“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. He held fast to the Lord and did not cease to follow 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 18:5-7)
Based on the verses above, it would be easy to get the false impression that life for Hezekiah and his kingdom was a proverbial bowl of cherries. After all, “the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.” How could we expect anything less than a peaceful, prosperous golden age under such a leader?
Hezekiah certainly was successful in all that he did, and the Lord most certainly was with him. But we sometimes define success differently than the Lord does. Hezekiah was tried and tested constantly throughout his reign, making his faithfulness to the Lord even greater. He was forced to deal with the consequences of his father’s sinful and rebellious actions. His kingdom was attacked repeatedly, since in his allegiance to God alone he cast off the yoke of tribute to the surrounding kings. Judah was plagued by severe economic woes brought on by years of corruption and heavy taxation. The people were entrenched in pagan practices and idol worship. And Hezekiah himself was afflicted with a terrible illness, suffering agonizing symptoms until he came to the point of almost certain death.
When we look at this portrait of Hezekiah’s life, it seems at first glance as if God really wasn’t with Hezekiah at all, but rather against him. Why would God let such a good and faithful servant-leader suffer such things? But the truth is there was no other king quite like Hezekiah because of the very fact that Hezekiah faced such awful tribulations and yet remained firmly rooted in his faith. He trusted God to deliver him from each of these troubles, and God was faithful to do so. Though tempted to “take matters into his own hands,” Hezekiah repeatedly turns to God, putting his own human wisdom aside and placing his faith in the Word of the Lord. God faithfully saves Hezekiah time and again, bringing success and prosperity to the country, miraculously slaying 185,000 Assyrian soldiers without a single warrior of Judah raising a weapon, and even reverting the prophesy of Isaiah by bringing life and healing to the dying king.
What greater measure of success could there be than faithfully abiding in God’s promises despite the sorest affliction? For this, God honored Hezekiah with earthly distinction above all other kings. We, like Hezekiah, must never fail to put our trust in God alone for our salvation as we struggle against our own doubt, despair, and unbelief. To do so is to honor God, and He in return promises an eternal reward.
“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10)
Prayer: Lord God, I thank You that just as you delivered Hezekiah from all his enemies, so too have You delivered me from sin, death, and the Devil, through the death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ, my Lord. Grant me strength to honor You by faithfully trusting in His victory throughout all of life’s trials, by His grace. Amen.