The Story of Hezekiah
Hezekiah was 25 years old when he became king of Judah. He was a good king and did the things that God says are right just like his ancestor, King David did. He took away all the shrines and places of worship of the false gods that people had been worshiping. He trusted in the Lord so much so that there was no other king like him either before or after his time. He held on tight to the Lord and never stopped following Him and doing His commands. God was with Hezekiah and caused him to be successful everywhere he went.
Now, fourteen years after Hezekiah became king, an enemy king named Sennacherib came against Judah. Sennacherib demanded that Hezekiah pay him 11 tons of silver and 1 ton of gold. To get that much, Hezekiah had to take all the silver from the temple of the Lord and take all the gold off the doors. Even after Hezekiah paid him, Sennacherib sent one of his chief officers to give Hezekiah and the people of Judah this message:
“What are you trusting in that makes you so confident? Do you think that mere words can help you in war? Are you trusting in Egypt? Egypt is unreliable! Or are you trusting in the Lord? Do not let Hezekiah trick you into trusting the Lord by saying, ‘The Lord will surely save us and Sennacherib will not defeat us!’ Do not listen to your, king but instead, come and make peace with me and I will take you to a better land. Do not listen to Hezekiah when he says, ‘God will save us!’ Every country we have taken over had their own god, but none of them were able to save them. What makes you think your God can deliver you out of my hand?”
Nobody answered the officer because Hezekiah told them not to. They went back to Hezekiah and told them all the things that the enemy said.
As soon as Hezekiah heard about it he went into the temple of God and mourned. Then he sent some people to Isaiah the prophet. They told Isaiah everything that happened. Then Isaiah answered, “Tell Hezekiah that this is what the Lord says: ‘Do not be afraid. I will make Sennacherib go back to his own land and there he will die.'”
After this, the chief officer went back to talk with Sennacherib. There was a battle happening in another place and the enemy king decided to go back to his land but first sent the chief officer back to Hezekiah with another message. This time the message was:
“Do not let your God who you trust trick you by promising that your land will not be given to Sennacherib. You have heard how we have destroyed all the lands around you and none of their gods were able to help.”
When Hezekiah heard this message he went in to the temple again and placed the message before the Lord and prayed: “O Lord God, you are God alone of all the kingdoms of the earth. It is you who made the heavens and the earth. Open your ears to hear our prayer, O Lord, and open your eyes to see what Sennacherib has said to us mocking you! It is true that they destroyed the gods of those other nations because they were not gods at all but mere statues that were made by men. So now, Lord, save us please! Save us so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, and you alone, are God!”
Then Isaiah sent a message to Hezekiah to tell him that God heard his prayer. God said, “I will defend your city and I will save it for the sake of your ancestor, King David.”
That very night, the angel of the Lord went out and killed 185,000 people of Sennacherib’s army. Sennacherib went back to his home and while he was worshiping his god, his own sons killed him.
Around this time Hezekiah got sick and was going to die. Isaiah the prophet came to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Get ready, for it is time for you to die. You will not recover from this sickness.” But Hezekiah said, “O Lord, please remember how I have walked before you and been faithful with my whole heart and have done what is good in your sight!” Then Hezekiah wept and cried. Before Isaiah left, while he was leaving, the Lord told him to go back to Hezekiah and say, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you and add 15 years to your life and continue to keep you safe from your enemies.”
Soon after this, the king of Babylon sent messengers with letters and presents for Hezekiah since he knew that Hezekiah had been sick. And Hezekiah welcomed them and showed them all the treasure in his house–all the silver, all the gold, all the spices, oils, and storehouses. There was not anything that Hezekiah did not show to them. But afterward, Isaiah the prophet came to Hezekiah and said, “What did those men want? Where did they come from?” And Hezekiah said, “They came all the way from Babylon!” Isaiah asked, “What did they see in your house?” Hezekiah answered, “They have seen everything. There is not anything that I did not show to them.”
Then Isaiah said, “Hear what God has to say: ‘The time is coming when everything you own and all that your ancestors have stored up until now will be carried away to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord. And some of your own sons will be taken away and made personal slaves to the king of Babylon.” Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What God says is good.” Hezekiah was thinking, “At least there will be peace while I am alive.”
“Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”
“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.”