2 Kings 18:1-12 (Part 2) – Sometimes In Tragedy, We Find God

Posted: September 19, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 18:1-12 (Part 2 of 2)

Hezekiah Reigns in Judah

Recently, we all paused to remember the events of September 11, 2001, a day that is seared into our collective American memory if you are over say 25-30 years old. Children in school today from kindergarten to 12th grade were not even born year and many of our nation that are 18-25 years old were just not old enough at the time to remember that day. However, for the rest of us, it was a day that rests in our memory like a file easily retrieved in a computer. We knew exactly where we were and what we were doing when we first learned of the attacks. We remember turning on the news to see the North Tower of the World Trade Center already in flames. We watched in horror as, while we were watching, we saw another place come into frame and plow into the South Tower and explode in a huge fireball. Then we here of plane crashing into the Pentagon. Finally, we hear of a plane crashing in the farmland of Shanksville, PA which is only 30 minutes by air from Washington, DC. Mothers all over America leave their jobs or homes and go to schools across the country and retrieve their kids from school so that they know they are safe and are with them. Most bosses around the country just sent their workers home on this day because there was just no way that anybody was doing any work on this day, September 11, 2001.

After the events of 09/11/01, there was a sudden spike in church attendance as Americans grappled with the sinister nature of what had happened to New York and Washington. As often happens in days of national tragedy, we find comfort and resolve in the house of the Lord. In some cases, it leads to a permanent change in a person’s life. This has been particularly true for survivors of the actual tragedies such as those who survived the attacks and the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings. They either found Jesus Christ as their Savior as a result of being spared from certain death in those buildings or their belief in Jesus was deepened greatly by having been spared. In the general public, for about a month after 09/11, church attendance spiked as our confidence in our way of life and the fact that we never had been really attacked on our own soil by a foreign nation or foreign group since the early 1800’s. We felt shaken. We felt afraid. We sought solace in the one thing that has always been there in our country from the beginning – the church.

Further, during the months immediately after the 09/11 attacks, our nation was so united. American flags were seen everywhere. People would shout, “USA, USA, USA!” at public gatherings. We were all united behind President Bush to seek out and destroy those who had done the dastardly deeds of 09/11. The unity was heartwarming and would bring tears to your eyes. Tears came for the victims of 09/11 (all 2,977 of them) and their families. Tears came for the joy that we were still alive and still a country that was more united than ever. We had tears because they had not defeated us. We had tears because we were the United States of America. Sadly, too, as with church, it was not long until we degenerated into our usual factiousness and divisiveness. But I will always remember those sweet few months after 09/11 when our country was completed united…for once.

National tragedy can change the course of nations and its people for the better permanently or it can simply be a blip in time. It seems that 09/11 was simply that, a blip in time, for our country. It was that thought of those precious moments in our country where we were united and were actually one nation under God for a few months in 2001. That’s how I see the reign of Hezekiah in 2 Kings. It was that thought that came to mind when I read 2 Kings 18:1-12 for the second and last time this morning before we move on to the next passage:

Chapter 18

1 In the third year of King Hoshea son of Elah of Israel, Hezekiah son of King Ahaz of Judah began to reign. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign; he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi daughter of Zechariah. 3 He did what was right in the sight of the Lord just as his ancestor David had done. 4 He removed the high places, broke down the pillars, and cut down the sacred pole.[a] He broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it; it was called Nehushtan. 5 He trusted in the Lord the God of Israel; so that there was no one like him among all the kings of Judah after him, or among those who were before him. 6 For he held fast to the Lord; he did not depart from following him but kept the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses. 7 The Lord was with him; wherever he went, he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and would not serve him. 8 He attacked the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city.

9 In the fourth year of King Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of King Hoshea son of Elah of Israel, King Shalmaneser of Assyria came up against Samaria, besieged it, 10 and at the end of three years, took it. In the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of King Hoshea of Israel, Samaria was taken. 11 The king of Assyria carried the Israelites away to Assyria, settled them in Halah, on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes, 12 because they did not obey the voice of the Lord their God but transgressed his covenant—all that Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded; they neither listened nor obeyed.

In this passage, we see that that Hezekiah was in stark contrast to all the kings of Judah that had come before him. Hezekiah followed God more closely and sincerely than any other king of Judah or Israel. Judah was sandwiched between two world powers, Assyria and Egypt. Both wanted to control Judah and Israel because they lay at a vital crossroads of all ancient Near East trade. The nation that controlled Judah would have a military and economic advantage over its rivals. It is in the world that Hezekiah reigned in a Jewish kingdom that was a shell of its former glory under David and Solomon. Did the impending threats from foreign kingdoms and the sense of a lack of control drive Hezekiah to seek the Lord? Whatever the cause, Hezekiah placed his faith in God’s strength and obeyed God’s commands in spite of the obstacles and dangers that, from a purely human standpoint, looked overwhelming.

The takeaway for us this morning is that sometimes events in our personal lives can draw us closer to Jesus Christ because we are searching for meaning or trying to make sense of what seems senseless. It is in these times that we learn that we are not in control of our lives. It is these times that we learn that we need Jesus. It is in these times that we learn the most as children of God. When times are easy, it is so easy to drift back into thinking that we are in control of our lives and we try to put God in the back seat. However, He is the Creator of the Universe. He created us. It is He who gave us breath. It is then He on whom we depend for the very air that we breath. Hezekiah may have learned this through being in the vice grip between two world powers and realized that he was powerless without God to be able to anything about it. However, he did learn the lesson and lived his life to please God and seek to please the Lord in everything He did.

Are you suffering through a deep, dark valley right now? Does there seem like there is no answer to your problems? Reach out to your Lord, Jesus Christ. Maybe through events and circumstances that have been allowed to pass your way, that you are now ready to hear what Jesus has to say. Sit and listen. He is ready for you to come home, prodigal son.

Amen and Amen.

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