Summary: Kings of Judah, Pt. 9: "Hezekiah"
IN GOD WE TRUST (2 KINGS 18-20)
Spiderman is arguably the most popular superhero of all time, especially with the two blockbusters they produced. Spiderman is the unpopular teenager turned superhero. I have the original first color copy of Spiderman reprinted by Barnes and Noble. In it Peter Parker never wanted anything but to be normal. He was a bookworm to the cost of his rejection by girls and guys. He lived with his doting uncle and aunt, who were the only ones kind to him.
With all the superhuman strength he had after accidentally being bitten by a radioactive spider caught in an experiment, he found a way to earn money at a gym, where $100 was offered to the person who could last three minutes in the ring with Crusher Hogan. The masked man won and was induced to perform tricks as Spiderman in front of TV. Fame and success went to his head.
On the way home after a live TV shot, he saw a thief getting away from a police, who scolded the man in spider uniform for not helping. Parker replied, “Sorry, pal! That’s your job! I’m thru being pushed around by anyone. From now on I just look out for number one – that means …me!” One evening Parker learned that his grandfather was shot dead by a burglar trapped in a warehouse. Spidey apprehended him, knocked him out but knew the error of his ways and dedicated his life to crime fighting after nabbing the thug. The shooter was the same thief he refused to stop! Parker cried, “My fault, my fault! If only I had stopped him when I could have! But I didn’t and now Uncle Ben is dead.” The last frame in the first issue states: “With great power there must also come great responsibility!”
Hezekiah had to step up in a big way at a very important juncture of Jewish history. The northern kingdom fell to the Assyrians in the fourth year of his reign in the south, when the king of Assyria marched against Samaria and laid siege to it. This third attack that fell Israel (2 Ki 15:29, 16:9) materialized because Assyria discovered that Israel was asking Egypt for help and had stopped paying tribute (2 Ki 17:4). The siege lasted three long years before the Assyrians finally took it and captured Samaria in Hezekiah’s sixth year, in 722 B.C. (2 Kings 18:9-10). Not only did the Assyrians deport her citizens, they married the locals to create the despised Samaritan race. Now the Assyrians were right at Hezekiah’s door and in his face.
How does one survive a crisis of epic proportions? What do you do when all help and hope is gone?
Behind Every Success Story is a Breakthrough
18:1 In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. 3 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done. 4 He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan.) 5 Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. 6 He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses. 7 And the LORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. 8 From watchtower to fortified city, he defeated the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory
Anne Mulcahy, the CEO of Xerox, shares about the best advice she ever got: “One piece of advice I got has become a mantra at Xerox. It came from a very funny source. It was four years ago, and I was doing a customer breakfast in Dallas. We had invited a set of business leaders there. One was a plainspoken, self-made, streetwise guy. He came up to me and gave me this advice, and I have wound up using it constantly. ‘When everything gets really complicated and you feel overwhelmed,’ he told me, ‘think about it this way: You got to do three things. First, get the cow out of the ditch. Second, find out how the cow got into the ditch. Third, make sue you do whatever it takes so the cow doesn’t go into the ditch again.’”