2 Kings 18:1
In the third year of the reign of Hoshea son of Elah over Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz became king of Judah.
Hezekiah the GoodJ. Orr 2 Kings 18:1-8
The Secret of a Successful Fife; Or, Trust in God, and its ResultsC.H. Irwin 2 Kings 18:1-8
A Just Ruler a Type of GodT. De Witt Talmage.2 Kings 18:1-37
A Striking ReformationDavid Thomas, D. D.2 Kings 18:1-37
A Striking Reformation, a Ruthless Despotism, and an Unprincipled DiplomacyC.H. Irwin 2 Kings 18:1-37
Hezekiah's Good ReignMonday Club Sermons2 Kings 18:1-37
Hezekiah's Good ReignR. W. Keighley.2 Kings 18:1-37
The Religious -- the Greatest of Reforms2 Kings 18:1-37
The Spiritual Scores Successes2 Kings 18:1-37

What a refreshing contrast to some of the lives we have been considering, is this description of the life of Hezekiah! How pleasant it is to read of such a life as his, after we have read of so many kings of Judah and Israel, that "they did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin"! It is a pleasant contrast even to the life of Hezekiah's own father Ahaz. It is a somewhat strange thing that, brought up amid such evil surroundings, Hezekiah should have turned out so well. The chances were all against him. His father's example was anything but favorable to the development of religion in his son. How careful parents should be as to the example they set their children! The best help parents can give their children to begin life with is godly training and a Christian example. I read lately, "that of the anarchists at Chicago, who were executed for their crimes some time ago, almost all had either been deprived of their parents when young, or had never received any home training; they had never been to a Sunday school; the influences surrounding them had been utterly godless." What a responsibility rests on parents to train their children well! Much of their future happiness depends upon the home life of childhood and youth. Perhaps Hezekiah had a good mother. Perhaps he had been entrusted to the care of some one of the priests who remained faithful to God amid the prevailing unfaithfulness, idolatry, and sin. Perhaps he was early brought under the influence of Isaiah. At any rate, we read of him that he did right in the sight of the Lord. He is singled out for special praise. It is said of him that "he trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him" (ver. 5). What was the consequence? Just what the consequence will be to all who put their trust in the Lord and walk in his ways: "The Lord was with him; and he prospered whithersoever he went forth."

I. TRUST IN GOD LEADS TO PERSONAL RELIGION. Hezekiah's faith in God was not a mere idle profession. It did not consist in the mere belief of certain historical facts. It did not consist in the mere assent to certain doctrinal truths. It did not consist in the mere observance of certain outward forms and ceremonies. It was a real faith. It extended to his whole life. "He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father did" (ver. 3). "He clave unto the Lord, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses" (ver. 6). Suck is true religion. Religion is the dedication of the heart and life to God. A man may differ from me in creed, and in the way he worships the same God; but if he loves the Lord Jesus Christ, and serves God in sincerity, he is a truly religious man. "In every nation he that feareth God, and. worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." How expressive and instructive are some of these quaint old phrases! "He clave unto the Lord." Hezekiah set before him one great aim at the commencement of his life, and that was to please God. Whatever it might cost, he made up his mind to keep close to God. It is a grand resolution for the young to make. It is a grand aim to keep before them in life. But Hezekiah had not merely a goal at which he aimed. He had certain well-defined lines along which he reached that goal. He knew that, to please God, he must keep his commandments. He did not set up his own will in opposition to the will of God, king though he was. He did not dispute the wisdom of God's commands. He felt that God knew much better than he did the path of wisdom and of duty. This is one of the best evidences of true faith - of real trust in God. We may not see the reason for a command of God, but let us obey it. A parent will give his child many commands, for which it is quite unnecessary, perhaps undesirable, that the child should know the reason. Obedience based on faith is one of the first principles of life. Here, then, was the beginning of Hezekiah's success in life. It began with the state of his own heart. He trusted in God. That trust in God molded his whole character, and character is the foundation of all that is permanent in life.

II. TRUST IN GOD LEADS TO PRACTICAL EFFORT. Hezekiah very soon showed by his conduct that he was determined to serve God. He did not leave the people long in doubt as to which side he was on. In the very first year of his reign, and in the first month of it, he opened the doors of the temple of the Lord, which his father had closed, and repaired them (2 Chronicles 29:3). As soon as the temple was set in proper order, he caused the priests and the Levites to commence at once the public service of God. Then, in the second month, he issued a proclamation throughout all the land of Israel and Judah, inviting the people to come to Jerusalem to keep the Passover in the house of the Lord. What a festival and time of rejoicing that was! For seven days they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread with great gladness, and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing with loud instruments unto the Lord. Peace offerings were offered; confession of sin was made, not to the priests, but to the Lord God of their fathers; and the presence of the Lord was so manifested among the large congregation, that when the seven days of the Passover were ended, the whole assembly unanimously agreed to keep seven days more. "So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for since the time of Solomon the son of David King of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem" The effect of the service was electrical When the Passover was finished, the people went out to all the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars until they had utterly destroyed them all. In all this work of destroying the symbols of idolatry, Hezekiah the king took a leading part. Even the brazen serpent which Moses had made did not escape the destroying hand. It was an interesting relic of Israel's journeying in the wilderness, and of their wonderful deliverance by God. But it had become a snare to the people. It had become an object of worship to some, as relics and images become to many professing Christians. They worshipped it and burnt incense to it. Hezekiah was not the man to destroy anything that was a help to true devotion. He encouraged the Levites to use the trumpets, the harp, and the psaltery, to stir up and stimulate the singing of the congregation, and to render to God a hearty and glorious service of praise. But he saw that the brazen serpent had become an idol in itself, and was leading the thoughts of the people away from the true Object of worship. So be broke it in pieces. All honor to the determined reformer, who destroyed everything that had become dishonoring to God! All honor to those stern reformers who from time to time have broken in pieces the symbols of idolatry in the Church of Christ! Would that in the Church of Rome today some such reformer would arise, who would denounce and overthrow its image-worship and Mariolatry! Such was the work of reformation which Hezekiah accomplished among his people. It shows how God honors those who are determined to serve him, and how he blesses immediate and decided action. Hezekiah might well have hesitated in this work. The whole country was given over to idolatry. He might have dreaded a rebellion. In some parts of the country he got little sympathy in his efforts to restore the ancient religion. When the messengers inviting the people to the Passover passed through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh and. Zebulon, the people there laughed them to scorn and mocked them. Such manifestations of popular feeling might have caused Hezekiah to falter in his decision. He might have thought that he would introduce his reforms gradually. But no! the idolatry was wrong, and it must be put down at once. The worship of the true God was right, and it must at once be resumed, Hezekiah was right. Had he waited, had he begun his reign by tolerating idolatry for a while, he would have found it much harder to overthrow afterwards. Is there not here a lesson for us all? If you see the right loath clearly pointed out to you, resolve to walk in it, though all men should be against you. Remember the brave words of Athanasius. He was mocked at for his zeal for the truth. Some one said to him, "Athanasius, all the world is against you; ' then said he, "Athanasius is against the world." Follow the light of conscience and of duty. What matter though you may incur danger or worldly loss by so doing?

"And because right is right, to follow right
Were reason in the scorn of consequence." Furthermore, whatever work you see needs to be done, do it at once. Promptness and decision are two essential elements of success in life. Do you see that you need to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ if you are to be saved? Then come to him today. A more convenient season may never arrive. We know not what a day may bring forth. Do you hear God calling you by his Word to perform some act of kindness or forgiveness? Then do it at once. Do you hear God calling you to some work of usefulness in his Church? Begin at once to undertake it. If our trust in God is a real trust, it will lead us, not only to personal religion, but also to practical effort. We can trust him to take care of us when we are doing his work. "Therefore be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."

III. TRUST IN GOD LEADS TO SUCCESS IN LIFE. "And the Lord was with him; and he prospered whithersoever he went forth" (ver. 7). He was victorious over his enemies. He threw off the yoke of the King of Assyria, and drove back the Philistines, who had made great inroads during the previous reign. When the people honored God, their God honored them and gave them victories over their enemies. As a reward of Hezekiah's faith and faithfulness, God gave him much riches and honor. Hezekiah had trusted God at the beginning of his reign. He had done God's will, though he did not know what it might cost him, and before he was established on the throne. And God did not disappoint his trust, but made him greater and more honored than all the kings of Judah before or after his time. Even in a temporal point of view, no one ever loses by trusting God and doing what is right. Christ promises that every one who is willing to give up every earthly possession for his sake will receive an hundredfold more in this life, and in the world to come life everlasting. We saw, above, the dangers of prosperity. Hezekiah's career shows us what is the safeguard of prosperity. "The Lord was with him." Where that can be said, there is no danger in prosperity. In the godless man, prosperity is often a curse. It hardens his heart. He thinks that he is rich and increased in goods and has need of nothing. But the prosperity of the Christian may be a great blessing to himself and others. Take with you into your business, into your social relations, into every plan you make and every work you undertake, the presence of God, the fear of God, the commandments of God; and then there will be no fear of your success. Trust in the Lord. Put your eternal interests into the hands of Jesus. He is worthy of your trust. They that trust themselves to him shall never perish. Trust in the Lord, that it may lead you to personal religion, to practical effort, to success in life.

"Set thou thy trust upon the Lord.
And be thou doing good,
And so thou in the land shalt dwell,
And verily have food." C.H.I.

Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea.

1. The perverting tendency of sin. The brazen serpent was a beneficent ordinance of God to heal those in the wilderness who had been bitten by the fiery serpent. But this Divine ordinance, designed for a good purpose, and which had accomplished good, was now, through the forces of human depravity, become a great evil. See how this perverting power acts in relation to such Divine blessings, as





(5)governments; and

(6)religious institutions.

2. The true attributes of a reformer. Here we observe(1) Spiritual insight. Hezekiah saw in this serpent which appeared like a God to the people, nothing but a piece of brass — "Nehushtan."(2) Invincible honesty. He not only saw that it was brass, but said so, — thundered it into the ears of the people.(3) Practical courage. "He brake in pieces the brasen serpent."

3. The true soul of a reformer. What is that which gave him the true insight and attributes of a reformer, which in truth was the soul of the whole?(1) Entire consecration to the right.(2) Invincible antagonism to the wrong.

II. A RUTHLESS DESPOTISM. There are two despots mentioned in this chapter — Shalmaneser and Sennacherib, both kings of Assyria.

1. He had already invaded a country in which he had no right.

2. He had received from the king most humble submission and large contributions to leave his country alone. Mark his humiliating appeal.


1. He represents his master, the King of Assyria, to be far greater than he is.

2. He seeks to terrify them with a sense of their utter inability to resist the invading army.

(David Thomas, D. D.)

Monday Club Sermons.
The history of God's ancient people is full of surprises. The whole course of their national life was marked by wonderful Divine interpositions. An public records, when carefully studied, disclose the fact that God, through His providence, is acting as master of affairs, and though statesmen and political economists refer the shifting events of national career to natural causes, it is evident to the clear thinker that God is an uncalculated factor, the explanation is meagre and faulty. But in the history of the elect people, the Divine element was unmistakably prominent. In these particulars the history of the Jews was unique, and sublime above that of any other nation. And yet the behaviour of the people was quite as surprising. With only the thinnest of veils separating them from God — their daily experience august with the manifestations of His presence — the penalties of sin and the rewards of righteousness, things tangible and perceptible, they went on in a mad career of impiety and wickedness as recklessly as though they had never heard of Jehovah. But there are lights as well as shadows to the picture. Now and then a man in authority rose to the level of his responsibility and ruled in the fear of God, and the nation, as nations commonly do, catching inspiration from their leader, entered upon an era of prosperity. Notable among these faithful few was Hezekiah, King of Judah.

1. Hezekiah "did that which was right in the sight of the Lord." His theory of government was a simple one; to make it as far as possible a transcript of the Divine government. Statesmanship, in his conception of it, was no familiarity with human precedents, a mastery of the wiles and contrivances by which men in power manage to make all events subserve their purpose, a skilful sword-play in which some trick of fence is more highly esteemed than truth and righteousness. With that one purpose sovereign and constant, all details of administration grouped themselves about it, and in harmony with it, as the atoms of the gem aggregate themselves about the centre of crystallization, the value and lustre of the jewel, due to its unity. No government of contradictions this, whose worth was to be ascertained by averaging its failings and its merits, but an honest attempt on the part of the king to make his rule an answer to the prayer, "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." It is the fatal defect in most forms of government that this overrule of God is ignored. Men are dull scholars, slow to learn that to do right is to do well, in public affairs as well as in private conduct. To do "that which is fight in the sight of the Lord" is the fundamental and unalterable principle in all policies of government that vindicate themselves in history. Treasuries and armies and the intrigues of cabinets may win temporary successes; but they are short-lived.

2. Hezekiah "trusted in the Lord God of Israel." That gave him confidence and made him uncompromising in all his measures. He was no cautious strategist, trying experiments, uncertain of their issue, advancing so slowly that there would be opportunity to retrace his steps if the event seemed likely to disappoint his expectation a He did not trust in his own shrewdness and far-sightedness. He was not anxious about the signs of the times, a calculator of popular weather probabilities. No one more well aware than he of the unreliability of the tone and temper of public moods. He trusted in God, the eternal and the unchanging, "a personal God, the Lord God of Israel, doing His pleasure in the armies of heaven and among the children of men." So he had no responsibility except for duty; consequences were in higher and wiser hands than his. Like a soldier under command, he had only to obey orders. And withal he had a serene and satisfying assurance that he should be contented with last results. The Divine wishes could not be thwarted, and whatever pleased God would please him. When the first Napoleon came to the throne, and saw how unbelief was destroying both the faith and the conscience of the French nation, he said to his advisers, "If there is no God, we must create one." No man can prosperously direct the affairs of a great people without personal faith in God. There are crises in affairs when he loses heart and hope unless he "endures as seeing Him who is invisible." There are hours when the policy of strict righteousness threatens immediate disaster, and the temptation to slight concessions for large apparent good is strong, and how can king or president resist it unless they are able to look up through the obscurity and confidently say, "Clouds and darkness are round about Him, but judgment and justice are the habitation of His throne?" Religion is too often depreciated as the superstition of the cloister and the Church, but all history shows that it has been the most practical and powerful force in the administration of government.

3. Hezekiah "clave to the Lord and departed not from following Him." This religious faith was something more than an intellectual assent to certain general truths, more even than the recognition that Divine Providence is the operative factor in human history. His convictions had a personal force, and caused him to see that he ought to be, and led him to endeavour to be, himself a good man. Behind all the righteous measures he proposed, there was the weight and push of a righteous character. It was not enough that the service due to God had mention in public documents and on state occasions; he himself must render that service in his private capacity. The people must see, in his individual behaviour, the recognition of the sovereignty of those principles that were embedded in the statutes, and gave shape and colour to the national policy. Other things being equal, the better the character of king and governor and legislator, the stronger the presumption that their administration of affairs will be judicious, sound, and strong. The man who governs himself rightly has taken the first step towards knowing how to govern others for their good.

4. "And the Lord was with him, and he prospered whithersoever he went." This is the brief but significant summing up of the history of Hezekiah's reign. The account is notable for its omissions. There is no record of new territory added to the kingdom, of armies organised, of treasuries filled, of advance in industrial enterprise and business prosperity, the specifications that figure so largely in the common description of national growth. In the thought of the inspired writer, the enumeration of items like these was of small importance in comparison with the great overshadowing fact that the Divine presence was visible, and the Divine favour evident, in the whole course of the people's history. That of itself was sufficient to ensure success and renown. Since God was for them, who or what could be against them?

(Monday Club Sermons.)

Heredity is fickle, or wicked Ahaz would not have had a son like Hezekiah. The piety of the father does not necessarily involve the godliness of the son, nor does the iniquity of the parent make virtue impossible in his posterity. Judah had no worse king than Ahaz, and no better than Hezekiah. There are surprises of goodness in bad families, and of wickedness in families which bear an honoured name. There is also a sweet word of hope for the offspring of bad people. Hezekiah and Josiah were sons of such evil monsters as Ahaz and Amon. The surroundings and character of Hezekiah supply useful lessons.

I. AN EVIL ENVIRONMENT. Hezekiah's life boldly challenged and denied the supremacy of circumstances, and emphasised the truth that real manhood rules circumstances, and is not ruled by them.

1. Evil in the home. Ahaz contributed in the fullest measure possible, both by precept and example, to the moral ruin of his family. Every form of heathenism he found in the land he strenuously supported, and introduced new varieties of sin from other lands. There is not a single virtuous thing recorded of him during his whole life. The kindest thing he ever did was to die, and even that service was performed involuntarily.

2. A corrupt nation. Evil was popular. The flowing tide of public sentiment was with Ahaz, idolatry, and vice. The nation had lost its conscience. The last restraints of decency and custom had been removed. There was not an institution in all the land for the protection of youth,, and the young prince, and any other virtuous youth, might say with literal truth, No man careth for my soul.

II. A SPLENDID CHARACTER. Untoward circumstances develop brave men. Battles and storms make heroes possible.

1. Unwavering decision. "In the first month of the first year of his reign," he set about the work of reform (2 Chronicles 29:3). He was only twenty-five years of age. But his youth had been wisely spent, and when opportunity of great usefulness came, he was ready.

2. Religious enthusiasm. He restored the purity and dignity of Divine worship (vers. 4-6). He went back to first principles; he dug down to the only sure foundation of national strength. No nation can be strong whose temple doors are closed.

3. Widespread success. His achievements were so great and complete, that he eclipsed all the kings who preceded and succeeded him (ver. 5). His trust was in the Lord (ver. 5), and his faith was honoured of God (vers. 7, 8). Truly character is above circumstances, and the history of this Jewish prince is a lesson of hope for the young people of to-day.

(R. W. Keighley.)

John Ruskin, in Stones of Venice, calls attention to the pleasing fact that in the year 813 the Doge of Venice devoted himself to putting up two great buildings — St. Mark's, for the worship of God, and a palace for the administration of justice to man. Have you ever realised how much God has honoured law in the fact that all up and down the Bible He makes the Judge a type of Himself, and employs the scene of a court-room to set forth the grandeurs of the great judgment day? Book of Genesis: "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" Book of Deuteronomy: "The Lord shall judge His people." Book of Psalms: "God is Judge Himself." Book of the Acts: "Judge of quick and dead." Book of Timothy: "The Lord the righteous Judge." Never will it be understood how God honours judges and court-rooms until the thunderbolt of the last day shall sound the opening of the great assize — the day of trial, the day of clearance, the day of doom, the day of .judgment.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

Remember that flesh dies and spirit lives: in the long run, it is the spiritual that is mighty. Think of that insignificant-looking little black-eyed Jew clanking his chains in Rome, and writing to "the saints that are in Ephesus." Think of calmly facing the Arian rabble. Think of consolidating a spiritual empire when the old Roman civilisation was shattered and failing in ruins. Think of writing the City of God in 410 when the world was thrilled with dismay because Rome had been stormed by Alaric the Goth. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." To be spiritual is to be already victorious.

In his History of the Eighteenth Century, Mr. Lecky said: "Although the career of the elder Pitt and the splendid victories by land and sea that were won during his ministry formed unquestionably the most dazzling episodes in the reign of George II., they must yield in real importance to that religious revolution which shortly before had begun in England by the preaching of the Wesleys and Whitefield." Methodism was the least result of Wesley's efforts, for, as Green the historian had said, "the noblest result of the religious revival was the steady attempt which had never ceased from that day to this to remedy the guilt, the ignorance, the physical suffering, and the social degradations of the profligate and the poor." Wesley preached and taught in his class-meetings and in his journals the true application of the great saying of burke, that "whatever is morally wrong can never be politically right." —

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