Dear Lord, teach me Your ways today, and help me to use the hours, days, and years You give me to honor Your name.
Read 2 Kings 18:1–16
Hezekiah King of Judah
18 In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Abijah[a] daughter of Zechariah. 3 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done. 4 He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan.[b])
5 Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. 6 He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. 7 And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. 8 From watchtower to fortified city, he defeated the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory.
9 In King Hezekiah’s fourth year, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyria marched against Samaria and laid siege to it. 10 At the end of three years the Assyrians took it. So Samaria was captured in Hezekiah’s sixth year, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel. 11 The king of Assyria deported Israel to Assyria and settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in towns of the Medes. 12 This happened because they had not obeyed the Lord their God, but had violated his covenant—all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded. They neither listened to the commands nor carried them out.
13 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 14 So Hezekiah king of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria at Lachish: “I have done wrong. Withdraw from me, and I will pay whatever you demand of me.” The king of Assyria exacted from Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents[c] of silver and thirty talents[d] of gold. 15 So Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the temple of the Lord and in the treasuries of the royal palace.
16 At this time Hezekiah king of Judah stripped off the gold with which he had covered the doors and doorposts of the temple of the Lord, and gave it to the king of Assyria.
a 2 Kings 18:2 Hebrew Abi, a variant of Abijah
b 2 Kings 18:4 Nehushtan sounds like the Hebrew for both bronze and snake.
c 2 Kings 18:14 That is, about 11 tons or about 10 metric tons
d 2 Kings 18:14 That is, about 1 ton or about 1 metric ton
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectReflect for a moment on verse 6. Could that be said of you?
Unlike many of the kings of Israel and many of the kings of Judah who had preceded him, Hezekiah was a godly leader. He knew God, followed God (3), and did everything he could to make it easier for the people to follow God with undivided hearts (4). He gets the best accolade given in the books of Kings (5,6).
Other leaders of Judah and Israel failed because they did not “hold fast” to God. Israel’s deportation from their land was a result of not listening to or obeying God’s commands (12), whereas Hezekiah followed God’s laws (6).
Hezekiah was like a branch of the vine that Jesus described in John 15:1–6. Hezekiah remained in God, and his life was fruitful (7,8). Hoshea, king of Israel, did not remain in God, and his kingdom was like the branch that was cut off and thrown away. Jesus calls us to “hold fast” to him, for when we “remain in him” our lives will be fruitful (John 15:4).
How can you “remain” in Christ today? Choose to follow him step by step and seek his leading in every aspect of life.
Lord Jesus, help me to hold fast to You today. Give me courage to follow You and to keep Your commands for the glory of Your name.