Summary: The story of Hezekiah teaches us that when we honour and obey God, He blesses us. But when we choose to rebel and reject Him, there are always negative consequences.
THE STORY OF KINGS AND PROPHETS #5: THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF ISRAEL
INTRO TO THE STORY: Discuss the nation of Israel through King Saul, David and Samuel. The Divided Kingdom: The Northern Kingdom of Israel (20 bad kings) and the Southern Kingdom of Judah (8 good kings, 12 bad kings). God sent prophets calling His people to repent.
BACKGROUND TO THE STORY: THE FALL OF ISRAEL:
“1 Hoshea son of Elah began to rule over Israel in the twelfth year of King Ahaz’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria nine years. 2 He did what was evil in the LORD ’s sight, but not to the same extent as the kings of Israel who ruled before him. 3 King Shalmaneser of Assyria attacked King Hoshea, so Hoshea was forced to pay heavy tribute to Assyria. 4 But Hoshea stopped paying the annual tribute and conspired against the king of Assyria by asking King So of Egypt to help him shake free of Assyria’s power. When the king of Assyria discovered this treachery, he seized Hoshea and put him in prison. 5 Then the king of Assyria invaded the entire land, and for three years he besieged the city of Samaria. 6 Finally, in the ninth year of King Hoshea’s reign, Samaria fell, and the people of Israel were exiled to Assyria…” (2 Kings 17:1-6, NLT).
• Hoshea was the twentieth and final evil king in Israel.
• After 208 years, God said, “Enough is enough!”
“Again and again the LORD had sent his prophets and seers to warn both Israel and Judah: “Turn from all your evil ways. Obey my commands and decrees—the entire law that I commanded your ancestors to obey, and that I gave you through my servants the prophets.” But the Israelites would not listen. They were as stubborn as their ancestors who had refused to believe in the LORD their God.” (2 Kings 17:13-14).
• v.15-17 – they worshipped false idols, copied the world, rejected God’s commandments, practiced witchcraft, sorcery and fortune telling and sacrificed their children.
• “Because the LORD was very angry with Israel, he swept them away from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah remained in the land.” (v.18).
• The 10 tribes of Northern Israel were scattered and became the “lost tribes.”
THE BIG IDEA: The story of Hezekiah teaches us that when we honour and obey God, He blesses us. But when we choose to rebel and reject Him, there are always negative consequences.
1. HEZEKIAH: ONE OF THE GOOD KINGS IN JUDAH:
“Hezekiah son of Ahaz began to rule over Judah in the third year of King Hoshea’s reign in Israel. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. He did what was pleasing in the LORD ’s sight, just as his ancestor David had done.” (2 Kings 18:1-3, NLT).
• It’s important to note that Hezekiah’s dad, Ahaz, was an evil king.
• Note: Just because you may have had bad parents or a bad past doesn’t mean you can’t do something great for God! Forget the past, and move forward into your destiny!
“Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before or after his time. He remained faithful to the LORD in everything, and he carefully obeyed all the commands the LORD had given Moses. So the LORD was with him, and Hezekiah was successful in everything he did. He revolted against the king of Assyria and refused to pay him tribute.” (2 Kings 18:5-7).
• What a great example King Hezekiah is for us to follow!
• He trusted God, was faithful to the Lord, and God was with him and prospered him.
• Hezekiah refused to give in to the evil king of Assyria and give him tribute.
• “In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, King Sennacherib of Assyria came to attack the fortified towns of Judah and conquered them.” (2 Kings 18:13).
• Sometimes, like we saw with Israel, when we disobey God, there are great consequences.
• However, sometimes, like Hezekiah, we might do what’s right and still face opposition!
2. HEZEKIAH’S GREATEST CHALLENGE:
“Then the Assyrian king’s chief of staff told them to give this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the great king of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you so confident?” (2 Kings 18:19).
• When you go through challenging or impossible situations, what are YOU trusting in?
• What did Hezekiah do in his day of trouble?
A. Hezekiah humbled himself:
“When King Hezekiah heard their report, he tore his clothes and put on burlap and went into the Temple of the LORD.” (2 Kings 19:1).