“A Cry of Dependence”
Scripture has many characters. The author of 2 Chronicles tells us how to feel about some of these characters before telling us about their story: “He did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord,” “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.” We are able to discern trends among the progression of leaders of Israel: Uzziah did right, won battles, became prideful, and was struck with leprosy by God (Ch. 26); his son Jotham was a good guy, but he stayed away from the temple (Ch. 27); Ahaz didn’t do what was right and worshiped pagan gods (Ch. 28)…and then we come to Hezekiah (Ch. 29). The Lord was with him, and he was determined to restore the nation. He brought in the Levites and priests and had them purify the temple (29:3-5). God is silent in the story until 30:20, when the temple has been purified, the nation has gathered to celebrate the Passover, and Hezekiah prays to God: “And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.”
The importance of prayer and God are notable in Hezekiah’s life. He lifts the eyes of the people back to God. When Sennacherib threatens the nation (32:1), Hezekiah assembles a small army, encouraging them with the presence of God, and the people gain confidence (32:6-8). When Sennacherib taunts the people (32:10-19), Hezekiah cries out to God, who sends an angel that wipes out Sennacherib’s army (32:20-21). At the end of his life, Hezekiah has a chance to become prideful but passes the test (32:25-26).
My enemies are not as blatant as his, but I often feel a push or attack on me about the responsibilities of being a good leader and a good spouse; also when I’m with a particular set of non-believing friends. My prayer life reflects this; my prayers become not so much a cry of dependence on God, but more like dinner table prayer. I want Hezekiah’s dependence on God, though there are no armies coming after me. I don’t want to be like the kings who succumbed to fear of man and pride and walked away from the worship laid out before them. I want to grasp onto Hezekiah’s encouragement: “Be strong and courageous…there is a greater power with us…” (32:7)