2 Kings 20-21

Will You Finish Well? Part 2

In an earlier study we noted that, although God delivered Jerusalem from the Assyrian invasion, Assyria remained a threat throughout Hezekiah’s life time. In our study today we read that God sent Isaiah to Hezekiah telling him he was about to die and Hezekiah needed to put his house in order. Hezekiah prays to God and God extends his life fifteen years. We also read in Chapter 20 that the king of Babylon paid Hezekiah a visit. Babylon was at war with Assyria. It would seem that with the ongoing threat of Assyria that siding with Babylon might be a good idea. Hezekiah invites them in and is on friendly terms with them.

Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.” NASB

 Though he doesn’t realize it, Hezekiah has been caught in a trap. He thinks he has what he wants but the consequences will have a lasting effect on his son and the nation. By fearing Assyria and befriending Babylon Hezekiah has drifted away from the one who healed him and gave him an additional fifteen years of life, and who delivered the city from the nation he feared. God sent Isaiah to tell Hezekiah that reliance on Babylon was going to be costly.

In Revelation 2:1-7 we read that the church of Ephesus did the same thing. They developed a structure that they relied on to do “church.” They toiled, they persevered, tested for false apostles, and put them out. They even followed their structure tirelessly, but they were relying on the structure and not the God who had defeated the enemy on the cross and gave them eternal life. They left their first love and put their faith in the things they were doing. God calls them to remember and repent or He was going to remove their light and witness to the world.

Now, if we were to contrast Chapter 20 with 21, we would likely give Hezekiah a pass and fail Manasseh. But, there is more to the story of Manasseh. In 2 Chronicles 33 we read that Assyria captured Manasseh, bound him, and took him to Babylon. There he cried out to the Lord and the Lord brought about his release. He returned to Jerusalem a different man. Although he is known as one of the most evil kings of Judah, when he returned from Babylon, he brought about great reforms. We can read about them in 2 Chronicles 33:10-17. Sadly, Manasseh had mislead Judah and Jerusalem into evil to the point that there was not the reform that His father had brought and the nation started to become unstable.  Manasseh’s son, Amon, will be king for only two years. He will be assassinated by his servants. His son, Josiah, will be the last good king.

Time is running out for Judah. Hezekiah trusted in a nation that will eventually destroy the temple, the city, and the nation. Manasseh’s evil influence will have a harmful lasting influence on the people. God will send them prophets to turn them back but the choice to repent or not will be theirs. The people will be responsible for the choices they make.  Every choice has a consequence. Every choice has a destination.

The title of this study is, “Will You Finish Well?” Finishing well will be a result of making good choices. The Proverb above was part of a group of Proverbs the men of Hezekiah transcribed. Proverbs was written by King Solomon to his son who would become king. There is a lot of good wisdom for us as well in this book. Here is a section for homework today. Proverbs 22:17-21. But, remember, there is a difference between reading the Word and doing the Word. James 1:22

Choose God and follow the path He has given in the Bible.

Finish well!

Pastor Dave