Isaiah Lesson 7 Isaiah 36-39 Pastor Barry Bruce/ The Gathering
King Hezekiah (Short History)
The name Hezekiah means “YHWH (God) strengthens” or “The strength of YHWH (God)”. King Hezekiah was one of the few righteous kings to reign in the southern kingdom of Judah. You can read about him in 2 Kings 18-20, Isaiah 36-39, and 2 Chronicles 29-32. Isaiah, Hosea, and Micah all prophesied during his reign. Hezekiah tore down the high places (pagan temples and idols), destroyed the bronze serpent of Moses that the people had worshiped (2 Kings 18:3-5) all in the first year of his reign! He also cleansed the Temple, and called the divided Jews back together by restoring the observance of Passover.
King Hezekiah was the son of the wicked King Ahaz. (2 Kings 16) But his mother, Abi or Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah trained him in righteousness. When king Hezekiah died his son Manasseh became king and he did great evil in the sight of the Lord. He rebuilt all the idols his father removed and even sacrificed his own children to pagan gods. He eventually repented, but after he died his son Amon became king and also did great evil. Within two years Amon was assassinated and Hezekiah’s grandson, Josiah, became a good and righteous king like his grandfather was.
The Confidence of King Hezekiah Isaiah 36:4-7, 11-15, 37:1
We pick up the story of King Hezekiah in the “fourteenth year” of his reign. When the king of Assyria sent him a terrifying message via his messengers in front of the wall to his city (Assyrian armies had attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them). The king’s prideful message taunted Hezekiah and questioned who he was depending on against Assyria’s might. King Sennacerib thought Hezekiah was trusting in an alliance with Egypt or in the god’s of idols that he had removed thirteen years earlier, but Hezekiah’s hope was in the Lord. Hezekiah’s men asked the messenger to deliver the message in Aramaic so that those Jews gathered on the wall could not understand the threat but the field commander shouted out the message in Hebrew in order to alarm the inhabitants of the city. He began by telling them that they would be forced to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine. Like the Devil, the Assyrian’s used fear to persuade surrender. Hezekiah was fearful, but in his fear he sought the Lord. What do you do with your fear?
FEAR Proverbs 111:10, James 4:7, Ephesians 6:11, 2 Timothy 1:7
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!” Franklin D. Roosevelt
By saying this at his first inaugural address in 1933, FDR was telling the American people that their fear was making things worse. He went on to say, “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” By running to the banks and taking their money out Americans were causing more damage to the economy. When we act impulsively on fear it always makes things worse. When we fear (respect) God and follow His laws we resist the Devil and stand in defiance to him. When we love God we put on His armor and He gives us His power and self-control. Then, and only then, will the Devil flee along with his armies of hell! Hezekiah was scared enough to rip his garments in anguish at the announcement from the king of Assyria, but he knew where to go with his concerns and he believed that his God would deliver him and his people.
Prayer and Insolence Isaiah 37:5-7, 10-11, 14-20 , 21b, Matthew 7:6-8,
Isaiah 37:26-29, 36-38
When we stand up against the Devil we should never expect him to just turn tail and run! Likely there will be a face off, and so it was with Hezekiah. Isaiah gave Hezekiah a “good” promise from the Lord (37:5-7) but the nasty king of Assyria sent more messengers to Hezekiah with new threats that ridiculed him and his God (37:10-11). Hezekiah prays again…this time on his face! The Devil always mixes truth with a lie…and so do his people. It was true that no gods had prevailed against Assyria’s attacks; however, in prayer, rather than panic, Hezekiah realizes that their gods were only wood and stone. YHWH is the only one true and living God! (37:15-20)
God also made it clear that the reason He was going to execute judgment on the prideful and arrogant king was because Hezekiah prayed (37:21b). Prayer changes things. So why wait so long before we engage in it? No prayer—no power! Jesus said to ask, to seek and to knock. The knocking part is the persistence and the self-control of praying.
Just as God told Hezekiah why He would be answering his prayer, He tells Hezekiah why the king of Assyria is about ready to be drawn like a magnet to his home country and slaughtered. “Because you rage against me and because your insolence (rude and disrespectful behavior) has reached my ears”. A fool says in his heart there is no God. Psalm 14:1 The King of Assyria was a fool and he died like one: worshipping a false god in a cursed temple and slaughtered by his own sons for the greed of succeeding him as king.
“Good” Isaiah 38:1-2,7-8, 21, 39:6-8 James 5:16, Romans 8:28
God was moving on with His plan to destroy Assyria and to drive His rebellious children into Babylonian captivity. Despite Hezekiah’s “good” reign as king the people he reigned over were unfaithful and needed to be disciplined. God would take Hezekiah home and judgment would commence, but Hezekiah prayed for healing so God granted him15 years of peace and prosperity demonstrated by his own shadow falling ten steps behind him. Thus, there was a blessing to a people that deserved a curse. See why we should vote for God fearing leaders? (So what’s happening in America?)
God’s plan of judgment would come in 15 years and He revealed that plan to Hezekiah. “Good” was the kings response. “Good” because Hezekiah understood that no one is “good” but God alone (Mark 10:18) and what He has declared will be as it is regardless of man’s attempts… accept through prayer and faithfulness. And for these “all things do work together for “good”. Romans 8:28