What does it say?
2Kings 18 begins the story of king Hezekiah in Jerusalem, one of the best kings of Judah. Not long after Israel falls to the Assyrians, they turn their attention to Judah with both military and psychological warfare. 2Chronicles 29-31 takes us back earlier in Hezekiah’s reign before the invasion by Sennacherib of Assyria. 2Chronicles 29 describes Hezekiah’s cleansing and rededication of the temple. In chapter 30 we see the greatest Passover feast since Solomon. Chapter 31 shows how Hezekiah’s reforms extend to a renewal of the priesthood, worship and tithing system.
Psalm 48 appears here in our chronological reading because many believe that it may have been written during Hezekiah’s reign. If this is indeed the case, it is a burst of praise and relief at being delivered from the Assyrian threat.
What does it mean?
Hezekiah is, for the most part, a heroic figure appearing in a time of spiritual decay in Judah and bringing about great reform. Despite flaws that we will see, Hezekiah is one of Judah’s finest kings. He successfully swims against the prevailing current of the culture and makes a significant mark in history.
Many believers in the West spend significant amounts of time criticizing and attacking cultural trends and sins rather than effectively engaging in culture to offer different models offering potential power for transformation. Hezekiah’s life is a template for several profound spiritual lessons. His personal faith drives the rededication of the temple, reform of worship, and the renewal of the Levitical system of sacrifice and tithing. Many believers and churches today are known more for complaining and protesting than for authentic renewal. God will not allow his mission to fail. When believers like Hezekiah surrender to God’s purposes, he uses them to advance his kingdom. Hezekiah is a believer with a kingdom mindset – not just his own kingdom, but God’s.
How will I respond?
Am I more than just a complainer? Is my best energy reserved for serving and shining God’s light in the midst of cultural darkness, or for simply being a whining voice in the darkness? Where in my natural sphere of influence can I live Christ’s life with power and present a transformational model in business, education, the arts, science, family, medicine, etc.?