. Yet, the Bible shows the heroes of the faith with their faults so that you will never feel defeated in trying to live up to their example. Hezekiah also was not alone in asking God to confirm His promises with a sign. For example, Moses repeatedly questioned God’s calling (Ex. 3:11; 4:10, 13). He also demanded a sign so that others would believe that God had sent him (Ex. 4:1). Gideon also failed to trust God by demanding that He produce a sign to confirm His Word (Jdgs. 6:17-24). David also felt the need for a sign of God’s confirmation: “Show me a sign for good, that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed, because You, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.” (Ps. 86:17). Likewise, Thomas demanded to see the holes in Jesus’ hands to confirm that He had risen from the dead (Jo. 20:25; Mk. 16:11-14). Yet, this does not mean that you should repeat their mistakes by asking for a sign: “But He answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet;”’ (Matt. 12:39). The many fulfilled promises in the Bible are all you need to trust God’s Word.
Hezekiah’s failure to thank God for His healing and extended life. In addition to his error in asking for a sign, Hezekiah also failed to thank God for His blessings: “24 In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill; and he prayed to the Lord, and the Lord spoke to him and gave him a sign. 25 But Hezekiah gave no return for the benefit he received, because his heart was proud; therefore wrath came on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. 26 However, Hezekiah humbled the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come on them in the days of Hezekiah.” (2 Chr. 32:24-26). Hezekiah’s actions show the dangers from believing that you have earned a blessing. Hezekiah correctly recited God’s promises as a sign of his faith. Yet, he made the mistake of believing that he had earned God’s blessings. This dilemma has caused some churches to avoid discussing God’s blessings. Yet, this is also a mistake. The correct approach is to teach people not to claim God’s blessings with a sense of entitlement. It is only through Jesus’ mercy and grace that He may decide to bless you.
Give thanks that God’s faithfulness is not dependent on your faithfulness. God could have revoked His blessings based upon Hezekiah’s lack of faith. Yet, God showed that His faithfulness is not conditioned upon our faithfulness: “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Tim. 2:13). “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Nu. 23:19). Have you given thanks that God will not use your sins to void any of His many promises to bless you?
Hezekiah agrees to the Babylonian’s help against Assyria. Instead of fully trusting in God, Hezekiah agreed to meet with the King of Babylon to build a worldly alliance against Assyria. To demonstrate that he would be a worthy ally, Hezekiah also showed the Babylonians all the gold in his kingdom: “12 At that time Berodach-baladan a son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that Hezekiah had been sick. 13 Hezekiah listened to them, and showed them all his treasure house, the silver and the gold and the spices and the precious oil and the house of his armor and all that was found in his treasuries. There was nothing in his house nor in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them.” (2 Kgs. 20:12-13). Berodach-baladan (a.k.a., Merodach-baladan (Is. 39:1-2)) was the ruler of Babylon. Before the Jews defeated Assyria, he came to Judah to build an alliance against King Sargon of Assyria. Hezekiah showed with pride all of God’s treasures without giving any credit to God. Not long after boasting of these treasures, Hezekiah gave these treasures to the Assyrians in an effort to appease them: “15 Hezekiah gave him all the silver which was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasuries of the king’s house. 16 At that time Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the doorposts which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.” (2 Kgs. 18:15).
Hezekiah’s seven sins. Despite his many virtues, Hezekiah committed several sins. One commentator explains five of these sins as follows: “· [First,] Pride, in that he was proud of the honors the Babylonians brought. ·[Second,] Ingratitude, in that he took honor to himself that really belonged to God. · [Third,] Abusing the gifts given to him, where he took the gifts and favors to his own honor and gratification of his lusts (2 Chronicles 32:25-26). · [Fourth,] Carnal confidence, in that he trusted in the coalition he had made with the king of Babylon. · [Fifth,] Missing opportunity, in that he had a great opportunity to testify to the Babylonian envoys about the greatness of God and the LORD’s blessing on Judah. Instead, he glorified himself.” (David Guzik on 2 Kgs. 20). Sixth, he committed the sin of disobedience. He was not to form treaties with pagan nations: “ . . . You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them.” (Dt. 7:2). Finally, he committed the sin of prayerlessness. He failed to pray or seek God’s guidance in dealing with the King of Babylon. Hezekiah had access to God’s prophet Isaiah. Yet, he failed to seek out God’s guidance in advance through His prophet.
Walk humbly and use God’s gifts for Him so that He can exalt you. Like Hezekiah, God wants to exalt you. Yet, you must also walk in humble service to God and not the needs of your own flesh: “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matt. 23:12; Lk. 14:11; 18:14). “A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.” (Prov. 29:23). “‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”’ (Jam. 4:6(b)). Do you walk with humility by serving God and His people? If so, He will exalt you either on Earth or in heaven.
Don’t credit your God-given gifts to your own actions. Like Hezekiah, many successful people honor themselves with their gifts because they feel responsible for their accomplishments or knowledge. Yet, believers should never boast in their God-given wisdom or other gifts. “Thus says the LORD, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the LORD.” (Jer. 9:23-24). “But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Gal. 6:14). When others praise you, do you praise Jesus?
God’s wisdom is worth more than any earthly honor or treasure. Solomon also errored in taking credit for the financial blessings that God bestowed upon him. Even though God’s wisdom may bring honor, respect, or money, Solomon later learned from his mistakes that God’s wisdom is worth more than any money: “How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.” (Prov. 16:16). “My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold, and my yield better than choicest silver.” (Prov. 8:19). Do you seek out riches, power, and respect? Or, do you seek God’s wisdom?
God offers to forgive His people when they sin. Hezekiah did not need to turn to Babylon for help. Through Isaiah, God later encouraged Hezekiah not to fear his enemy: “‘Do not be afraid. . .” (2 Kgs. 19:6). Moses also encouraged the Jews not to fear their enemies: (Dt. 20:1-4; 31:8). “The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul.” (Ps. 121:7). “No harm befalls the righteous, but the wicked are filled with trouble.” (Prov. 12:21). God then fulfilled His promises by killing 185,000 Assyrian soldiers before they could even begin a siege (2 Kgs. 19:35-37; 2 Chr. 32:21-22; Is. 37:36-38). This shows that God can forgive His people when they sin against Him.
Isaiah confronts Hezekiah, yet Hezekiah fails to repent. After engaging in these sins, Hezekiah also failed to repent of his actions when Isaiah confronted him: “14 Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah and said to him, ‘What did these men say, and from where have they come to you?’ And Hezekiah said, ‘They have come from a far country, from Babylon.’ 15 He said, ‘What have they seen in your house?’ So Hezekiah answered, ‘They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing among my treasuries that I have not shown them.’” (2 Kgs. 20:14-15). God did not want Hezekiah to depend upon the pagan powers of the world as his refuge. God therefore revealed to Isaiah what Hezekiah had done. Thus, Isaiah did not ask a question where he did not know the answer. Instead, he asked a question to cause Hezekiah to think about his actions and then repent.
God frequently sent prophets to confront sinful leaders when the Church was silent. There were many times in Israel’s history when God was forced to send prophets when the Church stayed silent in the face of a leader’s sin. For example, God’s prophet Samuel confronted Saul for his rebellion and disobedience (1 Sam. 15:17-29; 13:14). God’s prophet Nathan confronted David when he committed adultery and murder (2 Sam. 12:1-9). God’s prophet Ahijah confronted King Jeroboam for his idolatry (1 Kgs. 14:7-16). God’s prophet Jehu also confronted King Baasha for his idolatry (1 Kgs. 16:1-5). Here, God sent Isaiah to confront Hezekiah (2 Kgs. 20:14-15). God later sent the prophet Ezekiel to warn all leaders who misuse their power to prey upon God’s people (Ezek. 34:1-10). Today, God again needs people of faith to speak His Word to sinful leaders.
God’s Word is meant to convict and restore sinners. Like Isaiah, God also gently confronted Adam and Eve with a question to cause them to repent of their sins (Gen. 3:8-10). Unfortunately, because they did not repent, all of mankind has suffered. God also convicted Joseph’s brothers for their sins in selling Joseph into slavery (Gen. 42:21-22). Jesus also convicted Peter for his sins in denying Jesus before His accusers (Matt. 26:75). Today, the Holy Spirit uses God’s Word to convict you of your sins: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (Jo. 14:26). Yet, if you don’t know God’s Word, you are not giving the Holy Spirit much to convict you of your sins.
God’s Church was also meant to convict sinners. The Church is called upon to be God’s salt and light (Matt. 5:3-16). Salt is an irritant in the wound of sin. When the Church stays out of politics, Satan has a free hand to corrupt leaders. When, as now, the Church is silent in the face of a sinful society, God calls upon His people to deliver a message of repentance like Isaiah. In preparation for Jesus, John the Baptist called all sinners to repent. ‘“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”’ (Matt. 3:2). Jesus also began His ministry with a call to repentance: “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”’ (Matt. 4:17; Lk. 18:13.) If you say that you are without sin, the truth is not in you (1 Jo. 1:8). Yet, if you confess your sins, Jesus will forgive you: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jo. 1:9). If you have repented of your sins, are you calling upon sinners around you to repentant?
Isaiah prophesizes that the Babylonians would steal all that Hezekiah showed them. Because of Hezekiah’s sins and because he failed to repent, Isaiah warned that the Babylonians would one day return and seize the remaining gold inside of Judah: “16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Hear the word of the Lord. 17 ‘Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and all that your fathers have laid up in store to this day will be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,’ says the Lord. 18 ‘Some of your sons who shall issue from you, whom you will beget, will be taken away; and they will become officials in the palace of the king of Babylon.’’’ 19 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good.’ For he thought, ‘Is it not so, if there will be peace and truth in my days?’” (2 Kgs. 20:16-19). Isaiah prophesized that the Babylonians would both take the Jews into captivity, and they would seize the remaining hidden treasures of Judah. Hezekiah again failed to repent. Instead, he appeared self-centered and gave thanks that the judgment would not happen immediately or to him.
God disciplined His people out of love. Moses warned that God would discipline the Jews as a loving father: “Thus you are to know in your heart that the LORD your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son.” (Dt. 8:5; Heb. 12:6). Because the Jews would sin again under Manasseh and fail to repent, God fulfilled His Word more than a century later, in or around 586 B.C. (2 Kgs. 24:12-16; 2 Chron. 33:11; Dan. 1:3-4, 6). All of the remaining gold that Hezekiah showed the Babylonians would be taken away: “11 Then the rest of the people who were left in the city and the deserters who had deserted to the king of Babylon and the rest of the people, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away into exile . . . 13 Now the bronze pillars which were in the house of the Lord, and the stands and the bronze sea which were in the house of the Lord, the Chaldeans broke in pieces and carried the bronze to Babylon . . . 15 The captain of the guard also took away the firepans and the basins, what was fine gold and what was fine silver.” (2 Kgs. 20:11-15). Isaiah also stated that some of the Jews would be turned into “officials in the palace of the king of Babylon.” (2 Kgs. 20:19). Daniel fulfilled this separate prophesy (Dan. 1:1-4). God’s Word always comes true. Thus, believers should take God’s Word seriously. Believers can do this by living as holy examples for others.
Despite his mistakes, God honors Hezekiah for his faithfulness. Despite Hezekiah’s sins, God showed His mercy and grace by honoring Hezekiah for his faith-led obedience: “20 Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah and all his might, and how he made the pool and the conduit and brought water into the city, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 21 So Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and Manasseh his son became king in his place.” (2 Kgs. 20:20-21). Hezekiah’s life would seem to end on a down note. Yet, he was the most faithful and obedient king since David. And, David committed far worse sins of adultery and murder. What made David truly unique was his willingness to quickly repent and return to God each time he sinned (Ps. 51:4).
God honored Hezekiah for his faith-led obedience. God previously honored Hezekiah as the first king to destroy the pagan altars. In the beginning of his reign, God celebrated his faith-led obedience (2 Kgs. 18:3-5). At the end of his reign, God again celebrated his obedience in building a water conduit system that protected the Jews during Assyria’s assault (2 Kgs. 20:20). In 1880, archeologists confirmed that Hezekiah built a 1,708-foot-long tunnel between the spring of Gihon and the pool of Siloam (2 Chron. 32:30). Hezekiah also received an honorary burial in the sepulchers where David was buried (2 Chr. 32:33). Thus, God was faithful to remember Hezekiah’s faith, not his sins.
Give thanks for God’s mercy and grace. God’s celebration of Hezekiah should give great hope to all believers. If you obey God in faith-led obedience, God will celebrate your faith and forget your sins: ‘“I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”’ (Is. 43:25). “Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth;”’ (Ex. 34:6). “For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.” (Ps. 86:5). “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.” (Ps. 103:8). “Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yes, our God is compassionate.” (Ps. 116:5). Thus, God’s mercy and grace includes both forgiving your sins and forgetting your sins as well. How have you thanked Him?