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2 KINGS 20:12-21
Series:  Hezekiah:  2 Kings 18-20 - Part Four

Pastor Stephen Muncherian
September 6, 2009

Please turn with me to 2 Kings 20 - starting at verse 12.  This morning is our last look at the life of King Hezekiah.  To help us remember together what we’ve seen of Hezekiah so far we’re going to take a short quiz.  School’s been in session 3 weeks now.  So, you all should be pros at this by now.  Sharpen your mental styluses and see how you do with this. 

#1.  Hezekiah was the son of __________ ?  A.  Ahab.  B. Ahaz.  C. Aguy.  D. Arab.

Answer:  Ahaz - “daddy dearest” - the evil King Ahaz - who had led Judah down the tubes in every way possible - especially in their relationship with God.

#2.  When Ahaz died, Hezekiah __________ ? A. Cast himself headlong into the Kidron Valley.  B. Threw a huge party.  C. Spent the required 40 days mourning.  D. Cleaned Up.

Answer:  Hezekiah cleaned up - removed absolutely everything that was evil in Judah.  Hezekiah trusted God - clung to God - acted with Godly wisdom.  Did what pleased God.  Hezekiah followed God.  It was a huge 180
° change of direction for the nation.

3.  When the Assyrians laid siege to Jerusalem, Hezekiah __________ ? A. Turned to Egypt for help.  B. Replied, “Nuts.”  C. Trusted God.  D. Surrendered.

Answer:  Hezekiah - trusted God - put everything on the line.  He’d led this rebellion against the Assyrians - a brutal people that made the Borg look like a bunch of Woodstock peaceniks.  When the Assyrians - with their undefeated military machine - when the Assyrians laid siege to Jerusalem - Hezekiah hung in there with God - trusted God - kept the end in sight.

The result of that was what?  God takes out Sennacherib - king of Assyria - God takes out Sennacherib and his army - as only God can.  The Assyrians are 1,000 and 1.  God’s people are saved.  God is glorified.

#4.  When God defeated the Assyrians He __________?  A. Wiped out 185,000 men.  B. Called Sennacherib back to Nineveh.  C. Predicted Sennacherib’s assassination.  D.  All of the above.

Answer:  D

#5.  When Hezekiah was told that he was going to die, God answered his prayer by __________ ?  A. Giving him 15 more years of life.  B. Reminding Hezekiah of His sovereignty over time and circumstances.  C.  Reminded Hezekiah of His love for His people.  D.  All of the above.

Answer:  D.

Do you remember this? 
God’s love and sovereignty do not change because of our circumstances - even circumstances when we question what God wills.

Bonus question.  When Sennacherb’s two sons assassinated him they fled to __________ ?  A. Tarsus.  B.  Ammon  C.  Moab.  D.  Armenia.

Answer:  D.

How’d you do?

Let’s go on with Hezekiah.

2 Kings 20 - starting at verse 12: 
At that time Berodach-balaban a son of Baladan, king of Babylon, set letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that Hezekiah had been sick.  Hezekiah listened to them, and showed them all his treasure house, the silver and the gold and the spices and the precious oil and the house of his armor and all that was found in his treasuries.  There was nothing in his house nor in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them.

Let’s pause there.  Verses 12 and 13 are Hezekiah’s Test.  Let’s say that together: 
“Hezekiah’s Test.”

In the last three Sundays - what we’ve seen so far is Hezekiah living rightly before God - trusting God - and God royally blessing Hezekiah - caring for Hezekiah and His people - defending them - prospering them.

Hezekiah comes down with a fatal skin disease and God heals him.  Gives Hezekiah 15 more years of life.  God is over the top in the way that He’s loving on Hezekiah.

2 Chronicles 32:31 - a passage that records God’s perspective of what’s happening here - 2 Chronicles says, that when God had done these things for Hezekiah, God stepped back - and gave Hezekiah a test - to see what was in Hezekiah’s heart.  How will Hezekiah respond to all of God’s love poured out on Him?

That test question arrives in the form of this delegation from Babylon.

We know from history - Assyrian records and Babylonian records - things archeologist have dug up - records from the time of Hezekiah - records that corroborate the Biblical record - that there was brief period between about 705 to 703 BC when this king Berodach-baladan of Babylon was able to shake off Assyria domination.  Its probably during that brief period of independence that this Babylonian king sent this delegation to Hezekiah to seek an alliance with Hezekiah against the Assyrians.

What better way to do that than with a get well card and some gifts - flowers - chocolates - promises you never intend to keep.  All of which is suppose to butter up Hezekiah. 
“We really care about you.”  And to give them an opportunity to check out Hezekiah to see if he’s worth having as an ally.

Turn with me to 2 Chronicles 32 - starting at verse 27.

After death of Ahaz - as Hezekiah cleaned up Judah and turned the people towards God - God blessed and defended Hezekiah - loved on Hezekiah - gave Hezekiah 15 more years of life.  Hezekiah started to build and to expand his wealth and power.

2 Chronicles 32:27: 
Now Hezekiah had immense riches and honor; and he made for himself treasuries of silver, gold, precious stones, spices, shields and all kinds of valuable articles, storehouses also for the produce of grain, wine and oil, pens for all kinds of cattle and sheepfolds for the flocks.  He made cities for himself and acquired flocks and herds in abundance, for God had given him great wealth.

Who gave Hezekiah great wealth?  God.

Verse 30:
It was Hezekiah who stopped the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them to the west side of the city of David. 

Hezekiah had his engineers tunnel in from two directions meeting at the middle - had them dig this 1777 foot tunnel - this tunnel - which if you go to Jerusalem today as a tourist you can walk through.

Hezekiah had this tunnel dug from the waters of Gihon - which is outside the walls of Jerusalem to the Pool of Siloam - remember the blind man who Jesus healed at the Pool of Siloam?  Which was inside the city walls.  Connecting the city water system with a water source outside the city for when they were under siege.

Point being this was an amazing engineering feat that symbolized all the wonderful things Hezekiah did - his buildings - his wealth - his prosperity.

Going on - 2 Chronicles 32:30: 
And Hezekiah prospered in all that he did.  Even in the matter of the envoys of the rulers of Babylon, who sent to him to inquire of the wonder that had happened in the land.  God left him alone only to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart.

Hezekiah’s wealth and reputation - defeating the Assyrians being pretty huge in and of itself - Hezekiah’s reputation had spread to Babylon - so King Berodach-baladan sends this delegation to Hezekiah to find out if Hezekiah really is as big as his reputation.  The rumors are impressive.  Is it worth having Hezekiah as an ally?

Which is a what?  a test.  God testing Hezekiah to show Hezekiah and us - what’s going on in Hezekiah’s heart.

Back to 2 Kings 20 - verse 13 - Hezekiah received the delegation from Babylon.  Hezekiah’s answer to the test question is what?  Show them everything.  The silver, the gold, the spices, the oil, the armory, the treasury, the tunnel, the sheep, the goats. 
“There was nothing in his house nor in his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them.”

Jesus told a parable about a farmer who was doing really well.  He was doing so well that he didn’t have enough space to store all of his stuff.  He had every anticipation of an even greater crop next year - even greater profits.  So this rich farmer he made plans to tear down his barns and build larger ones - unlimited expansion.  Remember this?

The farmer says to himself,
“Self - you’re doing great.  Look at how wealthy you are.  You can live off of your investments for years.  That new Ferarri chariot you wanted.  Its yours.  Kick back and enjoy the good life.  You are one successful dude.”

Jesus said,
“You fool!  You’re gonna die tonight.  Then who’s gonna be living off your investments?  You’ve forgotten that its God - God who gives you life - its God who’s provided for your needs.  Life is about God.  Not stuff.”  (Luke 12:16-21)

Who blessed Hezekiah with all that stuff?  Even the extra 15 years to prosper and enjoy all that?  The almighty sovereign eternal God.  When the delegation arrives who gets the credit?  Hezekiah.

Do you see Hezekiah’s heart?  What’s going on deep inside Hezekiah?

Hezekiah - living the high life - arrogantly showing off in front of the Babylonians - all of what he - Hezekiah has achieved.  In his heart Hezekiah has forgotten it was the almighty sovereign eternal God who chose to by His grace and mercy and love - to bless Hezekiah so incredibly.

"I’m sorry.  I can’t hear you over the sound of how awesome I am.”

Hezekiah’s response to God’s test?  Pure arrogance.  Pure taking for granted the grace and mercy and lovingkindness of God.  Taking for granted that God has blessed him and that God will continue to bless him and all that blessing is about Hezekiah - not God.

Let’s go on.  Verses 14 to 18 are
Hezekiah’s Grade.  Let’s try that together, “Hezekiah’s grade.”  God’s grading Hezekiah’s answer.

Verse 14: 
Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah and said to him, “What did these men say, and from where have they come to you?”  Do you hear the feigned ignorance in that?

And Hezekiah said, “They have come from a far country, from Babylon.”

“They’ve came a long way to see me and all that I’ve achieved.  My reputation brought them here.  Isaiah, aren’t you impressed?” 
Hezekiah is in serious trouble and he doesn’t even know it.  Isaiah is just reeling him in.  Just asking questions and letting Hezekiah hang himself. 

Verse 15: 
He - Isaiah - said, “What have they seen in your house?”  So Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing among my treasuries that I have not shown them.”

“My house.  My treasuries.  I showed them.”

Verse 16: 
Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord.  ‘Behold - “behold” is the Hebrew word “hanah.”  Its a powerful word that’s used to introduce something solemn - profound - life changing.  To “hanah” is to come attention - to be ready to obey - action needs to be taken.  Sober up - what’s about to be said here is crucial to hear.

Isaiah says to Hezekiah,
“Hanah!  Listen to God’s evaluation.”

The days are coming when all that is in your house, and all that your fathers have laid up in store to this day will be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,’ says the Lord.  ‘Some of your sons who shall issue from you, whom you will beget, will be taken away; and they will become officials in the palace of the king of Babylon.”

During the week leading up to His resurrection Palm Sunday Jesus gives the disciples a tour of the Temple - one of the most magnificent buildings of its day.  Imagine God giving you a private tour of the Temple - pointing out sights and activities - what’s going on - from God’s perspective.  And along the way - during the tour - Jesus dialoging with the Pharisees - humbling the Pharisees and clarifying the reality of what it means to live life with the living God.  That’d be some kind of life changing tour?  Wouldn’t it?

On the way out of the Temple the disciples - who have been taking all this in - the disciples are talking with Jesus about what they’ve just seen
.  “Jesus, this place is amazing.  The stones are huge - ornate.  The buildings are incredible.”

Jesus tells them,
“Do you see these great buildings?  Not one stone is going to be left sitting on top of another stone.  It’s all coming down.”  (Mark 13:1,2)

The Temple isn’t important.  God is.  The purpose of God blessing His people with this Temple - the purpose of the Temple is get us focused on God - not the Temple.  On knowing God.  On living life with the living God.  That’s what counts.  Stop looking at the Temple and get your eyes on God. 

“Hezekiah - you’ve failed the test.  You missed the point.  What I’ve given you should lead you to Me.  Should bring glory to Me.  So, everything you’re so impressed with - what you’ve inherited - what you’ve built - I’m taking it away.  Even your family - gone - they’re going to be hauled off to Babylon.”

We’re so impressed with so little when God offers us so much.  Maybe God needs to take away all these little baubles of blessings that we take for granted - that we think are all about us.  Maybe He needs to take all that away so we’ll get our hearts focused back on God.

Verse 19 - Here’s the bottom line on
Hezekiah’s Heart.  Say that with me, “Hezekiah’s heart.”

Verse 19: 
Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good.”  For he thought, “Is it not so, if there will be peace and truth in my days?”

There are two thoughts here in Hezekiah’s heart that we need hear for ourselves.

“The word of the Lord is good.”

Hezekiah agrees with God.  God’s evaluation is correct. 
“I have been arrogant.  My heart has been in the wrong place.”

We go there all the time.  We agree with God. 
“God’s judgment of my life is true.  What He says about is true.  I am a sinner.  I need God.  I need what God offers me in Jesus.  I need God’s grace and mercy and forgiveness.”

Are we together?  We can agree with God’s evaluation of our heart. 
“The word of the Lord is good.”

The second thought - here in verse 19 - is more difficult for us: 
“Is it not so - isn’t God’s word good - especially if there will be peace and truth in my days.”

“God’s word is good - I’ll agree with God - especially if I can dodge the bullet of His judgment.”

2 Chronicles 32 says that: 
Hezekiah gave no return for the benefit he received - all of God’s blessings - gave no credit to God - because his heart was proud; therefore - because his heart was proud - wrath came on him and on Judah and Jerusalem.  However, Hezekiah humbled the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem - he agreed with God - God’s word is good - so that the wrath of the Lord did not come on them in the days of Hezekiah.  (2 Chronicles 32:25,26)

In who’s days?  In Hezekiah’s days.  Later yes.  Now no.  Its all good.  Even what’s not so good.  As long as I don’t have to deal with it.  As long as I don’t have to change too much.  Christians aren’t perfect.  Just forgiven.  What a cop out.

One of the most difficult things I’ve heard from missionaries and people I know who speak to Christians around the world - when asked,
“Is there a difference between Christians in the US and Christians outside the US?”  And admittedly there are exceptions to this.  But the consistent brutal answer is this:  “The one major difference when speaking - preaching - teaching - Christians outside the US and Christians in the US is that Christians outside the US have an insatiable hunger for God’s word - for God.”

Not just an agreement with God’s word.  But a craving for God’s word imparted - incorporated - taken into their lives and radically altering their lives - changing their hearts - the very core of who they are.

Hezekiah agreed with God’s word - humbled himself to the point of acknowledging the truth of what God said.  Even outwardly may have demonstrated that humility.  But inwardly he was just dodging a bullet.  His heart wasn’t transformed.  He did the minimum to get by with being one of God’s people.

We struggle with this. 

Mildred J. Peabody - the church gossip and self-appointed monitor of the church's  morals - kept sticking her nose into other people's business.  Several  members did not approve of her extra curricular activities.  But, feared her enough to maintain their silence.

Mildred made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town's only bar one afternoon.  She emphatically told George and several others that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing.

George, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away.  He didn't explain - defend - or deny.  He said nothing.  Later that evening, George quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred's house - walked home - and left it there all night.

Outward appearances are not always what they seem.

There are a tremendous number of people who would agree with God - their need for Jesus.  They’ve sincerely prayed the prayer,
“I agree I’m a sinner.  Lord Jesus come into my life.  I receive you as my Savior.”

They soak in the blessings of God.  They enjoy the presence of the Son.  They experience what it means to have a relationship with Him.  They know God’s forgiveness. 

Sunday after Sunday they sing the songs.  They bow in prayer.  They read the Scriptures.  They listen to the messages.  They’ve learned to talk the talk and walk the walk.  They enjoy the encouragement and support of their siblings in Jesus. 

But in the heart - deep down at the place where God evaluates how we’re living our lives - our relationship with Him - our hearts are focused on ourselves.  God’s blessings are about us not God.

Its been said,
“If you show me your check book and your calendar I’ll show you what’s important in your life.”

There’s a challenge here for us to think about how we spend out time and resources - what God blesses us with.  Are we focused on an insatiable desire for God - to be transformed by God - to live for God - for God to be glorified in us and through us?  Or, like Hezekiah, are we enjoying God’s blessings - spending our time and resources as if all that stuff is about us - not God?

Verse 20 is Hezekiah’s Epitaph.  Let’s say that together,
“Hezekiah’s Epitaph.”  

Verse 20: 
Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah and all his might, and how he made the pool and the conduit and brought water into the city, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?

Hezekiah is buried in the section of Jerusalem’s cemetery reserved for the descendants of David.  2 Chronicles emphasizes his devotion - his faithfulness to God - that all the citizens of Jerusalem honored him at his death.  2 Kings reminds us that Hezekiah build the conduit - symbolic of his all that he built - his wealth and power.  (2 Chronicles 32:32,33)

Then this phrase - verse 21: 
So Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and Manasseh his son became king in his place.

Manasseh was probably born 2 or 3 years after God healed Hezekiah - at a time of stability in the kingdom.  He grew up in wealth and prosperity.  He never experienced the spiritual reforms - his father’s passion for God.  He experienced what came later - the outward signs of Godliness - from a father who’s heart had grown focused on himself.

At the ripe old age of 12 Manasseh becomes king.  A member of a younger generation - greatly blessed - being handed great wealth and power without a framework to understand the source of that blessing. 

Sound familiar?  Look around - young people in America - even in the church - growing up with so much handed to them - and no understanding of Who the source of that blessing is.

Manasseh saw - as our children see our hearts - as people around us - in the community - hear what we say and then see what we do.  We ain’t fooling no one.  Manasseh saw the insincerity of his father’s heart.

Manasseh goes off the deep end spiritually.  For 55 years Manasseh rules Judah.  For 55 years Manasseh completely reverses every reform - every act of purification - every act of devotion to God - every godly act of his father.  Manasseh leads God’s people into sin - to worship Baal and the Asherah - reintroduces ritual prostitution - worships the creation not the creator - builds pagan altars - even in God’s temple - practices witchcraft and sorcery - astrology - turns the mediums and spiritists loose on God’s people - sacrifices his sons to the God Molech.

2 Kings 21:9 says,
“Manasseh seduced God’s people to do evil more than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the sons of Israel.”

Its Manasseh - Hezekiah’s son - that - exactly as God said it would happen - Manasseh gets hauled off to Babylon.  An act of God’s judgment that God held back until Manasseh - learning from Hezekiah’s half-hearted humility - that Manasseh earned for himself.

Quite an epitaph isn’t it?  Quite a legacy.  Sobering.

We can be so caught up in God’s blessings - so taking them for granted - so focused on ourselves - that we can fail to pass on to the next generation - in our families - in the church - even to the community around us - what it means to live life totally surrendered - insatiably desiring the living God - the source of those blessings.

There’s a great opportunity here for us.  To move beyond agreement with God to an insatiable desire for God.  To pass on what is the most important legacy:  That life is about God who is the source of all blessings.  That life is about God and not us.

Remember these guys?  Capital One:  What’s In Your Wallet?

Question:  What’s in your heart?  May what is in each of our hearts be an insatiable desire for God.  May we give Him the glory for what He has done.



Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE ®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation.  Used by permission.