It’s about time for another installment in the “Five Reasons to Love…” series! So today I bring to you…
Five reasons to love King Hezekiah.
King Hezekiah is definitely one of my top favorite Bible characters. He was such a good king, such a ray of light and hope in the midst of demonic rulers (including his own father). I’m so excited to talk about him in this post. So let’s begin!
Who was King Hezekiah?
Hezekiah, king of Judah, was heir to the throne by his father Ahaz.
King Ahaz was an extremely evil king, like most of the rulers of Judea during this time. In fact, Ahaz was so evil that he even sacrificed his own children to the pagan god Molech by burning them in literal fire. Through God’s mercy, Hezekiah escaped his father’s murderous hand, although the Bible does not tell us how this came about.
After the death of Ahaz, his son Hezekiah ruled in Jerusalem in his place. Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he was king for twenty-nine years. During these twenty-nine years, God’s people belonged to a kind, reverent, and unselfish king.
The Bible immediately tells us of the strength, virtue, and nobility of Hezekiah’s character:
And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done.– 2 Chronicles 29:2
So here are five reasons to love King Hezekiah.
1. He condemned his father’s actions and led Judah away from Ahaz’s cruelty.
The satanical character of Hezekiah’s father, Ahaz, is beyond description.
The Bible gives a harrowing account of Ahaz’s horrifying actions:
And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as his father David had done, but he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel. He even made metal images for the Baals, and he made offerings in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom and burned his sons as an offering, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel. And he sacrificed and made offerings on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree.– 2 Chronicles 28:1-4
In the time of his distress he became yet more faithless to the Lord—this same King Ahaz. For he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus that had defeated him and said, “Because the gods of the kings of Syria helped them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me.” But they were the ruin of him and of all Israel. And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and he shut up the doors of the house of the Lord, and he made himself altars in every corner of Jerusalem. In every city of Judah he made high places to make offerings to other gods, provoking to anger the Lord, the God of his fathers.– 2 Chronicles 28:22-25
It’s hard to imagine someone as wicked as this. And now try to imagine that wicked person is your very own father.
It’s almost unbelievable that with a father like this, Hezekiah became Judah’s godliest king, as godly as King David. Why? Why didn’t he become like his father, as it is so common for children to become like their parents?
Hezekiah did not become like his father because Hezekiah chose good.
Hezekiah’s father was this greedy, Satan-possessed man. But Hezekiah chose not to become like him. He chose to give his life to God, his true Father, and devote himself to God, as God’s true son. He condemned what his father had done, and he led Judah with compassionate authority. This is a wonderful example to all of us that we never have to follow the example of evildoers, even if those evildoers are our parents. Following God, our true Parent, is our own choice.
You can easily come to tears reading what Hezekiah did as soon as he became king:
In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them. He brought in the priests and the Levites and assembled them in the square on the east and said to them, “Hear me, Levites! Now consecrate yourselves, and consecrate the house of the Lord, the God of your fathers, and carry out the filth from the Holy Place. For our fathers have been unfaithful and have done what was evil in the sight of the Lord our God. They have forsaken him and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the Lord and turned their backs. They also shut the doors of the vestibule and put out the lamps and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the Holy Place to the God of Israel. Therefore the wrath of the Lord came on Judah and Jerusalem, and he has made them an object of horror, of astonishment, and of hissing, as you see with your own eyes. For behold, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this. Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel, in order that his fierce anger may turn away from us. My sons, do not now be negligent, for the Lord has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him and to be his ministers and make offerings to him.”– 2 Chronicles 29:3-11
Hezekiah charged his kingdom not to become like their former rulers:
“Do not be like your fathers and your brothers, who were faithless to the Lord God of their fathers, so that he made them a desolation, as you see…. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him.”– 2 Chronicles 30:7, 2 Chronicles 30:9
2. He taught his people to rejoice and sing.
Anyone who thinks being a Christian is not joyful should learn from King Hezekiah.
When Hezekiah restored the temple worship which his father had destroyed, he didn’t focus only on the burnt offerings, sin offerings, and the duties of the priests. He found it equally important to guide the people in things such as this:
And he stationed the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, harps, and lyres, according to the commandment of David and of Gad the king’s seer and of Nathan the prophet, for the commandment was from the Lord through his prophets. The Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. Then Hezekiah commanded that the burnt offering be offered on the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song to the Lord began also, and the trumpets, accompanied by the instruments of David king of Israel. The whole assembly worshiped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded. All this continued until the burnt offering was finished. When the offering was finished, the king and all who were present with him bowed themselves and worshiped. And Hezekiah the king and the officials commanded the Levites to sing praises to the Lord with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed down and worshiped.– 2 Chronicles 29:25-30
Hezekiah was a good king not only because he was benevolent to his people, but because he taught his people to be happy. He taught them to rejoice and sing.
3. He was courageous through terrible persecution.
After all the good things Hezekiah had done for God, guess what happened? Not everyone appreciated the good and godly king of Judah.
Sennacherib, king of Assyria, invaded Judah and intended to conquer God’s people. The situation was dire, but as usual, Hezekiah gave the people compassionate words of encouragement. He assured them that God would come through for them (2 Chronicles 32:7-8). This is remarkable in itself that Hezekiah trusted in God even while his kingdom was being invaded, but there is still more!
While besieging Lachish, Sennacherib sent his servants to revile Hezekiah in front of his face and in front of all his people. Think about this. They did it right to Hezekiah’s face. And they did it right to all the people of Judah who were in Jerusalem. They said horrible things about Hezekiah and the God he loved. They mocked Hezekiah for his faith and tried to seduce the people into rejecting their king – and their God.
The servants accused Hezekiah of misleading the people, so that he could give them over to die of starvation and thirst (2 Chronicles 32:11). They told the people they should not believe Hezekiah, because he was trying to do them harm by encouraging them to trust God (32:15).
“And his [Sennacherib’s] servants said still more against the Lord God and against his servant Hezekiah” (32:16).
Adding insult to injury, Sennacherib sent Hezekiah a series of scathing letters in which the king of Assyria said still more against Hezekiah and his faith.
I think we can all agree this is terrible. There is no one among us who would enjoy being mocked and reviled for our faith and hearing our God blasphemed, all while our kingdom is under invasion. But look at what happens next.
Then Hezekiah the king and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, prayed because of this and cried to heaven. And the Lord sent an angel, who cut off all the mighty warriors and commanders and officers in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he came into the house of his god, some of his own sons struck him down there with the sword. So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all his enemies, and he provided for them on every side. And many brought gifts to the Lord to Jerusalem and precious things to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations from that time onward.– 2 Chronicles 32:20-23
Wow. Hezekiah remained courageous through all this persecution. The prideful Sennacherib was shamed and killed by his own sons, and the humble and faithful Hezekiah was delivered and exalted. “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12).
4. He was a man of prayer.
While reading the account of Hezekiah’s life, the one thing that stands out most to me is the frequent mention of his prayers. It’s obvious that Hezekiah was a man of prayer – he did it all the time. We could all learn from this. (See 2 Chron 30:18-20, 31:21, 2 Kings 19:14-19 for examples.)
2 Kings 20:1-3 relates a dark time in Hezekiah’s life.
Hezekiah became so sick that he lay in a dying state. The prophet Isaiah came to tell him that he would never rise from his bed: “Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover” (2 Kings 20:1).
That’s depressing, isn’t it? I mean, to be that sick in the first place is the worst. Then to be told that this illness will take your life very soon? What would be your response?
This was Hezekiah’s: he prayed. And his prayer is an anguished, beautiful prayer.
Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, saying, “Now, O Lord, please remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.– 2 Kings 20:2-3
Now see God’s response.
And before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: “Turn back, and say to Hezekiah the leader of my people, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you.”– 2 Kings 20:4-5
I love how Hezekiah prayed in his anguish – reverently and faithfully. As a result, God healed him. This is a beautiful reminder that trusting God will get us far in life. Although he may not always answer the way we want, he always, always answers. He always hears and answers, the way he heard and answered Hezekiah.
5. He was humble and repentant when he did wrong.
After Hezekiah became well, there was a season during which he forgot the God who had healed him.
But Hezekiah did not make return according to the benefit done to him, for his heart was proud.– 2 Chronicles 32:25a
As a result:
Therefore wrath came upon him and Judah and Jerusalem.– 2 Chronicles 32:25b
Did Hezekiah cling to his pride after he saw the consequences of it? No. He realized that he had done something very wrong, and he repented of his sin. With humility he pleaded with God for forgiveness, and led his people to do the same:
But Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah.– 2 Chronicles 32:26
Because Hezekiah repented:
And Hezekiah had very great riches and honor…. for God had given him very great possessions…. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works.– 2 Chronicles 32:27, 2 Chronicles 32:29, 2 Chronicles 32:30
We can all learn from Hezekiah’s humble repentance. When we do wrong, all we have to do is ask for forgiveness. God will always forgive with all his heart – because he loves us.
Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah and his good deeds, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the upper part of the tombs of the sons of David, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honor at his death.– 2 Chronicles 32:32-33
Hezekiah deserved to be given honor, because he did good. He truly loved his people, and he loved God above all. He shared the heart of God in every way.
Hezekiah is a person we should each strive to be like. I love Hezekiah because of his kindness, his benevolence, his love, his joy, his prayers, his humility, his repentance, his courage. He taught Judah to follow Christ – he led by example.
May we all lead by example. We may not be kings like Hezekiah, but there are always people watching us. And we have the power to change their lives.
Will we be like Hezekiah and use that power righteously, so that the world will honor the Lion of Judah?
I pray we will.
I hope you guys enjoyed this post! Definitely comment and tell me your thoughts on it. Are there any reasons you love King Hezekiah which I didn’t include? And how is everyone doing? I love hearing from y’all!
You know the drill – eat, pray, write, repeat!