Friday, January 11, 2008

A Lesson From Hezekiah

19 Then said Hezekiah unto Isaiah, Good is the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken. And he said, Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days?
20 And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
21 And Hezekiah slept with his fathers: and Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.
1 ¶ Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hephzibah. (2 Kings 20:19-21:1)
Most people who are familiar with the Old Testament remember the story about how Isaiah the prophet came to Hezekiah, informed him that his death was imminent, and how Hezekiah's prayer brought about a reversal of plans...and of the sun! (2 Kings 20:1-11) Hezekiah was granted fifteen more years of life (he would live to be 54).

Although the Bible speaks of a number of righteous and faith-filled things which Hezekiah did before the age of 39, it is silent about good deeds in those final 15 years. The verses above us tell us a couple of things, though:
  • After the prophecy about Babylon, and how it would come and take his sons away to its palace (20:16-18), he seems rather ambivalent: "Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days?"
  • He had a son twelve years before his death.
Manasseh, described as exceptionally wicked in other passages, may have seen a father who had a reputation for being godly and righteous, but who was really ambivalent (in Manasseh's lifetime) to godly things. Perhaps he perceived his father as a spiritual hypocrite. We don't know for sure. But it certainly seems that Hezekiah had little-to-no impact spiritually on his least, not for good.

And therein lies a lesson for all of us fathers.

1 comment:

Roger said...

Very insightful insight, Ken. Something went wrong there. It's interesting to me that the Bible tells us that there he followed the Lord to such a degree that there was no one else like him before or after him. In spite of his righteousness, he tried to buy off the king of Assyria to no avail.

It's encouraging to me that a man with some obvious flaws can still receive the commendation of God.