Heroes of the Bible

Pandemic Wisdom—Hezekiah

Prior to the invasion of Judah and Jerusalem by the Assyrians, King Hezekiah did many things to prepare. (2 Chronicles 32:2-8). Most notably, Hezekiah purified the worship of the LORD. And he centralized the worship of the LORD in the Temple in Jerusalem. (2 Kings 18:3-4,22; 2 Chronicles 29:3-31:21). In our lives, we’re not called upon to centralize the worship of the LORD in a geographical place. (See my blogs listed below on the theme “Places of Worship”). Instead, we are called upon to purify the worship of the LORD by worshiping in Spirit and in Truth. (John 4:19-24). We are called upon to establish the Way of Jesus as the center our lives, our churches, our families, our businesses, our nations, and our civilizations.

Recently, I heard more bad news. I don’t remember exactly which piece of bad news I heard. Or doomscrolled. There’s been so much bad news!

The following verse came to my mind: “After all that Hezekiah had so faithfully done, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah.” (2 Chronicles 32:1 (emphasis added)).

I felt the kind of angst and frustration that Hezekiah must have felt. Despite all we’ve done to fight Covid during the past year, COVID is still “invading” our lives, our churches, our families, our businesses, our nations, and our civilizations.

After all!

The kingdom of Judah (including Jerusalem and its Temple) was all that remained of Israel because the Assyrians had conquered the northern half of Israel. (2 Kings 18:9-12; 17:3-23).

Prior to the invasion of Judah and Jerusalem by the Assyrians, King Hezekiah did many things to prepare. (2 Chronicles 32:2-8).

Most notably, Hezekiah purified the worship of the LORD. And he centralized the worship of the LORD in the Temple in Jerusalem. (2 Kings 18:3-4,22; 2 Chronicles 29:3-31:21).

In our lives, we’re not called upon to centralize the worship of the LORD in a geographical place. (See my blogs listed below on the theme “Places of Worship”).

Instead, we are called upon to purify the worship of the LORD by worshiping in Spirit and in Truth. (John 4:19-24).

We are called upon to establish the Way of Jesus as the center our lives, our churches, our families, our businesses, our nations, and our civilizations. (Matthew 28:18-20).

We purify our worship and follow the Way of Jesus because we love the LORD our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength and with all our mind. And because we want to do for others what we want them to do for us. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:37-40).

We are motivated—or at least we should be motivated—by our love for the LORD our God.

We must not be motivated by a desire to manipulate the LORD our God.

Such selfish desires lead us to follow wide, easy, tempting paths that deliver us to evil, and that lead to the destruction of our lives, our churches, our families, our businesses, our nations, and our civilizations. (Matthew 7:13).

Furthermore, no matter how hard we try to manipulate God, we are not able to manipulate God.

Why?

Because there is always a difficult time when “rains” come, “streams” rise, and “winds” blow and beat on our lives, our churches, our families, our businesses, our nations, and our civilizations. There is always a difficult time of testing that reveals whether or not we’ve put the words of Jesus into practice. (Matthew 7:24-27).

There is always another invasion of misfortune or evil into our lives, our churches, our families, our businesses, our nations, and our civilizations. (Revelation 20:7-8).

King Hezekiah’s response to the bad news about the Assyrian invasion of Judah and Jerusalem is a perfect example of how to overcome misfortunes and evils through a combination of wisdom, work, and the Power of Prayer.

Hezekiah wisely made it hard for the Assyrian army to find water in the hot, dry country they were invading. (2 Chronicles 32:2-4).

Hezekiah worked hard to improve his military defenses. (2 Chronicles 32:5-8).

Hezekiah prayed, “Now, LORD our God, deliver us from [the] hand [of the king of Assyria], so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, LORD, are God.” (2 Kings 19:19).

The applicable principles of wisdom and the specific kinds of hard work will differ as different misfortunes and evils arise.

But the Power of Prayer remains the same regardless of the misfortunes and evils that arise. We must always pray for the wisdom to discern:

—our need to respect the sacred, holy name of the LORD;

—our need to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth;

—our need to follow the will of the LORD on earth as it is in heaven;

—our need to be given our daily bread;

—our need to be forgiven;

—our need to forgive others;

—our need to stay away from temptations; and

—our need to be delivered from evils. (Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4).

The Power of Prayer is NOT the power to manipulate God. The Power of Prayer is NOT permission to test God. (Deuteronomy 6:16; Matthew 4:7).

Nevertheless, in God’s good time and in God’s good way, our prayers will be answered, if we sincerely seek the wisdom to purify our worship of the LORD in Spirit and in Truth, and if we sincerely seek the wisdom to establish the Way of Jesus as the center our lives, our churches, our families, our businesses, our nations, and our civilizations. (James 1:5; 1 John 5:14).

And so, in God’s good time and in God’s good way, he granted Hezekiah’s prayer for the deliverance of Jerusalem and its Temple.

As Hezekiah asked, all Humanity saw that the LORD our God is the only God!

All other “gods”—the Power of Money, the Power of Religion, and the Power of the Kingdoms of the World—will fail.

They are only “the work of human hands.” (2 Chronicles 32:19). Their broad, easy, tempting paths lead us to destruction—even if we are as rich, as feared, and as powerful as Sennacherib, the King of the Assyrians.

How did God use Hezekiah’s wisdom and hard work to destroy this invasion of misfortune and evil?

Pestilence struck the Assyrian army! Disease ravaged the Assyrians because Hezekiah’s wisdom and hard work deprived the Assyrians of clean drinking water.

As the Bible describes it:

“King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah . . . cried out to heaven . . .. And the LORD sent an angel, who annihilated all the fighting men and the commanders and officers in the camp of the Assyrian king. So he withdrew to his own land in disgrace.” (2 Chronicles 32:20-21). . . . .

“So the LORD saved Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all the others. . . . . From then on [Hezekiah] was highly regarded by all the nations.” (2 Chronicles 32:22-23).

In God’s good time and in God’s good way, Hezekiah overcame all misfortunes and evils.

After all!!!

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To learn more about “Places of Worship”, please read my blogs “Places of Worship—Rainbows”, “Places of Worship—Stone Pillows”, “Places of Worship—Crossing Streams”, “Places of Worship—Burning Bushes”, “Places of Worship—Seeing and Hearing”, “Places of Worship—Following the Way of Jesus”, “Places of Worship—Spirit and Truth”, “Places of Worship—Wanting To Get Well”, “Places of Worship—Praying and Singing Hymns in ‘Prisons’”, and “Places of Worship—Earthquakes”.

To learn more about building the Temple, please read my blogs “Building the Temple—Moses”, “Building the Temple—David”, “Building the Temple—Isaiah”, “Building the Temple—Herod the Great”, “Building the Temple—Jesus”, “Building the Temple—Paul”, “Building the Temple—Peter”, and “Building the Temple: the Word”.

To learn more about King Hezekiah and the Prophet Isaiah, and about the Assyrians and the Babylonians, please read the chapters “Isaiah’s Vision”,  “The LORD Saves Jerusalem From Assyria”, “Hezekiah Foolishly Welcomes the Babylonians”, and “Jerusalem Is Destroyed by the Babylonians” in my book Healing the Promised Land, at pages 239-292.

For more Pandemic Wisdom, please read my blogs “Pandemic Wisdom: Straining at the Oars”, “Pandemic Wisdom: Meditating”, “Fear Not the Pestilence That Stalks in the Darkness”,  Holding Your Hand, Hearing Your Voice”, “Pandemic Wisdom: The Faith of My Father”, “The Baby Jesus ‘Vaccine’ Is Coming”, “Irresistible Hurricanes of the Holy Spirit”, “Pandemic Wisdom: Feeding Multitudes”, “Pandemic Wisdom: Multiple Choice Exams & No-Win-Scenarios”, “Trusting the LORD Will Provide”, “Getting Out of Your Tent”, “LORD Willing”, “Pandemic Wisdom: Visions of America”, “Pandemic Wisdom: Hear and See, Understand and Perceive”, “Pandemic Wisdom: Praying and Waiting”, and “Pandemic Wisdom: Festive Throngs”.