Sunday, July 19

Lessons from Hezekiah

Scripture: 2 Chronicles 29-31, James 4

2 Chronicles 30:10 The runners went from town to town throughout Ephraim and Manasseh and as far as the territory of Zebulun. But most of the people just laughed at the runners and made fun of them.

2 Chronicles 31:21 In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow God’s laws and commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result, he was very successful.

Observation/application

King Hezekiah succeeded his father, wicked King Ahaz, who had closed the temple, stopped worshiping the Lord and promoted idolatry, including offering child sacrifice.  Ahaz had led the nation of Judah far astray; Hezekiah led them back to God.   He cleansed, restored and reopened the temple, restarted worship at the temple led by the priests and Levites, and demolished the sites of idol worship.  He turned Judah back to the Lord—in a matter of weeks!  It’s a testimony to the power of leadership and the influence of one—in both directions, good and bad.  Be a leader for God and for good!

After restoring the temple, Hezekiah sent runners throughout Israel and Judah with a letter of invitation to come to Jerusalem and worship the Lord.  Israel was so far gone after centuries of idolatry that the runners were mocked and scorned by most (a few people came).  How sad that this nation that had once known the Lord now saw Him as a joke.  It’a a reminder of the long term corrosive influence of sin, that our hearts untended can grow hard and cynical.  This makes me pray for our nation—and for the Church (capital C—the American Church).  And I pray for me, for us: I never want to get there!  Guard your heart—stay close to God, humble and open.

Finally, I love the summary verse in 31:21.  In all that he did, Hezekiah sought the Lord with his whole heart and was successful.  Here’s a great lesson for spiritual leadership—whether at home, in church, or at work.  Be whole hearted for God—seek Him with all you have—and you’ll be successful.  Don’t try to do it on your own.  Seek Him!  Live God first, and He will give you success.

Prayer: Lord, help us to seek You first (Matthew 6:33) and with our whole hearts.  Help us to lead well because we follow You humbly.  Keep us from growing hard-hearted and cynical.