2Kings 19-21

Sunday Evening Bible Study

September 15, 2002

A Time of Trouble

Sometimes things in life can be totally overwhelming.

A mother has breast cancer.

A man is suddenly and unexpectedly laid off of work.

A friend is shot in a drive-by shooting.

The doctor tells a father he has cancer.

A family member is told they only have two months to live.

Parents get a divorce and a family is torn.

A loved one is taken to the hospital.

These are just some of the things happening right now to folks in our church. These are some of the very real things that happen to real people each and every day.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Where do you go when life overwhelms you?

Hezekiah has been threatened by the Assyrian king.  His city is soon to be wiped out.

2Kings 19

:1 Hezekiah …went into the house of the LORD.

Lesson

Run home to Jesus

I have these vague memories of not being very happy in kindergarten.  My parents tell me that it was a pretty traumatic time for me because my mom had spent a lot of time in the hospital.  One thing I do remember was running home from school.
Hezekiah is running home to the Lord.
There is no other place to go.

(Psa 46:1-5 KJV) God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. {2} Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; {3} Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. {4} There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. {5} God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

When we are in deep times of trouble, we must develop that knee-jerk reaction of being able to run to the Lord.

:3 for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth

The picture is that of a woman delivering her baby, and having a long, painful, exhausting labor, and has finally run out of strength.  There are no doctors to deliver the baby.  In ancient times, women died because of this.

The idea is that the people are at the end of their rope.

Lesson:

God specializes in rope ends.

Sometimes we have to get to the point where we run out of strength before we finally come to God for help.
If there were no Egyptian armies closing in behind us, then we’d never see the Red Sea part.
If there was no awesome Assyrian army strangling the city, then there would never have been the great deliverance they’re going to see.
Paul wrote:
(2 Cor 12:9-10 KJV) And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. {10} Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

:4  wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that are left

Hezekiah has been faced with the demands of the ambassador of Assyria.  He sends his delegation now to another ambassador, God’s ambassador, the prophet Isaiah.

Lesson

Ask for prayer

When you’ve got tough times, ask others to pray with you.
The awesome apostle Paul often asked for prayer:
To the Romans:

(Rom 15:30 NLT)  Dear friends, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit.

To the Ephesians:

(Eph 6:19-20 NLT)  And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words as I boldly explain God's secret plan that the Good News is for the Gentiles, too. {20} I am in chains now for preaching this message as God's ambassador. But pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.

To the Philippians:

(Phil 1:19 KJV)  For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

To the Colossians:

(Col 4:3 NLT)  Don't forget to pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to preach about his secret plan--that Christ is also for you Gentiles. That is why I am here in chains.

To the Thessalonians:

1Th 5:25  Brethren, pray for us. (AV)

2Th 3:1  Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have [free] course, and be glorified, even as [it is] with you: (AV)

If the apostle Paul felt like he needed others to pray for him, how about us?

:8  Rabshakeh returned …

Sennacherib had moved his armies from Lachish to Libnah in his campaign against the cities of Judah. He’s getting closer.

:9 And when he heard say of Tirhakah  …he sent messengers

Tirhakah – king of "Cush".

Cush covers modern-day southern Egypt, Sudan, and northern Ethiopia.

Apparently, this was the king of Egypt that Rabshakeh had taunted Judah with before:

2Ki 18:21  Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, [even] upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so [is] Pharaoh king of Egypt unto all that trust on him. (AV)

Messengers arrive from Sennacherib with a letter.

:13 Where is the king of Hamath …

I imagine that for a few weeks or months, things might have calmed down for Hezekiah.  Rabshakeh had backed off.  But now another threat has developed and things are scary again.

Lesson

Fear doesn’t stay away

I find that there are times in my life when things terrify me. And I will sometimes do the right thing and run to the Lord. The Lord will comfort me. And then a few hours later, the fear is back.
What do you do?
You keep praying.  You keep going to the Lord.

:14  and spread it before the LORD.

To me it’s kind of like Hezekiah is taking his big problem to His friend and showing Him the problem.

Illustration:

If you got a huge bill from the phone company, and you just can’t believe it, so you take your phone bill over to your friend’s house and sit down at the kitchen table and spread it all out for him to see.

Hezekiah doesn’t see prayer as some kind of irrelevant religious thing.  He’s taking this thing to God.

Lesson:

Real prayer

I sometimes get to feeling that some people think prayer is some kind of ritual that is nothing but a bunch of words you speak when you’re in a religious place, like church.
Corrie Ten Boom wrote, “Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?”
David writes:
Ps 34:4  I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. (AV)

:15 …thou hast made heaven and earth.

Lesson

Is your God big enough?

He is after all VERY BIG. The problem is that sometimes we get our eyes off of Him.
Our problems can seem very big at times. And if we’re not careful, we can get overwhelmed with the fact that our problems are bigger than we are.
But God is BIGGER.
Isaiah, the same prophet that Hezekiah worked with wrote this about God:
Isaiah 40:12-17  Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? 13  Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? 14  With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding? 15  Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. 16  And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering. 17  All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.

When you begin to realize just how awesomely powerful God is, that He is in control, that you actually have access to Him through Jesus Christ, and that He is YOUR God, the problems don't seem quite so overwhelming anymore.

:17 the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands,

Yes, it’s true. Sometimes our problems are WAY bigger than we are.

:21 The virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee

NIV - The Daughter of Jerusalem tosses her head as you flee.

:25  ... how I have done it

The very things that Assyria was boasting about were only things that God had set up for it to do in the first place.

In Isaiah 10, we have a message given to the Assyrians in prophecy, saying much the same thing, that Assyria better be careful about thinking that it was great than God:

(Isa 10:15-16 NLT)  Can the ax boast greater power than the person who uses it? Is the saw greater than the person who saws? Can a whip strike unless a hand is moving it? Can a cane walk by itself? {16} Listen now, king of Assyria! Because of all your evil boasting, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, will send a plague among your proud troops, and a flaming fire will ignite your glory.

Lesson:

Watch out for pride.

All that we have is from the Lord.
Anything worthwhile we accomplish was done by the Lord.
Illustration:
There’s an old story about a proud woodpecker who was tapping away at a dead tree when the sky unexpectedly turned black and the thunder began to roll. Undaunted, he went right on working. Suddenly a bolt of lightning struck the old tree, splintering it into hundreds of pieces.  Startled but unhurt, the haughty bird flew off, screeching to his feathered friends, “Hey, everyone, look what I did! Look what I did!”
If we’re not careful, we can get all caught up in taking credit for some of the things that go on around us, things that God is clearly doing. Without the Lord no one amounts to anything, and in our own strength we cannot please Him.
Quote:
Peter Marshall: “Lord, when we are wrong, make us willing to change.  And when we are right, make us easy to live with.”

:29 And this shall be a sign unto thee …

This sign is for Hezekiah, not Sennacherib.

This sign is one that lasts over three years, and the point is to encourage Hezekiah that not only is Sennacherib gone, but he's not coming back!

Because of the siege on the city, they had not been able to plant crops as they should have.

Yet God would wonderfully supply the needs of the people by allowing the ground to bring enough of a harvest to feed the people.

In the second year, perhaps the people were still too scared to go out and plant seed, but the ground would still yield crops.

In the third year, it will be life back to normal with planting and harvesting.

:30  the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward

Though the other nations were just like the grass that grows on the rooftops (vs.26), without many roots, and withering under the heat, the Judeans would have deep roots, and become fruitful.

Lesson:

Deep roots take you through tough times.

Jesus told a parable of four kinds of places that seed can get planted on:
The roadside, the stony soil, the thorny soil, and the good soil.
Of the stony soil, Jesus said:
(Mat 13:20-21 NLT)  The rocky soil represents those who hear the message and receive it with joy. {21} But like young plants in such soil, their roots don't go very deep. At first they get along fine, but they wilt as soon as they have problems or are persecuted because they believe the word.

A plant that doesn't have very deep roots will whither and die when the weather turns hot and dry.

It doesn't have the equipment to keep itself watered.

Dig your roots deep into Jesus.  He said,
(John 15:4-5 KJV)  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. {5} I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
One of the ways we dig deeper in our relationship with Jesus is through His Word. David wrote:
(Psa 1:1-3 KJV)  Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. {2} But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. {3} And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
When we walk away from the ungodly ways of this world, and instead make God’s Word the treasure of our heart, even meditating on it, our roots start to grow deeper.

A tree planted by a river never has to worry about the lack of rainfall, it is always supplied by the river.

If you make God’s Word your source of joy and strength, instead of circumstances, then you never have to worry about withering under trials.

Lesson:

Trials make us stronger

Though Sennacherib claimed in his own journals that by this time he had taken 200,000 Judeans captive, the nation would go on.
Those that remained wouldn't just cease to be a nation, but in fact would grow stronger and stronger, bearing fruit just like their land would be doing.
The trials that we go through are part of God's refining process.
God uses the trials to purge out the bad stuff, leaving only the good stuff in our lives.
Illustration:
Forest fires

They're often thought of as a disaster, yet they are a part of the life cycle of a forest. A fire clears out accumulated undergrowth, and even is the means where some species of trees spread. There are some tree seeds that are only released in the heat of a fire.

On our trip to Yosemite, we learned that the government is now learning to let some fires burn.  The ancient Indians knew this.  The Indians in Yosemite Valley even used to set the valley on fire every year before they left for the winter.  When they came back in the spring, it was easier to hunt deer because they couldn’t hide in the undergrowth.

You may be going through the fire now.
But there may be a time of bearing fruit coming.

:31  the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this

zeal - qin'ah - ardour, zeal, jealousy

This is a word often translated "jealousy", as when a man becomes jealous about his wife (Num.5), or when a woman becomes jealous of her man.

God too, is jealous over His people, like a husband who feels like his wife belongs to him, and everybody else should keep their hands off.

God's jealousy is a good kind of jealousy.

Because God cares so much for we don’t have to be afraid.

His people, everybody else had better keep their hands OFF!

Lesson:

God has a fierce passion for His people.

(Isa 42:13 KJV)  The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies.
You have someone who cares very deeply for you, and will certainly rise to your defense.

Lesson

God isn’t finished with you yet.

You may be feeling that there is no hope.  But God is for you, not against you.  He will take care of all of His people.

:32  He shall not come into this city ...

The Assyrian army wouldn't be coming into Jerusalem.

:33  by the same shall he return

Sennacherib would be packing his bags soon for home.

:35  it came to pass that night

God doesn't wait around for this thing to happen.

:35  an hundred fourscore and five thousand

That’s 185,000! That’s one powerful angel!

:34  For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake

He wasn't waiting around to find out what else would happen.

Lesson

God brings deliverance in different ways

It doesn’t always happen overnight.
He doesn’t always make the problems disappear.
But He is watching over you to take care of you.
(Psa 91:14 KJV) Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

2Kings 20

:1-7  Hezekiah's healing

:1  In those days

Some think that it was during the time of the Assyrian invasion, before they actually were saved, that Hezekiah got sick.

But the account in 2Chronicles 32 seems to indicate that it was just after the deliverance, while he was being showered with gifts and glory from the surrounding nations.

The writer of Chronicles also tells us that Hezekiah had a pride problem:

2Ch 32:25  But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit [done] unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem. (AV)

Paul wrote:

2Co 12:7  And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. (AV)

Lesson:

Sometimes hardship comes to bring humility.

God desires that His people realize where their blessings have been coming from.
God desires His people to be humble.
Sometimes God has to allow hard times our way to break our pride:
Illustration:
Former heavyweight boxer James (Quick) Tillis is a cowboy from Oklahoma who fought out of Chicago in the early 1980s.  He still remembers his first day in the Windy City after his arrival from Tulsa.  “I got off the bus with two cardboard suitcases under my arms in downtown Chicago and stopped in front of the Sears Tower.  I put my suitcases down, and I looked up at the Tower and I said to myself, “I’m going to conquer Chicago.”  “When I looked down, the suitcases were gone.”
The Bible says:
Jas 4:6  But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. (AV)

:1  Hezekiah sick unto death

At the time, Hezekiah would have been 39 years old.

He lived to be 54 years old, this was 15 years before his death.

The sickness somehow involved some kind of boil (vs.7).

:1  Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live

What would you do if you got a message like this from God?

Lesson:

Are you ready?

Is your house in order?
If your doctor told you at your next checkup that you had some rare disease that would cause your death in a few days, what kind of things would you be trying to take care of?
For unbelievers:
Are you ready to meet God?

When you make it to the pearly gates, and you are asked, “Why should we let you in?” What will you respond?

Do you think you have enough good deeds stored up to outweigh your bad deeds?

You’ll never have enough to pay for your sins without help from Jesus.

For believers:
Are there people you need to talk to about Jesus?
Are there people you need to forgive?
Why don't we get these things done now?
Jesus told a story about a man who was so wrapped up in his work, that he had no time for God.
Luke 12:16-21  And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17  And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18  And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19  And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20  But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21  So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
Moses wrote:
Ps 90:12  So teach [us] to number our days, that we may apply [our] hearts unto wisdom. (AV)

:3  remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart

This can come off sounding kind of proud also.

But there's an element of truth to it.

There was no king like Hezekiah in following the Lord.

2Ki 18:5  He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor [any] that were before him. (AV)

:3  Hezekiah wept sore

bakah - to weep, bewail, cry, shed tears

gadowl - great; ... loud (in sound)

NIV - Hezekiah wept bitterly

Please don't look at Hezekiah as a "cry-baby".  After all, this man has just been told he's about to die.

Isaiah actually recorded Hezekiah's account of what he prayed for (Isa. 38:10-15)

Lesson:

Pour out your heart to the Lord.

It's okay to be a little weepy before the Lord.

Tell Him what's on your heart.

David wrote:

Ps 62:8  Trust in him at all times; [ye] people, pour out your heart before him: God [is] a refuge for us. Selah. (AV)

:4  afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him

I wonder if Isaiah had been praying with Hezekiah, or if he had just delivered the message and left while Hezekiah wept and prayed.

But before Isaiah could even get out of Hezekiah's house (or, palace), God's answer came to him.

Lesson:

Wait for God's answer.

It seems to me that too often I want to jump the gun and answer for the Lord before He gets a chance to speak for Himself.
Isaiah didn't have a word from the Lord while he was at Hezekiah's bedside.
But on the way out of the house, God's message came through.
When Moses was faced with one of his morning counseling sessions, the daughters of Zelophehad, we read:
Numbers 27:5-6  And Moses brought their cause before the LORD. 6  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ...
When Jeremiah was asked by the few remaining people whether or not they should flee into Egypt ...
Jer 42:4  Then Jeremiah the prophet said unto them, I have heard [you]; behold, I will pray unto the LORD your God according to your words; and it shall come to pass, [that] whatsoever thing the LORD shall answer you, I will declare [it] unto you; I will keep nothing back from you. (AV)

If you don't know the answer, then don't answer.

:5  I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears

Lesson:

God listens with compassion.

David wrote:
Ps 56:8 ¶ Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: [are they] not in thy book? (AV)

Apparently there were several customs about tears, one where friends would bring little tear bottles and save the tears of a loved one who was in pain, as a way of remembering a difficult time.

God cares very much for your sorrow.
2Corinthians 1:3-5  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4  Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

:5  behold, I will heal thee

This was Hezekiah's answer.

But it's not going to be everybody's answer.

:5  on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD

You'll be healed in three days, Hezekiah.

:6  I will add unto thy days fifteen years

God promises to grant fifteen more years to Hezekiah's life.

It's kind of interesting to note the age of Hezekiah's son when he takes the throne:

2Ki 21:1  Manasseh [was] twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name [was] Hephzibah. (AV)

It appears that Manasseh could have been born some time after Hezekiah's illness.

Since Manasseh was the worst king of the south ever, some have questioned whether or not Hezekiah did the right thing in praying for healing.

:7  Take a lump of figs

A "poultice" of figs was a common remedy for boils in the ancient world.

It's kind of as if Isaiah gives Hezekiah a prescription, and God heals Hezekiah through medicinal means.

Lesson:

God can heal through man's medicine.

We get to thinking at times that God's healing is only when somebody is cured without the help of doctors or medicine.
But God isn't limited to that.
God can use anything to heal.
Even some yucky spit-mud!

Joh 9:6-7  When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, 7  And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. (AV)

:8-11  The sign of recovery

:8  What shall be the sign

Hezekiah needs some encouragement that he is really going to be healed.

:9  shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees?

degrees - ma`alah - what comes up, thoughts; step, stair; steps (of sundial)

2Ki 20:9  And Isaiah said, "This shall be the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that He has spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten steps or go back ten steps?" (NAS)

Apparently, King Ahaz, in all his "redecorating" of the temple, had built some kind of a staircase, possibly one that served also as a sundial.

:10  It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees

It's no big thing to make the shadow go its normal direction.

:10  let the shadow return backward ten degrees

Hezekiah is asking for the shadow to go against it's normal direction.

:11  he brought the shadow ten degrees backward

The shadow went backward.

Whoa! Did God change the earth's rotation just for Hezekiah? Did God produce another light source just to make the shadow change?

:12-13  Hezekiah hosts the Babylonians

:12  Berodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon

Also known as “Merodach-Baladan”, and as “Marduk-apal-iddina”, the invader.

Under the Assyrian emperor Sargon, he revolted and took control over the city-state of Babylon from 721-710 b.c.

Sargon mounted a counter attack, and Merodach-Baladan was defeated.

When Sargon died, Merodach-Baladan attacked again, and ruled Babylon for six months, from 703-702 b.c., until he was again kicked out, this time by Sennacherib.

Note:  Babylon was not yet the world empire it would become, only a powerful city-state.

In 702 b.c. he fled to the country of Elam where he continued his efforts to resist the Assyrian control as a refugee.

It is thought that at this time he possibly heard about Hezekiah's encounters with the Assyrians, and may have sought support from Hezekiah as an ally.

:12  sent letters and a present unto Hezekiah: for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick

The letters and present were presumably sent under the guise of get-well presents, but more likely were meant to win Hezekiah as an ally.

After all, if there were 185,000 dead Assyrians lying around a man's kingdom, you'd want to be his friend too.

One of the parallel passages records:

2Ch 32:31  ...  who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was [done] in the land ...

It's possible that this king of Babylon had either heard of the miraculous victory over the Assyrian army, or even the sign of the shadow turning back ten steps to prove Hezekiah's healing.

:13  Hezekiah hearkened unto them

Merodach-Baladan had sent messengers with the letters and presents, and all these caught Hezekiah's attention.

Perhaps he was flattered by all this attention.

:13  shewed them all the house of his precious things

This seems kind of harmless, doesn't it?

This is the kind of thing you would do for a friendly emissary from a foreign government.

After all, this is what Solomon did with the Queen of Sheba:

1Ki 10:3  And Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was hidden from the king which he did not explain to her. (NAS)

Warning!

Danger up ahead!

One of the parallel passages reads:

2Ch 32:31  Howbeit in [the business of] the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was [done] in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all [that was] in his heart. (AV)
It wasn't so that God could find out what was in Hezekiah's heart, He already knew.

It was so Hezekiah could find out what was in his heart.

Jer 17:9-10  The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10  I the LORD search the heart, [I] try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, [and] according to the fruit of his doings. (AV)

Lesson:

Being left alone can show you your heart.

Hezekiah was "left" by the Lord.
It doesn't seem that he was going through a really bad trial or anything.
Only that God kind of stepped back a little.
I think it's kind of like those "dry" periods we go through, where nothing much is happening in our walk with God.
Not much good is happening.
Not much bad is happening.

You read your Bible, and you can hardly wait until you're finished so you can do something else.

For Hezekiah, God "left him" and we find out what Hezekiah is trusting in by what comes out of his mouth.
Lu 6:45  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. (AV)
We can just about hear Hezekiah as he leads the group around the palace grounds:

"Over here is all my silver, and over here is all my gold, and over here is all my spices ..."

Are you really trusting in the Lord?

:14-19  Coming Babylonian invasion

:14  Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country, even from Babylon

As if to say, "Don't worry Isaiah, these guys can't hurt us ..." Of course, Babylon is a "far country", but so is Assyria.

:15  What have they seen in thine house?

In other words, just how close are you getting to these guys???

:15  there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them

Hezekiah doesn't hide what he's done.

He doesn't see a need to.

:17  that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon

All of Hezekiah's boasting to the ambassadors of Babylon was only serving to provoke them to one day attack Jerusalem.

It would go down in the annals of history, for future Babylonian kings to know that there was a jewel of a city to conquer in Jerusalem.

Illustration:

It's like driving an expensive car into a bad neighborhood, leaving the car unlocked, with the keys in the ignition, and an expensive watch lying on the dashboard, and a big fat wallet with money hanging out of it on the seat.

You're just begging someone to steal it.

:18  thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away

Hezekiah's son, Manasseh will be taken away to Babylon (2Chron.33:11).

Future kings will also be taken away to Babylon (it is currently about 700 b.c.)

Jehoiachin would be taken to Babylon, 605 b.c. (2Ki.24:1)

Daniel and his friends were of the "royal seed" and taken to Babylon, 605 b.c. (Dan.1:3)

Zedekiah would be blinded and taken to Babylon, 586 b.c. (2Ki.25:7)

:18  they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon

eunuchs - could simply refer to servants or "chamberlains", but may also refer to men who have been castrated.

It is thought that Daniel and his friends fulfill this prophecy, though we don't know if Daniel was properly a "eunuch".

:19  Good is the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken

Some feel that Hezekiah is acknowledging his sin, and saying that God's Word is right and okay.

:19  Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days?

Other translations:

Gill:  it may be considered as a wish, "O that there were peace"

I have to tell you that I have a problem with this.

The commentaries all mention a little bit about Hezekiah's selfish attitude, but say something like, "Well, don't be too hard on the man ..."

But the Bible says:

Pr 13:22  A good [man] leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner [is] laid up for the just. (AV)

Lesson:

Your actions do affect others.

Sometimes we get to thinking that certain sins only affect us.
But I'm not sure I know of any that fit that description.

:20-21  Wrap up of Hezekiah

:20  the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might

We've been kind of dwelling on Hezekiah's problems, but we need to keep it balance with the fact that overall he was a VERY good king.

Where as other kings had taken the people into idolatry, Hezekiah had led the people back to the Lord.

:20  how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city

The digging of the Siloam tunnel:

Using only hand tools, two sets of construction workers dug from opposite ends, through almost 600 yards of solid rock, to meet in the middle.

Then they stopped up the spring, and water was brought into the city to the pool of Siloam.

The tunnel was lost in time, but archaeologists discovered it in 1880, along with an inscription detailing how the project was completed.

:21  Hezekiah slept with his fathers: and Manasseh his son reigned in his stead

A good king, with his problems, finishes his reign.

And the bad-news kid steps up to bat.

:1-9  Manasseh's wickedness

:1-18 Manasseh reigns in Judah

:1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hephzibah.

Manasseh[email protected] – “causing to forget”

twelve years old – This would seem to indicate that he was conceived three years after Hezekiah’s life had been extended.

Tradition has it that Manasseh ruled as “co-regent” with his father Hezekiah for ten years.

fifty and five years – this is the longest reign of any king in the south.

Sometimes we have this notion that the nicer the king, the longer the reign. Not so.

HephzibahChephtsiy bahh – “my delight is in her”; King Hezekiah was married to a gal named Hephzibah (2Ki. 21:1).  It’s interesting to think that Isaiah lived during this time.

Gill: it is a tradition of the Jews that she was the daughter of Isaiah, whose name, they say, is not mentioned, because so wicked a king was unworthy of such a grandfather.

(Isa 62:4-5 KJV) Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. {5} For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.

be termed ‘amar – to say, speak, utter; (Niphal) to be told, to be said, to be called

Forsakenazab – (Qal) to leave; to depart from, abandon, forsake, neglect

Ps 22:1  My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Ps 27:10  When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.
The Jews have felt very forsaken, especially those who have endured the Holocaust.

Desolate[email protected]mamah devastation, waste, desolation

shalt be calledqara’ – to call, call out, recite, read, cry out, proclaim

2Ki 21:1  Manasseh [was] twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name [was] Hephzibah.

Beulahba‘al (actually, here it’s form is [email protected]) – (Qal) to marry, be lord (husband) over; to rule over.  This is the root word that the god Baal gets its name from.  It means “married”.

delightethchaphets – to delight in, take pleasure in. , desire, be pleased with.  The root of “Hephzibah”.

shall be marriedba‘al – to marry, rule over, possess, own; (Niphal) to be married.

Lesson

He turns desolation into delight.

God would be taking this city of Jerusalem and changing it from a place of desolation, of disappointment, into a place of His delight.
Though you may FEEL like God thinks you are a disappointment, the truth is that you are His delight!!!
How could it be that God could take someone “forsaken” like me, and make me His delight?

It happened at the cross, where Jesus took all the bad things in my life and cleared them away by dying in my place.

(Isa 53:4-5 NIV) Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. {5} But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Illustration

A Perfect Mistake
By Cheryl Walterman Stewart
Grandpa Nybakken loved life—especially when he could play a trick on somebody. At those times, his large Norwegian frame shook with laughter while he feigned innocent surprise, exclaiming, “Oh, forevermore!” But on a cold Saturday in downtown Chicago, Grandpa felt that God played a trick on him, and Grandpa wasn’t laughing. Mother’s father worked as a carpenter. On this particular day, he was building some crates for the clothes his church was sending to an orphanage in China. On his way home, he reached into his shirt pocket to find his glasses, but they were gone. He remembered putting them there that morning, so he drove back to the church. His search proved fruitless. When he mentally replayed his earlier actions, he realized what happened. The glasses had slipped out of his pocket unnoticed and fallen into one of the crates, which he had nailed shut. His brand new glasses were heading for China! The Great Depression was at its height, and Grandpa had six children. He had spent twenty dollars for those glasses that very morning. “It’s not fair,” he told God as he drove home in frustration. “I’ve been very faithful in giving of my time and money to your work, and now this.” Several months later, the director of the orphanage was on furlough in the United States. He wanted to visit all the churches that supported him in China, so he came to speak one Sunday night at my grandfather’s small church in Chicago. Grandpa and his family sat in their customary seats among the sparse congregation. The missionary began by thanking the people for their faithfulness in supporting the orphanage. “But most of all,” he said, “I must thank you for the glasses you sent last year. You see, the Communists had just swept through the orphanage, destroying everything, including my glasses. I was desperate. “Even if I had the money, there was simply no way of replacing those glasses. Along with not being able to see well, I experienced headaches every day, so my coworkers and I were much in prayer about this. Then your crates arrived. When my staff removed the covers, they found a pair of glasses lying on top.” The missionary paused long enough to let his words sink in. Then, still gripped with the wonder of it all, he continued: “Folks, when I tried on the glasses, it was as though they had been custom-made just for me! I want to thank you for being a part of that.” The people listened, happy for the miraculous glasses. But the missionary surely must have confused their church with another, they thought. There were no glasses on their list of items to be sent overseas. But sitting quietly in the back, with tears streaming down his face, an ordinary carpenter realized the Master Carpenter had used him in an extraordinary way.
Sometimes God takes the things that are painful for us and uses them in the lives of others.

marriethba‘al – (Qal) to marry, be lord (husband) over; to rule over

:5 and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.

rejoicethmasows – exultation, joy, rejoicing

rejoicesuws – to exult, rejoice; display joy

Lesson

You are God’s delight.

(Isa 62:5 NLT) Your children will care for you with joy, O Jerusalem, just as a young man cares for his bride. Then God will rejoice over you as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride.
The picture is that of newlyweds. Newlyweds are supposed to have great joy with each other.
Do you consider yourself a person that God delights in? Can you say to yourself, “God delights in ___________” and put your name in the blank? If you are a sinner who has turned to Jesus, it’s the truth. Not because I told you, but because God’s Word has told you.

:2  he did that which was evil

This was one bad king.

He is going to be known as the worst of the worst.

Yet his dad was one of the best kings.

He even possibly ruled with his dad together for ten years.

And it's not hard to think that Hephzibah was most likely a great mom as well.

Lesson:

Sometimes bad kids come from good parents.

I think it's wrong when we look at people who have "gone bad" and wonder what kind of parents they must have had to turn out so bad.
Yes, good parenting has a tendency to turn out good kids, but it's not a guarantee.
Look at Franklin Graham, the son of Billy and Ruth.
If it weren't for his turning to the Lord, he would have become one rebellious son, most likely with no fault to his parents.
You might say to me, "But Hezekiah had his problems too, he was a proud man, and Billy Graham was probably never around when his son needed him ..."
If you're thinking that bad children are products of disfunctional families, the problem is there is no such thing as a "perfect" or "functional" family.
All of us have sin.
All of us make mistakes.
Each person will grow up and have to face God with the consequences of their own actions, and not give excuses like blaming it on their parents.
De 24:16  The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin. (AV)

:3  he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed;

He’s now destroyed all the reformation work his father had done.

:3  he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel;

grove - 'asherah  (or Astarte) a Phoenician goddess; also an image of the same

In the northern kingdom, Baal worship, and worship of Astarte was brought in by Ahab through his marriage to Jezebel.

But in the northern kingdom, Baal worship had been wiped out by a later king, Jehu, who removed all Baal worship from the northern kingdom, and yet it continues on in the southern kingdom.

:4  he built altars in the house of the LORD,

Altars actually inside the "holy place", inside the doors of the temple itself.

:6  he made his son pass through the fire,

This was the worship of Molech, just as the Canaanites and Phoenicians worshipped.

Molech was formed as a bronze statue with his arms outstretched.  He was heated in the fire until he became red hot, and then the little children would be placed in his arms as a sacrifice as the priests beat their drums and yelled their chants to drown out the baby's screams as it died in the arms of Molech.

:6  observed times,

2Ki 21:6  practiced sorcery (NIV)

The idea is to determine which days are your lucky days and which days are your unlucky days.

This was done either through judging omens (like looking at a cat's liver to see if it's going to be a good day) or through astrology (checking your chart).

:6  dealt with familiar spirits and wizards:

This was all forbidden by the Lord:

(Deu 18:10-12 KJV)  There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, {11} Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. {12} For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

:7  he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house,

He actually places a figure of Astarte right in the temple of Yahweh.

:9  Manasseh seduced them to do more evil

seducedta‘ah – to err, wander, go astray, stagger; (Hiphil) to cause to wander; to cause to wander (of intoxication); to cause to err, mislead (mentally and morally)

(Prov 29:12 NKJV)  If a ruler pays attention to lies, All his servants become wicked.

:10-16  Prophetic Warnings

:10  the LORD spake by his servants the prophets,

We think the prophets God used might have included:  Isaiah, Joel, Nahum, and Habakkuk.

God doesn't let wickedness continue without addressing it.

God always give plenty of warning.

:13  I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab:

These are construction terms, a line and plummet being used to make sure things are being built straight and true.

A measuring line was used to measure distance, a plum line is used to measure whether something is standing vertical or not.

It's the idea that God would be judging the southern kingdom by the same standard that He judged the northern kingdom.

If the northern kingdom didn't get away with it, neither would the southern kingdom.

Lesson:

God's judgment is uniform.

God doesn't have different standards of judgment, but one.
He is the fairest of all judges.
Quote:
Billy Graham has said that if God doesn't judge the United States for its wickedness, then He'll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.
Are we praying for our nation?

:13  I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish,

Time to wash the dirty dishes. Pretty vivid picture.

:14  and deliver them into the hand of their enemies;

This would happen during the Babylonian captivity, 586 b.c.

:15  provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt,

Though Manasseh was a large part of it, there is also a sense in which the judgement that was coming was building up over a LONG time.

:16  Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much,

Tradition says that Isaiah was martyred during the reign of Manasseh (696-642) by being sawed in two inside a hollow log (cf. Heb. 11:37)

(Heb 11:37 KJV)  They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;

The Jewish version goes like this:

``Manasseh sought to kill Isaiah, and he fled from him, and fled to a cedar, and the cedar swallowed him up, all but the fringe of his garment; they came and told him (Manasseh), he said unto them, go and saw the cedar,  "and they sawed the cedar", and blood was seen to come out.''

:17  the rest of the acts of Manasseh; all that he did,

This isn't all there is to know about Manasseh.

(2 Chr 33:10-17 NKJV)  And the LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they would not listen. {11} Therefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze fetters, and carried him off to Babylon. {12} Now when he was in affliction, he implored the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, {13} and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God. {14} After this he built a wall outside the City of David on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, as far as the entrance of the Fish Gate; and it enclosed Ophel, and he raised it to a very great height. Then he put military captains in all the fortified cities of Judah. {15} He took away the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the LORD and in Jerusalem; and he cast them out of the city. {16} He also repaired the altar of the LORD, sacrificed peace offerings and thank offerings on it, and commanded Judah to serve the LORD God of Israel. {17} Nevertheless the people still sacrificed on the high places, but only to the LORD their God.

Historical note:

Assyrian annals indicate that Esarhaddon (681-669 B.C.) assembled at Nineveh all the kings of the "westland" to secure Ashurbanipal's succession. Manasseh is listed among the 22 kings of the "Hatti-country" who were in vassalage to Esarhaddon.

:13  and prayed to Him;

The "Prayer of Manasseh," one of the 14 books of the O.T. Apocrypha, is based entirely on these four verses.

It has not been considered "inspired" by the church, and though it might have interesting historical value, don't try to make too much from it ...

Manasses 1:1-15  O Lord Almighty, God of our fathers, of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and of their righteous posterity; 2  thou who hast made heaven and earth with all their order; 3  who hast shackled the sea by thy word of command, who hast confined the deep and sealed it with thy terrible and glorious name; 4  at whom all things shudder, and tremble before thy power, 5  for thy glorious splendor cannot be borne, and the wrath of thy threat to sinners is irresistible; 6  yet immeasurable and unsearchable is thy promised mercy, 7 ¶ for thou art the Lord Most High, of great compassion, long-suffering, and very merciful, and repentest over the evils of men. Thou, O Lord, according to thy great goodness hast promised repentance and forgiveness to those who have sinned against thee; and in the multitude of thy mercies thou hast appointed repentance for sinners, that they may be saved. 8  Therefore thou, O Lord, God of the righteous, hast not appointed repentance for the righteous, for Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, who did not sin against thee, but thou hast appointed repentance for me, who am a sinner. 9  For the sins I have committed are more in number than the sand of the sea; my transgressions are multiplied, O Lord, they are multiplied! I am unworthy to look up and see the height of heaven because of the multitude of my iniquities. 10  I am weighted down with many an iron fetter, so that I am rejected because of my sins, and I have no relief; for I have provoked thy wrath and have done what is evil in thy sight, setting up abominations and multiplying offenses. 11 And now I bend the knee of my heart, beseeching thee for thy kindness. 12 I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned, and I know my transgressions. 13 ¶ I earnestly beseech thee, forgive me, O Lord, forgive me! Do not destroy me with my transgressions! Do not be angry with me for ever or lay up evil for me; do not condemn me to the depths of the earth. For thou, O Lord, art the God of those who repent, 14  and in me thou wilt manifest thy goodness; for, unworthy as I am, thou wilt save me in thy great mercy, 15 and I will praise thee continually all the days of my life. For all the host of heaven sings thy praise, and thine is the glory for ever. Amen.

:13  He received his entreaty, heard his supplication

Lesson:

There's grace for all.

You may feel like you've committed the worse sin that's ever been done.
Yet God offers you His complete forgiveness.
(1 John 1:9 KJV)  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Quote:
Forgiveness is always free. But that doesn’t mean that confession is always easy. Sometimes it is hard. Incredibly hard. It is painful (sometimes literally) to admit our sins and entrust ourselves to God’s care.

Erwin W. Lutzer (1941– )

:17  Nevertheless the people did sacrifice still

Even though Manasseh seems to have repented, and he was forgiven, yet the results of his sin were devastating, leading the people into deep sin, and setting in motion the final judgment of God upon Judah.

Lesson:

Forgiveness doesn't always remove consequences.

Sometimes we can fool ourselves into thinking that if we commit a sin, it will be okay because we can just ask repent and all will be okay.
But sometimes there are irreversible consequences to our sin.
Example:
If you go find a prostitute and give her employment, you may be forgiven in the morning, but you also may have herpes, syphilis, or even AIDS as well.

21:19-26  Amon's wicked reign

:19  Amon

Amon = "skilled workman" or "master workman"

:19  his mother's name was Meshullemeth,

 Meshullemeth = "friend"

:21  he walked in all the way that his father walked in

Manasseh was rebelled against the Lord.

He was a guy with an "open mind" and worshipped about anything he thought that he could.

He worshipped Molech, Baal, and Ashteroth

He worshipped everything in the heavens - sun, moon, stars, etc.

He built altars to other gods right in the temple of the Lord.

Finally, after being taken captive by the Assyrians, and hauled off to the city of Babylon, he came to his senses and cried out to God for help.

He repented and God had him returned to his throne, where he tried to stop all the worship of idols that he had initiated.

But it was kind of too late for some people, especially his own son.

Lesson:

I want to be like daddy when I grow up.

There's something in kids that wants to have a hero to follow, an example to follow.
God's plan is that it should be their parents.
Pr 17:6  Children's children [are] the crown of old men; and the glory of children [are] their fathers. (AV)

Kids have this built in admiration for their parents.

We're the ones that they tend to copy the most.
Sometimes its the good stuff they copy, sometimes its the bad stuff they copy.
With Amon we see a son who copies the worst of his father, but seems to ignore when his father finally gets things straightened out.
You're an example for your kids, like it or not, they pick up on the littlest details even the bad ones and copy them.
Illustration:
After a hard day at the office, a man went home to his wife and three year old daughter. "Have you got a kiss for daddy?" he asked the tot.
"No" she replied.
"I'm ashamed of you!" he teased. "Your daddy works hard all day to bring home money for you and this is how you behave. Come on now where's my kiss?"
Looking him right in the eye, she answered, "Where's my money?"

-- "Laugh," The Lion Magazine, Lions Club International, April 1994.

Illustration:
The teacher, after correcting class papers, remarked to the student. "I don't see how one person can make so many mistakes on his homework."
The student considered for a moment, then replied, "It wasn't just one person, my dad helped."

-- Laugh, from The Lion Magazine, Lions Club International, 300 22nd St., Oak Brook, IL 60521-8842, Dec. 93, Jan. 94.

It may be tough, but we are to be a good example.
(Eph 6:4 KJV)  And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

:23  the servants of Amon conspired against him,

We aren't told why they did this.

:24  the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against king Amon;

These assassins weren't made heroes. They were murderers, and they were brought to justice.

:24  made Josiah his son king

Josiah = "whom Jehovah heals"

This is going to be quite an interesting kid.

:26  buried in his sepulchre in the garden of Uzza:

Same as his daddy, Manasseh. (2Ki 21:18 )

Why not the regular burial place with the other kings?

Either it was too full, or these two men were considered too wicked to be buried with the other guys.