Hezekiah–Not Exactly Like His Daddy

We are not required to repeat the sins of our fathers.

I was reminded afresh of that truth this week as I studied the life of king Hezekiah of Judah.  In a couple of days, I will be teaching the Later Prophets for Belhaven University.  At one point, I will be using Isaiah 36-39 to illustrate the role of a prophet (Isaiah, in particular) in the life of the nation.  Since it had been awhile since I studied this historical period, I had forgotten some of the details.  I remembered that Hezekiah was one of the good kings, but I was encouraged again by his passion that he put into practice.  And that practice was implemented in short order after he ascended the throne.

After the death of his ungodly father, Ahaz, Hezekiah commenced on a mission to help Judah turn back to the LORD.  Personally, Hezekiah “did right in the sight of the LORD” (2 Kings 18:3).  He had the places and symbols of idolatry destroyed (18:4).  “He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel; so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among those who were before him. For he clung to the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD had commanded Moses” (18:5-6).

How different from his father!

“Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem; and he did not do what was right in the sight of the LORD his God, as his father David had done. But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and even made his son pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had driven out from before the sons of Israel. He sacrificed and burned incense on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree” (2 Kings 16:2-4).

What a sad commentary!  A king of Judah worshipped the false gods of the Canaanites–even sacrificing one of his own sons!  “Under every green tree” is hyperbole to illustrate the king’s passion for his religion.

This is the example Hezekiah had as he matured.  What kind of man was he?  What kind of king would he become?  The answer was clearly revealed shortly after his father’s death.

“In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the LORD and repaired them” (2 Chronicles 29:1).  This public act of piety would set the stage for national reforms that Hezekiah would implement.  Although his father was “unfaithful to the LORD” (2 Chronicles 29:19), Hezekiah “clung” to God (2 Kings 18:6).  The Hebrew word for clung means that he remained faithful.  It could appropriately be translated “followed closely.”  The tense of the verb teaches us that Hezekiah’s following closely was his constant habit.

He refused to wander from the LORD.  He refused to walk in the unfaithful footsteps of his father.

We are not required to repeat the sins of our fathers.

This may resonate more with some of you than others.  Some of you may have had a father like Hezekiah, a truly godly man.  If so, how thankful must you be!  Others of you may have had an Ahaz as your daddy.  Your life now is a conscious effort to do the opposite of what you experienced and witnessed as a child.  Most of us had fathers somewhere in-between.   Regardless of where our fathers fall on the Ahaz-Hezekiah line, none of them were perfect.  All were sinners.  All had sins which were glaring.  Those sins we do not have to repeat.

Hezekiah rushed to the temple and opened wide the doors.

What have you done?  What do you need to do?  Think on it.  Move on it.


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