5 Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. 6 He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. 7 And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. 8 From watchtower to fortified city, he defeated the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory.
2 Kings 18:5-8
24 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. He prayed to the Lord, who answered him and gave him a miraculous sign. 25 But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the Lord’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. 26 Then Hezekiah repented of the pride of his heart, as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore the Lord’s wrath did not come on them during the days of Hezekiah.
30 It was Hezekiah who blocked the upper outlet of the Gihon spring and channeled the water down to the west side of the City of David. He succeeded in everything he undertook. 31 But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.
2 Chronicles 32:24-26 & 30-31
Few kings lived up to the standard set by Hezekiah. He was probably the second most faithful king after the great King David. Like his forefather, Hezekiah did demonstrate a moment of weakness. He became proud. Perhaps all his victories went to his head. Maybe his court fed his ego. We don’t know the reason, we only know for certain, this king who “did not stop following the Lord” managed to allow his heart to get a bit conceited for a time.
The first lesson I learn from Hezekiah is this: No one on earth is perfect. Sometimes we fail and start to beat ourselves up. Many think they’ve done so much wrong God could never forgive or work good out of their mistakes. Yet, David and Hezekiah are beautiful examples of Yahweh’s grace.
King David coveted, became an adulterer, tried to deceive Uriah, then murdered the noble husband of Bathsheba. Hezekiah became proud and didn’t acknowledge his Provider. Still, when they repented God took them in, no questions asked. Do you think He would do any less for you?
The second lesson Hezekiah teaches is the testing of God. I don’t know about you, but I’m not crazy about tests. The New International Version says, “God left him.” I have a hard time with that since God told Joshua, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So I looked it up in the Hebrew. According to the interlinear Bible, in this context, it means temporarily abandon for a purpose.
I know, it’s still not comforting to think God will leave us. But picture yourself with a teenage son or daughter. You’ve taught them how to behave. They know the rules and the consequences, and they understand you’re just trying to keep them safe. So, you give them the keys to the car. Some parents might think you’re abandoning them, but we know that at some point we have to trust them to do what they’ve been taught to do. The first time out is always the test. Can they be safe without us?
In Hezekiah’s case, envoys had been sent from Babylon to get the lowdown on all the miracles they’d heard coming out of Jerusalem under Hezekiah’s rule. The test is simple. Will Hezekiah give God the glory or will he have a human explanation that will make him look good. The Almighty could stick around and give the king the words to say, but in all honesty, he should have the script memorized. Explaining how Yahweh delivered His people and gave Hezekiah fifteen extra years to live, should be a no-brainer.
The odd thing about Hezekiah’s story is we don’t hear how he did on the test. Did he do the right thing and give God credit, or was he a glory-hog?
Hezekiah’s story quickly becomes our story. We begin to see when we face the simple tests of life we have a choice to make. How will we respond when we have a chance to glorify God to the world? We get to right the ending of Hezekiah’s story.
So, as you go out in the world today, look for opportunities to make God look good. It might just be a test. I believe you can get an A+!