Nov 8 2020 Hezekiah - Listen to God, not the Detractors
8th November 2020
Jehu never really dealt with the offerings of sacrifices on the high places. After 100 years, the northern kingdom will be no more – Assyria takes them captive. Now we turn to the Southern Kingdom – Judah – David’s line in Jerusalem. The southern kingdom was on the same path of destruction – a few years behind the northern kingdom until something changes – and it finally changes here in chapter 18:
2 Kings 18:1In the third year of Hoshea king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. 3 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done. 4 He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. 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.
In the history of Israel ( and now we are looking at Judah – the southern kingdom ) David had his issues, but he is put forth as an example – and then 250 years pass of spiraling down with every now and then a glimmer of light from a king who does SOME things right, until we get to Hezekiah. He is like David – these are the two great kings of Israel – they are the Mt. Rushmore of Israel.
Hezekiah goes in and tears all of the high places down – everything that keeps them from true worship is being torn down.
It started with Solomon – bringing idolatry and high place worship into the nation. And then it is 250 years later that Hezekiah begins to tear them all down.
It tells me – it takes a long time for us humans to get things right – to get things out of our lives! In our world – Cindy might say she is sending an article – and three seconds go by and I’m like – DID YOU SEND IT YET?
Every four years, our country changes. It took Israel 250 years to change!
This shows me God’s incredible patience – and we will bring this to our own lives. Think of your troubles and struggles and the things you are not proud of. How long has it taken God to change those for you? Aren’t you glad He is patient and merciful?!
Say you are in your sixties – not that I am – but say you are – and I can look back 40 years and see that I struggled with that way back when – and I have made progress, but I am still struggling with some of the same things.
God is patient and merciful
6 He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow 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.
David and Hezekiah are Messianic figures They aren’t the Messiah, but they point to and foreshadow what the Messiah will be like. Now they are nothing like Jesus, because we look at their lives and are like, whoa! But they are the closest in Israel. First – Hezekiah set Israel on the right trajectory – and destroyed the high places and removed idolatry – and then he defeats the enemy of Israel – and only David and Hezekiah – in all the history of Israel, ever defeat the Philistines – and he stood up to Assyria – the superpower of the day. Most enemies were just tribes. Israel had one small time where they were almost a superpower. They were not like Egypt or Assyria – but David stood up to them – as did Hezekiah. He was successful because the Lord was with him. Yes, there is a faithfulness part of what we need to do – like Paul saying, I labored more than all of them – but it is all God. God is the one who makes it happen.
The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord. We have preparation to do, but the outcome belongs to God.
I think Hezekiah understood that.
13 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah's reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.
That’s a little odd – first it says he had success – but then, it says their fortified cities were captured! How could that happen? All I can say – God’s ways are not the ways of the world. We will see God’s patience and mercy – and His plan must unfold to bring about His glory – that the world would know HIM! – And rarely does that happen the way we think that should happen. His thoughts and ways are so far beyond ours. His ways work – they are our best and are right. What it does for Israel, it teaches Judah and Hezekiah to trust in God – even when things look bleak
14 So Hezekiah king of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria at Lachish: "I have done wrong. Withdraw from me, and I will pay whatever you demand of me."
What is that all about? It says they stood up to them! But what do you think of THAT?, Assyria asks!
The king of Assyria exacted from Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15 So Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the temple of the LORD and in the treasuries of the royal palace.
Wow – why did he do that? That is what Israel’s kings have always done – when the superpowers come in. Like a treaty – HERE!
This is not God’s plan – and in Hezekiah, it is a minor flaw, but it shows how much we are affected by our culture and history and the influence of those on our spirituality. Hezekiah just did what was natural and normal, thinking that is what is done in this situation.
The messenger shows up – talking to those working on the wall:
19 "Tell Hezekiah: " 'This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: On what are you basing this confidence of yours? 20 You say you have the counsel and the might for war--but you speak only empty words. On whom are you depending, that you rebel against me?
There is the real issue. The king and his messenger play the role of the snake in the garden! What the serpent said to Adam and Eve is almost identical in the sense that it is asking – Whom do you trust for your defense?
21 Look, I know you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces the hands of anyone who leans on it! Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who depend on him.
It never says in 2 Kings that Israel depends on Egypt, but this same story is told in Isaiah…
22 But if you say to me, "We are depending on the LORD our God"--isn't he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah removed, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, "You must worship before this altar in Jerusalem"?
How amazingly clever! Are you saying you are trusting in the Lord? You can’t be doing that! Why? Hezekiah has destroyed all the worship places! He can’t protect you – He will forsake and abandon you! We know and understand, but they didn’t have 2 Kings 18 to tell us what a great king he was! And the people hearing this must have heard – Yeah, that is how we have always served Yahweh (on the high places) – and the messenger is trying to sow division and is using theology to do it!
The snake and the devil in the wilderness used God’s words to try to convince – That is his ploy – to take God’s own words to try to get God’s people to turn from God.
24 How can you repulse one officer of the least of my master's officials, even though you are depending on Egypt for chariots and horsemen? 25 Furthermore, have I come to attack and destroy this place without word from the LORD? The LORD himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.' "
What he is doing – he is saying – the Lord is not with you – He is not for you – therefore, He cannot protect nor provide for you
26 Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, said to the commander, "Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it. Don't speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people on the wall."
They realized that the people had fear and anxiety and it will cause doubt and turning away. There is an attack on the identity and calling of Israel – you are not the people of the Lord and God is not the god of the universe! This is an attack on identity and that is what Satan does to us in his points of attack – if he can get that, he has got us – to forget that we are the beloved children of God with whom He is well-pleased. It is an attack on our calling – to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth – a city set on a hill. This calling belongs to the church – no one else – nothing else – can ever claim that, but the church! Only the church is a city set on a hill! God has given that ONLY to the church! And our calling, because of that, is to live out the gospel in whatever circumstances God has placed us in. Those circumstances are free to change, and how they change – but we are to be light and salt and nothing can stop that from happening.
There are churches that are undergoing huge persecution – and they are salt and light – and that is our calling.
27 But the commander replied, "Was it only to your master and you that my master sent me to say these things, and not to the people sitting on the wall--who, like you, will have to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine?"
28 Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew, "Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29 This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you from my hand. 30 Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the LORD when he says, 'The LORD will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.'
So here is what he is saying – he is trying to get them to doubt and not trust in the Lord.
Paul told the Corinthians – he was concerned that the serpent would deceive them like he deceived Eve and they would be led away from the purity of devotion to Christ. And that is what the king of Assyria is trying to do – and Paul says this is like flaming arrows of the evil one – trying to lead us away from a simple and pure devotion to Christ – to get us wrapped up in all kinds of things – whether good, or bad – that lead us away from a simple, pure devotion to Christ.
Scott said he read the Psalm – to not involve oneself in matters too difficult. Learn to rest like a weaned child rests against his mother.
We are in a time of great fear and anxiety – you’ve heard 2020 can’t end too soon!
Clinical depression has gone up 100% in America, and 10% have thought of committing suicide! Dave Brunelle told me.
We are going through a difficult time! And we aren’t going to change much of that – but here is what we can control: a SIMPLE, PURE, DEVOTION TO Christ. We can control that! That is how we become salt and light – when we demonstrate that even with things are difficult.
Lord, give us that ability in this time- help us to not allow all that is going on to steal our hearts from You! Help us to see the enemy is trying to steal our hearts from You – and get us in matters that belong to You and not to us. May we trust You – even as Hezekiah does – we won’t’ finish the story until next week, but he does not allow his nation to get involved in matters that belong to God, but lets You do what You will do. So we ask for us – that we would leave Your things to You – and then focus on the identity and calling You have given us.