2 Chronicles 32 Devotional
By Pastor Lawrence
This chapter serves as a study in contrasts between the strength of a man when he is walking with God and the weakness of that same man when he is not. Thus far in the Chronicler’s description of the reign of Hezekiah, it seems as if the king could do no wrong. Clearly, he is like his father David in seeking the Lord with all of his heart and serving the people of God with the powers entrusted to him fulfilling in part some of the messianic prophecies of the coming one. Even when King Sennacherib invades the land of Judah it is not because of the unfaithfulness of Hezekiah or because there was a breach in the Davidic covenant. The author stresses that the king of Judah was faithful in all his calling. No, this evil plot of the Assyrians was actually orchestrated by the Lord to glorify His own name.
It is interesting to see how Hezekiah responds to such an intimidating threat. He is by no means passive under pressure, for he immediately shores up the defenses of the city, distributes weapons in abundance, and cuts off the water supply to the outskirts of the city so that the invading armies might not be aided in any way in their attack on the city. But, in addition to all these things he could do for himself as king, he did not rely upon these tactics and defenses, for in seeking to encourage his troops, he reminds them that the king of Assyria is coming against them only with an arm of flesh, but they have the Lord on their side, and He will fight their battles. This is not just a talking point for the king, though, for when the commander of the invading army begins to mock the nation of Judah and their God, Hezekiah joins with the prophet Isaiah in calling upon the name of the Lord and begging his assistance.
In response to this humble prayer for assistance, the Lord sent just one of his heavenly angels, just one! And that one angel cut off all the foreign soldiers, their commanders and officers, sending Sennacherib home with his tail between his legs. Just as the Lord raised up the pharaoh in Egypt that He might show his great power over the nations, so the Lord raised up Sennacherib in order that His name might be proclaimed throughout the earth, as indeed it was. And along with the exaltation of God’s name, Hezekiah’s name was praised causing many of the surrounding nations to fear the Lord and his king.
In the same manner that the Lord sent an invading army into the land, he sent an invasive disease into the body of the king, and once again Hezekiah prayed to the Lord trusting in his strength even to deliver him from death. For when the prophet Isaiah told him that he would die, he cried out unto the Lord for mercy and the Lord granted him an additional fifteen years of life. But, then, in v.25 we finally see something of the spiritual weakness of the king, for the Chronicler tells us that after being healed, he “did not make return according to the benefit done to him, for his heart was proud. Therefore wrath came upon him and Judah and Jerusalem” because of his sin. Likely, Hezekiah’s sin was much greater than simply not saying ‘thank you’ unto God, but somehow in the weeks and months immediately following his healing, the king did not use his days wisely serving the Lord in his kingdom. We might think to ourselves, “But he already did so much and proved faithful unto the Lord so many times,” but the law required the perfect obedience of the king to set the example and the standard for the rest of the nation. He was called to meditate upon the Law of the Lord day and night and to be careful to do all that which God commands, yet he didn’t, which is why the reader is still looking for the Messiah to come who would love the Lord at all times and in every way.
But when the king called upon the name of the Lord for mercy, once again he received mercy and God’s wrath was stayed in his generation. Nevertheless, once again we see the weakness of his flesh when the Lord leaves him to himself. When the envoys from Babylon come to Jerusalem to inquire about the miraculous sign of the sun moving backward upon the sundial and of the routing of the fearsome Assyrian army, Hezekiah in his pride is eager to show them all of his wealth and every display of power, which, of course, they report back to their king with exceeding interest. This would prove to be the downfall of Jerusalem later on. Clearly, Hezekiah is not the king we are looking for. Although he does reflect much of his wisdom and strength at many times in his life, he still falls far short of the glory of God. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!