The Bible tells us more than just about God

King Hezekiah was considered one of the most righteous Kings in Judah’s history.  He oversaw temple reforms, commissioned the infamous Siloam tunnel (pictured), helped collate some of the proverbs for the book of Proverbs, and is mentioned in Jesus’ geneology. Nine different books in the Bible mention Hezekiah.  He “trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him. For he held fast to the LORD. He did not depart from following him, but kept the commandments that the LORD commanded Moses,” (2 Kings 18:5-6).  He fought against idol worship and offered a lavish Passover not only to his own people, but also to the other tribes of Israel in the North.  He received promises from Isaiah no nation could overtake Judah as long as they were faithful.  Still, challenges of ‘biblical’ proportions arose.
 
Sennacherib was one of the most famous kings in ancient history.  Not only is he featured in the Bible, but he also destroyed Babylon and built Nineveh into a wondrous city.  After the death of his father in 705BC, uprisings challenged his power throughout the Levant (area from Egypt to Turkey).  These campaigns were recorded not just in the Bible, but also in archaeological finds – the Lachish Relief and the Sennacherib Prism.  One of those kings mentioned in the carvings- Hezekiah.
Many accuse the Bible as being made up.  However, again and again it has been vindicated through archaeology and other historical studies.  Further, people do not pause to think how thousands of years of writings could coalesce so well and point to a person so significant that the world changed its dating system to accommodate.  Finally, we often fail to remember how accurate it is in mirroring back the nature of humanity in such piercing ways.  Case in point, Hezekiah and Sennacherib.
 
2 Chronicles 32 tells of when these two great kings met in a series of sieges around Jerusalem from 705 – 689 BC.  Hezekiah at the height of his religious reforms and political power finds over 40 cities throughout Judah seized.  Despite having offered tribute in a moment of fear of the vast Assyrian power, Hezekiah realized nothing would satisfy the onslaught of Sennacherib.  He appeals to the people to trust in God and cries out with Isaiah in prayer.   In the middle of the night God sends deliverance and the Assyrian army fled despite having claimed to have ‘shut up Hezekiah like a bird in a cage.’  We see a story here told again and again in scripture.  
 
Absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Even for someone as righteous as Hezekiah.  It may seem like a minor infraction on Hezekiah’s part – paying for protection to prevent destruction of all of the reforms he had oversaw – but it still was a departure from faith and a matter of the heart God was pursuing(2 Chron 32:25-31).  
 
Some of our biggest falls come when everything is going well. Hezekiah worked wholeheartedly and faithfully for God and he prospered (2 Chron 31:21-32:1).  It was not in the midst of tragedy, but rather unparalleled success that trials and temptations came to Hezekiah and Judah.
 
There is still more.  If you turn to this story or have been following along in Reading the Bible in One Year, you know there is so much more to this story.  Opening the Bible each time reveals new layers of history, religion, truth, humanity and more.
 
Ultimately, Hezekiah’s heart turned towards God and offers us renewed hope.  Not in our own efforts or circumstances, but in the truly righteous king the Biblical story goes onto reveal – our king Jesus. No matter the righteous work we have done or the enormous circumstances which arise, God pursues the depths of who we are and offers renewed hearts.  With these we can have shalom and put our hands faithfully to the kingdom work ahead.
 
Excited to be on this lifelong journey in the Word with you.
 
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Joseph
 

One Response to “The Bible tells us more than just about God”

  1. Rachel Stella says:

    I just love this! I’m a Bible study teacher and love to get as many teachings about the Bible as I can.

    Thanks so much!

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