Regular nibbles from the Bible. . .come for a bite, leave with an appetite

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight. (Psalm 19:14, MSG)

Monday, May 13, 2013


In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea son of Elah became king of Israel. He ruled in Samaria for nine years. As far as God was concerned, he lived a bad life, but not nearly as bad as the kings who had preceded him. (2 Kings 17:1-2, MSG)

Hezekiah put his whole trust in the God of Israel. there was no king quite like him, either before or after. He held fast to God--never loosened his grip--and obeyed to the letter everything God had commanded Moses. And God, for his part, held fast to him through all his adventures. (2 Kings 18:5-6, MSG)

The two kings I've quoted above are unusual in all the records of the kings of Israel and Judah. Can you guess what it is?

Hmm. Hoshea had the misfortune of ruling Israel at the time her sins came home and she was taken into exile in Assyria. I say "misfortune." This record suggests Hoshea wasn't bad, as far as Israel's kings went. He is one of the few (the only one?) who wasn't compared to Jeroboam I, the king who set Israel on the path to sin. If God graded on a curve, instead of pass/fail, Hoshea might have managed a C.

On the other side, Hezekiah was compared to David favorably. The author goes so far as to say, "There was NO KING quite like him."  Not even David! Hezekiah also took the final step that the earlier "good" kings had failed to do: he smashed the altars to Baal and the Asherah poles.

Of David and Hezekiah, I think Hezekiah had the harder job at following God's laws. Imagine Americans trying to go back to 1776 and living by the laws and cultural mores of the times.

Of course, he might have relied on the wisdom of the priests to understand what the laws looked like in his time, much as we have the Supreme Court to help us interpret the Constitution.

Still--he was a traditionalist bucking the trend. I'm sure people opposed his reforms.

I'm a person who will rarely rate anything a 10 (or a 1).  I'm not comfortable with extremes.  But look at the extremes used to describe Hezekiah:

  • He put his WHOLE trust in the Lord. 
  • He NEVER loosened his grip on God.
  • He obeyed EVERYTHING God commanded Moses
(By the way, I doubt he was that perfect, but he would have received an A+ on a curve.)

Instead of bemoaning the state of the nation in his day, Hezekiah set about changing it. Of course, he was king. He wielded influence we can only imagine. 

But . . . we can't let the daunting task before us keep us from attempting the impossibly difficult. Like Hezekiah, we have the same responses available to us. We can trust God, we can hold on to God, and we can do His will. 

And the rest, as they say, is history.

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