Wisdom Wednesday: The Wisdom of Hezekiah

                      The Wisdom of Hezekiah                                                

By: Debbie‘s Dad        


Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish.
In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction;
you have put all my sins behind your back.

 For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot sing your praise;
those who go down to the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness.
The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today;
parents tell their children about your faithfulness.  (Isaiah 38:17-19)

Hezekiah was a faithful King of Judah about 700 years before Christ arrived. After David, he has been considered one of the greatest kings of the Jewish people. Accounts of his 29-year reign, beginning at age 25 and ending at his death at age 54, are recorded in II Kings 18-20 and II Chronicles 32:24-33. It is recorded that he was, “More zealous for the Lord than any other king of Judah” (2 Kings 18:5).

Hezekiah’s Faithfulness

Immediately upon becoming king, Hezekiah, reversed the leadership of his father, the wicked king Ahab, who established the worship of idols in Judah. Ahaz set an awful example for his son, worshiping idols, and demonstrating poor political leadership.  Yet Hezekiah “… held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook” (2 Kings 18:6–7). Hezekiah reestablished the worship of the Lord and removed the idols and sacrificial traditions allowed by his father. He remained close to Isaiah the prophet and sought Isaiah when   

Hezekiah’s Trials

Though faithful to the Lord, Hezekiah faced two significant trials in his life that tested his faith. Both tests were anguishing “near-death experiences”:

  •       Personal Anguish – He became very sick and was reaching the point of death but prayed with Isaiah and his life was extended by the Lord for fifteen years (2 Kings 20:5–7). This experience led him to write the praise of the Lord recorded by Isaiah in chapter 38. He Hezekiah said he cried, moaned, his eyes grew weak, and felt as if his bones were broken as he neared death. His prayer (recorded in II Kings 20:2-6) was to turn to the wall, tell the Lord of his faithfulness, and to weep.
  •      Public Anguish – In 701 BC Hezekiah faced a public crisis. The Assyrian expeditionary forces, accompanied by their king Sennacherib, invaded Judea, first destroying small and fortified cities, then turning to viciously destroy the second largest walled city, Lachish, before heading to the largest and capital city, Jerusalem. This invasion severely tested Hezekiah’s faith in His Lord.  The Assyrian army threatened to destroy the city, and Hezekiah called on Isaiah (2 Kings 19) and prayed. He positioned himself in a contrite stance before God and called upon God personally “O Lord”, even as today we call our heavenly Father, “O Father” is appropriated when in distress. Then, he expressed and described his dire situation. (Of course, God knows our situation, but in a personal relationship with a personal God, He wants to hear us articulate our need for guidance and help when circumstances seem dire.)  He articulated his petition to the Lord; he petitioned the Lord to save the city and its people for the purpose to show the entire earth the power of Judea’s God. The Scripture records the results: Jerusalem was saved (and the Assyrians miraculously crushed), and Hezekiah was miraculously granted 15 additional years of life.

The Wisdom of Hezekiah’s Response to Anguish

In the passage at the top of this devotional, we see the core of what Hezekiah wrote after his recovery from his sickness, and it is the praise of wise man.  He humbly acknowledged God’s rescue (kept me from destruction) and redemption (put my sins behind your back). There was nothing he could do but   turn to God his rescuer and redeemer. Then, he joyfully praised God – recognizing that only living people have this privilege to tell others of God’s faithfulness.

We too, are wise to humbly acknowledge God’s faithfulness (to Him) and then tell others what we have experienced of his faithfulness. 



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