Hezekiah’s Kingdom

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These small group studies take us through almost twenty of the key events in the Old Testament. Our Old Testament Survey contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

Old Testament Survey Lesson 15 – Kingdom Under Hezekiah

2 Chronicles 29-32

  1. Hezekiah restores worship to Yahweh (Chapters 29)

    1. Hezekiah becomes king (29:1-3)

    2. He recognizes the sin problem (4-7)

    3. He sees the results of the sin (8-9)

    4. He plans to lead the kingdom in repentance (10-14)

    5. He commands the priests to cleanse the temple (15-19)

    6. He assembles the people for worship (20-36)

  2. He re-institutes the Passover (Chapter 30)

    1. He circulates a proclamation calling the people to come for the Passover (30:1-10)

        1. The content of the proclamation (7-9)

    2. Some of the people respond (10-14)

    3. The Passover celebrated (15-27)

  3. He continues the revival (Chapter 31)

    1. The land is purified of idols (1)

    2. Hezekiah appoints the priests and Levites (2)

    3. He sets his tithe (3)

    4. He commands the people to tithe (4)

    5. The people respond heartily (5-11)

    6. The priests and Levites receive the tithes (12-19)

    7. Hezekiah did what was right and prospered (20-21)

  4. Hezekiah has victory over the Assyrians (32:1-23)

    1. Sennacherib attacks Judah (1)

    2. Hezekiah prepares to meet the invaders (2-6)

    3. He encourages the people to rely on God (7-8)

    4. The Assyrians mock Hezekiah and God (9-19)

    5. Hezekiah and Isaiah pray to God for deliverance (20)

    6. God delivers Judah from the Assyrians (21-22)

    7. Hezekiah is exalted (23)

  5. Hezekiah’s last days (32:24-33)

    1. Hezekiah’s pride brings him sickness (24-25)

    2. Hezekiah repented and was healed (26)

    3. God prospers the kingdom under Hezekiah (27-31)

    4. Hezekiah dies (32-33)

Questions:

What was the state of Judah when Hezekiah became king?

What are some of the important things Hezekiah did as king?

What do you notice about when Hezekiah started the revival?

What character qualities did Hezekiah have?

What made Hezekiah a good leader?

How did Hezekiah help turn Judah back to God? What were some of the active measures that he took?

How can we follow Hezekiah’s example in leadership?

What areas might we follow his example in (we aren’t kings)?

What was special about the Passover celebration?

What can we learn from chapter 31 about tithing?

Who tithed? What was their attitude in tithing?

Who did they tithe to? Why?

Why was it necessary to tithe to the priests? Why didn’t the priests get other jobs to support themselves?

What are the biblical principles for us to follow in tithing? Is it optional?

What do you notice about Hezekiah’s response to the Assyrian’s attack?

What active measures did he take to protect his people?

Who did he rely on?

What can we learn from this?

Who is credited with defeating the Assyrians?

What shortcomings did Hezekiah have?

What happened with the emissaries from Babylon?

Why did God “need” to do this to know what was in Hezekiah’s heart?

Observations –

29 (Hezekiah restores worship to Yahweh)

Hezekiah had a great start to his reign spiritually and politically. In the very first month of his reign he opened up the temple again and began to repair it. He called the priests and Levites and had them go through the temple removing all the unclean things from Ahaz’s reign and getting it clean and ready for worship of the Lord again. He recognized that his fathers had sinned greatly in God’s sight and also recognized that God’s wrath was on Judah for this. A good leader notices the spiritual condition of his people. He notices what problems are afflicting them. He tries to see the source of those afflictions. Hezekiah knew Judah was in trouble spiritually. He knew God was angry with them because of it. He knew the problem. Then he took action to correct it. He made a plan to help Judah follow after God. See 29:10. Hezekiah was also a good encourager and motivator (29:11).

In several places the passage says the “commandment of the king” (29:15). This shows that the revival was clearly instigated by Hezekiah. They were doing the things because he commanded and encouraged them too. This began on the “first day of the first month” (29:17). Hezekiah didn’t waste time. He started immediately! This is another good principle for us to follow, especially as leaders. Don’t wait to serve God, but make use of every opportunity. When you know God wants you to do something, do it immediately! Don’t let any grass grow under your feet. Who knows if the opportunity will still be there later? We need to take initiative and be quick to serve God.

Another point is about consecration. The priests needed to consecrate themselves for service to God. If we want to serve God, we should also be clean vessels. That means we need to repent of our sins and purify our hearts to serve God.

Hezekiah commemorated the re-opening of the temple by many sacrifices to God. The people rejoiced. Serving God brings joy.

30 (Hezekiah re-institutes the Passover)

It seems like from 2 Kings 23:22 that the Passover had not been celebrated in large numbers since the days of judges, hundreds of years before. This was supposed to be an everlasting ordinance in Israel, an eternal memorial. But the king’s and the people’s hearts had been far from God. Because of that the Passover had not been celebrated in a long time. It was celebrated now because of Hezekiah’s good leadership. He sent couriers throughout the land, and throughout the Northern tribes that were left, to invite them to the celebration. The content of the proclamation included exhortations to repent of sin and be faithful to God. It included a promise that God would have compassion on them if they did turn to Him. Most of the people from the Northern tribes showed no interest, but mocked and scorned the couriers. That they would have this kind of response is evidence of how far they had fallen away from God.

As good a leader as Hezekiah was, all the things that happened have to be credited to God. 30:12 says, “The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of the Lord.” We can work our hardest to serve God and to bring people to Him, but if God doesn’t work in their hearts it will be to no avail.

This Passover is an example of God’s mercy and of the primary importance of the heart rather than rituals. Firstly, the Passover was delayed a month because at the time it was supposed to be celebrated the priests had not consecrated themselves. Even a month later many of the people who came had not purified themselves. Technically they weren’t allowed to eat the Passover in this state. But Hezekiah prayed for them, acknowledging that their hearts were right before God even though they hadn’t followed the purification rules. Why did God heal the people and allow them to do this? He knew their hearts. He knew they wanted to turn back and follow him. The event happened suddenly (29:36), when for scores of years Judah and Israel had been immersed in gross sins and completely vile in front of God. There wasn’t much time or warning for them. This passage shows that God is concerned with our hearts. Going through the rules of purification was indeed one way to show that their hearts were right before God, but in this case of sudden repentance there hadn’t been time for that. If someone asks about a person on their deathbed or drowning who repents, and if they can be saved without showing their faith by baptism or other good works, this is a good passage to show them.

31 (The revival continues)

A good leader will spur his followers and they will get positive energy and motivation from him. This was the case with Hezekiah. After the celebration of the Passover the people became excited to serve God. In their zeal they ripped down idols and altars and high places. They cleansed the land of the filth of false gods.

Hezekiah didn’t stop there. He appointed priests and had them return to duty. He also set a fixed tithe for the burnt offerings. And he commanded the people to tithe to the priests and Levites as well. In this way, they could “devote themselves to the law of the Lord” (31:4). It is God’s law (see Malachi 3:8-12, Luke 11:42, Exodus 23:19). The priests and Levites were do a portion of what the other people got. Why? They were working for God. We know from the New Testament also that a worker is worthy of his wages. The people responded well. How long did it take them to respond? They responded immediately, “as soon as the order spread”. This is quick obedience. They didn’t delay. They brought in “abundantly”. They didn’t skimp or try to give as little as possible. They gave generously. So here are several principles of tithing. It is commanded by God. It shows our devotion to him. It is for the workers of God to carry out his work. It is to be paid by all. It is to be followed without delay. It is to be given with generosity.

The tithes were then dispersed to the priests and Levites.

The end of this chapter is a commentary on Hezekiah’s work and on his heart. He was devoted to God and prospered.

32:1-23 (The victory over the Assyrians)

This is another good passage in this story and very applicable. When Hezekiah discovered that the Assyrians were coming he immediately began preparing to defend the city. He cut off the water supply that was outside the city (an amazing engineering feat). He rebuilt the weak parts of the wall. He built another extra wall. He strengthened a fortress in the city. He made weapons and shields. He appointed military leaders. He gathered the people for war and spoke encouragingly to them. This is a classic picture of a good leader. He was courageous and bold. He showed foresight and prepared well. He did everything in his power to protect the people under him. But it gets better. Even people in the world will do this sometimes. But even though Hezekiah did everything he could to prepare, he knew the results were in God’s hand. This is what gave him courage. This is what prompted him to do the things he did to get ready. He had hope. He was trusting in God. His speech also inspired the people. What principles can we get from this?

We need to do everything in our power to do our best possible job, hoping and trusting in God with the result. We shouldn’t just sit back lazily and ask God to help. Also, our hope and trust in God should inspire us to do our best job for Him.

The Assyrians had a far superior force (it must have been significantly more than 200,000 19:35). This is what they were trusting in. They mocked the Judeans and hurled insult after insult against them, their city, their king, and their God. Hezekiah responded with Isaiah by turning to God in prayer. 2 Kings records more of that prayer. The basic content was asking God to vindicate His name. They were concerned for God’s glory and honor. God did do so, killing 185,000 of that army, leaving only the weakest and most cowardly of the warriors left. Hezekiah prepared, but the victory belonged to God (32:22).

Hezekiah became sick and turned to God for help. God told him that he would live fifteen years longer. Many think it was a mistake for Hezekiah to beg for his life, when God had told him through Isaiah that his time was up. Because of this Hezekiah later showed the Babylonians the wealth of the empire, which probably contributed to the their invasion later. In addition, at some point Hezekiah became proud with all the glory that he was receiving. It is so easy to do, even for godly and dedicated people. He served God and God exalted him. But when he was exalted he became prideful. However, in the end he humbled himself again. This serves as an important reminder to us that we must not become prideful with any achievements we have done, because they all come from God

Hezekiah was a good king, devoted to God. He was not perfect and struggled with pride. He was a great leader of his people and led a revival throughout the land. He died as one of the best kings of Judah.

Cross References –

2 Kings 18-20

18:7 (He rebelled against the king of Assyria)

18:13-16 (Hezekiah paid off Assyria to withdraw on their first attack)

18:27 (The people of the city were in a desperate situation, perhaps eating their own dung)

18:32 (The Assyrians offer to take them away to a wonderful exile)

19:7-8 (The Assyrians withdrew because of a rumor)

19:20-34 (God promised to protect the people of Judah)

19:35 (God killed 185,000 of the Assyrians)

20:1-11 (Hezekiah’s sickness, prayer, sign, and recovery)

20:12-21 (Hezekiah’s foolishness before the Babylonian envoy)

Luke 22:25-26 – Leaders should be servants. They shouldn’t lord their power over others.

Malachi 3:8-12 – Tithes and offerings.

Luke 11:42 – It is right to tithe (not the main point of the verse, but inferred)

Exodus 23:19 – We are to give the first fruits to God.

Main Points –

  1. Hezekiah was a good leader – He believed in God and he led the people to follow God. He gave his entire heart for serving God. He cleansed the temple, reestablished the Passover, encouraged people to tithe, and helped protect Judah from Assyria. One of the things that made him a great leader is that he did what he asked the people to do.

  2. Tithing is a biblical principle that we should follow – One thing that showed Hezekiah’s heart for God was his willingness to give back to God what God had given to him. He wasn’t selfish. One might say that he was rich, sure he could do that. But the people, who were not rich, also did it. God wants us to tithe and to rejoice at this opportunity. Tithing should go for God’s work and God’s people.

  3. Hezekiah prepared to meet the Assyrians to the best that he was able, yet he still relied on God – Hezekiah trusted in God fully. He didn’t rely on his own strength or his own preparations. Yet even though he believed in God, he didn’t just sit back and do nothing and wait for God to save him. He did his absolute best to prepare Judah to meet the attack. This is a good model for us. We need to trust in God completely, but this still doesn’t free us from any responsibility.

Old Testament Survey #16 – Esther Disperson

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