This Week's Story

Hezekiah did not walk his father's path..

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

Hezekiah Breaks the Mold,
part one

Eli and his son stood outside their family home talking quietly. “Son, for sixteen years our news has been horror and death. Now we can hope for our country.

“I go to bed tonight knowing King Ahaz has died and, hallelujah, we have a new king. Hezekiah will not copycat his father Ahaz’s addiction to idol worship. Ahaz’s twisted dance with idolatry crippled his conscience and led him to sacrifice his sons to death through fire.

Can you imagine seeing your children burn to death because you believed it would please a god made from wood, metal, and/or stone? No idol made with hands answers prayers or has power to guide a king!

“King Ahaz shut the doors of God’s temple. The people were locked out. The temple had been the center of worshipping God since the time of King Solomon. Ahaz spit in God’s face by despising God and abandoning His commandments. Because Ahaz as king disobeyed God for sixteen years, many of our people are confused, some have kept their idols, and all are suffering.

“I think of one horrific battle during Ahaz’s reign. 120,000 troops of Judah were killed in battle. Israeli warriors took 200,000 of our women and children as prisoners. Can you imagine that many people? It is more than live in our capital city. Though Jerusalem is growing, its population is about 8,000.

“I remember hearing that a prophet of God named Oded declared boldly to the Israelite soldiers as they returned home, ‘You have gone too far! God let you defeat Judah, but your way is wrong! You have killed without mercy. Forces of heaven are disturbed. You are planning to make slaves of these people from Judah.”

“The prophet added, ‘Once Israel and Judah were united in one country. You shared the Golden Age of King David. Both you and Judah are descended from Abraham. You are relatives. Think about your sins. You do not have this victory because you follow God. You do not! Return the captives. God’s anger is now turned on you.’”

“Four of Israel’s leaders agreed, ‘We cannot add to our sins and guilt. We will return the prisoners.’ The prisoners were returned and what was stolen from Judah was returned. These leaders had the courage to follow the prophet’s message from God. It was not the custom of victorious soldiers in surrounding countries to return plunder.

“After this battle by God’s explicit directions, the Israelites showed mercy. They gave clothing and shoes, food and drink, and medical help to the defeated. They helped them return to Judah.

“Son, we have violated justice and mercy. Israel has a record of leaders who ignored God. Our record is better, but not with King Ahaz’s leadership.

“With Hezekiah we have a king who will lead us in seeking God’s forgiveness and wisdom. Our nation can be healthy, even if our enemies attack us. I do not expect our enemies to become our friends. The goal of many is to conquer us.”

This is Barbara Steiner. You can anticipate that Hezekiah’s reign brought renewal to Judah.

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