Hmmm, upon returning to Hezekiah, the three messengers tore their clothes in despair. That is a sign of dwindling faith. Not good. But what will Hezekiah do? As we talked about in the last chapter, Judah – and God’s kingdom on Earth, for that matter – is down to the nubbins. Like, there are just a handful of people left in the world who are devoted to the Creator who made them, and most of them are hunkered down in Jerusalem, which is now under siege by Assyria, which already has taken over the capital of Israel and scattered its people to (modern-day) Turkey and beyond. Zoinkies, Scoob! 😱 Hezekiah is their hope, though, for he is steadfast it seems in his trust in the Lord. Funny, isn’t it? Because think about who Hezekiah is. He is the son of Ahaz, the absolute worst king in Judah’s history. Ahaz was mean and nasty. He sacrificed one of his boys in the fire, so Hezekiah is fortunate to even be alive. Yet, Hezekiah, being raised in the shadow of a ruthless and faithless father, tries to turn Judah, or at least what is left of Judah, back towards God. He’s got himself and only a faithful few followers to get the job done. But those faithful few followers have something the rest of the world doesn’t have – God. I have a feeling some lessons are coming, and we can see clearly now that God has once again whittled his people down to a tiny group so that He can show His glory to many through just a few. It’s a repeated theme that we have seen before and we will indeed see again. Take note of this theme, and write it on your heart.
Speaking of taking notes, I underlined a couple things from verses in this chapter. One of them was from verse 25 when the Assyrian king asked, “Do you think we have invaded your land without the Lord’s direction? The Lord himself told us, ‘Attack this land and destroy it!’” If you’ve been reading along with us, you might remember that a while back we talked about how when God is whispering direction in our ears, He may be whispering other directions in someone else’s. Here’s a good example of that. We’ve also talked about how the people from the regions around Judah and Israel knew God – they knew about Him; they’d seen His miracles; they’d heard stories of His power, so they believed in God, but they also put their faith in other gods and things and refused to turn solely to the One True God. This passage also is a good example of this. We can never assume that God is working with us alone just because we feel like we love Him most. God’s always recruiting … because let’s face it, we’re not that great at it.
The other thing I underlined is the part in verse 4, where it says Moses’ bronze serpent was called Nehushtan. Remember that serpent? It was supposed to heal people from the snake bites, which were the result of a curse God sent down on Israel way back when … because the Israelites were doing much the same then as they still are now. Anyway, you can look up the history of the bronze serpent if you want. My point was just the name of it. It had a name! My husband and I have been watching episodes of the game show Jeopardy on Netflix, and all I could think when I read this verse, was, “Wouldn’t this be a fantastic Jeopardy question!” Ha. I probably should get a life at some point.
Writing prompt: free day
Since I’m a bit overwhelmed by topics right now, I’ll leave it up to you. Write about how privileged we are to be remnants. Write about Hezekiah and nature verses nurture. Write about Nehushtan. Write about your favorite pen. Just write!