By Christina M Wilson. Previously published at https://justonesmallvoice.com/hezekiahs-pride-part-3-isaiah-devotional-journal-83/.
2 Chronicles 32 Septuagint Modernized NETS
Hezekiah-Part Eight: Whole-hearted Obedience
Scripture supplies a full picture of King Hezekiah’s spiritual testing. The theme of this portion of Isaiah concerning good King Hezekiah is to explain how a godly man fell to his pride. There are three areas which Scripture fully develops in the reign of Hezekiah as king of Judah.
- duties in the realm of worship
- military leadership
- personal life
The last post covered the topic of worship (Journal 82). Hezekiah faithfully performed the duties of King in the realm of worship. He organized the Levites and priests. He reinstated the Passover according to the law of Moses. Finally, he organized and oversaw the collection, storage, and distribution of tithes and offerings. He did all this faithfully with a whole heart. The result was a wonderful joy throughout the land.
This post will present Hezekiah’s whole-hearted faithfulness in the realm of military leadership.
II Hezekiah and Military Leadership
A Matter of Timing
King Hezekiah proved faithful to the Lord in the area of military leadership. The timing of the attack by the Assyrians claims our attention. Hezekiah had just proved his faithful devotion to God in the area of leading the nation in worship. He had performed many righteous deeds (Journal 82). Scripture attests to his great faithfulness.
2 Chronicles 31:20 Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right before the Lord his God. 21 And in every task he undertook in the service of the house of God, he sought his God in the law and in the commandment with all his heart. so he prospered. (SAAS, LXE) (1)
Scripture then calls attention to the timing of the Lord with the very next verse.
2 Chronicles 32:1 After these things and this faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came to Judah and encamped against the fortified cities, thinking to capture them. (SAAS, LXE) (1)
We learn several lessons from this.
- The timing of the Lord is not always what we ourselves might desire.
- Righteous people will be tested.
- Spiritual attacks often follow spiritual successes.
Hezekiah first responded by consulting with his leaders and commanders (2 Chronicles 32:2-3). He belonged to a group of like-minded people he trusted. He did not say, “Only I can fix this.” He did not act alone. In this Hezekiah displayed a very wise humility. Together he and his counsellors arrived at a plan to “stop the water from the springs outside the city, and they helped him.” (SAAS)
Second, the king “gathered many people (verse 4).” These workers completed the plan to cut off the water supply of the king of Assyria.
Third, he “strengthened himself (verse 5).” In this strength he performed many building activities to fortify the city of Jerusalem. He also made many weapons.
Fourth, he organized military captains over the people. These he gathered to himself and he strengthened them. He encouraged them to trust in the faithfulness of the Lord.
2 Chronicles 32:7 Be strong and courageous, and fear not, neither be dismayed before the king of Assyria, and before all the nation that is with him: for there are more with us than with him. 8 With him are arms of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to save us, and to fight our battle. And the people were encouraged at the words of Hezekiah king of Judah. (CAB, LXE)
Success as a Leader
Hezekiah warrants respect as a great leader in an extremely stressful situation. The response of the people under his command indicates his level of success. They trusted in Hezekiah their king and in his God (2 Chronicles 32:9-19; Isaiah 36:21). Sennacherib, the Assyrian enemy, threw out insults to the people gathered on the wall above him. He taunted them with offensive words concerning their king and concerning God in whom they trusted. But, following Hezekiah’s orders, “they held their peace and answered him not a word, because of the king’s commandment not to answer him (Isaiah 36:21).” This amazing self-restraint reflects their confidence in and approval of their leader.
Preparation and Prayer
The king Hezekiah, his co-leaders, and the people had prepared the city well. In the last resort, however, Hezekiah prayed. The situation was dire. Israel to the north had fallen, the outlying regions and cities of Judah had fallen, and all the nations the Assyrians had invaded fell before them (2 Chronicles 32:13-14; Isaiah 36:18-20). What was the city of Jerusalem that it should withstand the might of the entire Assyrian empire and army? Hezekiah knew this, and he prayed.
Isaiah 37:1 And it came to pass, when King Hezekiah heard it, that he tore his clothes, and put on sackcloth, and went up to the house of the Lord. 2 And he sent Eliakim the steward, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests clothed with sackcloth, to Isaiah the son of Amoz, the prophet… (CAB, LXE)
Scripture records one of Hezekiah’s prayers. Notice how the king trusts and depends upon the Lord alone.
Isaiah 37:16 O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, who sits upon the cherubim, You alone are the God of every kingdom of the world; You have made heaven and earth. 17 Incline Your ear, O Lord, hearken, O Lord; open Your eyes, O Lord, look, O Lord; and behold the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. 18 For truly, Lord, the kings of the Assyrians have laid waste the whole world, and the countries thereof, 19 and have cast their idols into the fire; for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone; and they have cast them away. 20 But now, O Lord our God, deliver us from his hands, that every kingdom of the earth may know that You alone are God. (CAB, LXE)
Hezekiah Passed His Test
God answered Hezekiah’s prayer. With a great and astounding miracle, God alone turned back the Assyrian invaders from the lone city of Jerusalem.
Isaiah 37:35 I will protect this city to save it for My own sake, and for My servant David’s sake. 36 And the angel of the Lord went forth, and killed out of the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and eighty-five thousand; and they arose in the morning and found all these bodies dead. 37 And Sennacherib king of the Assyrians turned and departed, and dwelt in Nineveh. 38… his sons smote him with swords… and Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place. (CAB, LXE)
Hezekiah had passed his test. He demonstrated that he himself remained faithful to God under the life-threatening attack of the enemy. He further displayed great leadership skills, because the people followed his example of faith. In all this, the king remained humble in his heart. He bowed down before the Lord and trusted in him alone to save the beloved city, his kingdom.
Scripture has not yet finished the biography of good King Hezekiah. His testings have not yet ended. So far, God has proved the faithful character of Hezekiah’s heart in the areas of personal worship and leadership in battle. Next, God will test the king in the area of his personal health. Hezekiah becomes sick unto death.
To be continued…
1 “Scripture taken from the St. Athanasius Academy SeptuagintTM. Copyright © 2008 by St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”