A Devotional Journey
led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year
It is now 729 B.C. and Hezekiah becomes king of Judah
. Described as a man who did what was right in the eyes of the LORD
and who trusted God
, Hezekiah receives the unique compliment that There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.
Not only did Hezekiah refuse to pay any more tribute to Assyria
(which had already deported the northern tribes of Israel into exile, but he reconquered the Philistines, who had reasserted themselves during the rule of King Ahaz (735 B.C.).
In his notes to the NIV Study Bible
(p. 466), J. Robert Vannoy explains that:
“By integrating Biblical data with those derived from Assyrian chronological records, the year 853 B.C. can be fixed as the year of Ahab=s death, and the year 841 as the year Jehu began to reign. The years in which Ahab and Jehu had contacts with Shalmaneser III of Assyria can also be given definite dates (... based on an Assyrian
reference to a solar eclipse). With these fixed points, it is then possible...to give dates for each king. By the same means, it can be determined that the division of the kingdom occurred in 930, that Samaria fell to the Assyrians in 722-721 and that Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians in 586.”
Hezekiah receives a messenger from the Assyrian army
threatening utter destruction of Jerusalem and the rest of the country if submission is not immediate, but strengthened by the words of the prophet Isaiah, as well as his own prayer, the king refuses, and in response to his faithfulness, the angel of the LORD visited the Assyrians with a great plague and their army had to withdraw.
As he suffers from a deadly illness, God adds fifteen years to Hezekiah=s life
(20:6) in answer to the king=s prayers. He is followed by two kings, Manasseh and Amon who reestablish idolatry, child sacrifice, and occult practices among God=s people.
Even though Hezekiah faced some severe dangers and challenges in his lifetime,
God blessed him. Do you ever look at your own circumstances and wonder
if God cares what is going on? It is clear from the records in Samuel, Kings and Chronicles
that He does, and that He acts in support of what is right. It is also clear that even those
who find favor with Him are not spared from the pain, personal tragedy and emotional turmoil that is part of human existence.
We are not deserted by God when troubles come
; on the contrary, He often uses them to demonstrate His love. Today, keep that in mind whatever you face. Give your problem to God in faith; trust Him with the outcomes and over time you will see how He cares.
A. Eugene Pearson 2011