Hezekiah My Hero

Re-reading the life and times of Hezekiah has given me a fresh, more positive take on his reign – I’ve recently declared in church ‘Hezekiah is my new hero!’

There is far more to Hezekiah than initially meets the gaze. His reign concluded in a downfall caused by pride, when self-interest finally trumped and eclipsed a career of outstanding service. However, the bulk of his work was devoted to God’s glory, namely to purging the nation of false gods and to cleansing the church of images.

 

I’ve just finished reading through 1 & 2 Kings, in Hebrew, last Friday. For the sins of King Manasseh, the nation of Judah was finally thrust out into the judgment of Exile to Babylon.

Hezekianic Analysis

Some weeks ago I did a blog entitled ‘Humbling Hezekiahs’. I had been reminded at that time about the danger of pride in leaders, particularly after times of successes. Re-reading the life and times of Hezekiah has given me a fresh more positive take on his reign – I’ve recently declared in church ‘Hezekiah is my new hero!’

Hezekianic Text

The bit of the text by which I was struck like a thunderbolt was 2 Kings 18.3:

“And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that David, his father, had done. He removed the high places and broke down the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan).”

There is far more to Hezekiah than initially meets the gaze. His reign concluded in a downfall caused by pride, when self-interest finally trumped and eclipsed a career of outstanding service. However, the bulk of his work was devoted to God’s glory, namely to purging the nation of false gods and to cleansing the church of images.

It was this abomination of idolatry which most aroused the burning jealousy of Yahweh. Not only did Hezekiah give the LORD the exclusive dedication he demanded – obedience to the most weighty commandment of the ‘Shema’ Law to love the LORD His God with all His heart, soul and mind (Deuteronomy 6.4); nor simply, like great, great, great. great, etc.. grandfather David, was Hezekiah my Hero a king after God’s own heart; but far exceeding that, unlike any previous monarch, from the time of centralisation of worship in the Solomonic Temple in Zion, he removed, terminated, abolished and eradicated all the local high places where local Jews offered worship. Without any pity he demolished shrines of sin that had caused the church to stumble – and in one fell swoop he removed before God’s face every source of polluting provocation.

Hezekianic Motive

No doubt this was in obedience to His copy of the Deuteronomic Law received at His coronation. Yet this was also the duty in which each Israelite had a part: it seems Hezekiah must have been instructed in the study of Deuteronomy 12.1-7.

“These are the statutes and rules that you shall be careful to do in the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess all the days that you live on the earth. You shall surely destroy all the places where he nations whom you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. You shall tear down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and burn their Asherim with fire. You shall chop down the carved images of their gods and destroy their name out of tha place …But you shall seek the place that the LORD your God will choose out of all your tribes to put His Name and make His habitation there. There you shall go …there  you shall eat before the LORD your God, and your shall rejoice, you and your households in all that you undertake, in which the LORD your God has blessed you(emphases mine).

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