Believing in What You Cannot See
The Soul of a Nation-Hezekiah:The King Who Rebuilt the Temple & Saved Judah
It is a constant trope that all politicians and national political leaders are inept at best or corrupt at worst. After the death of King Solomon, the wisest and richest man ever, Israel was ruled over by a series of evil kings that led the people into idolatry, divided the nation, and plunged the land into an era of deep poverty and sorrow. Righteous King Hezekiah understood that in order to restore his country back to its original glory, it must first return its Heart back to the God that founded it.
Hezekiah was the son of King Ahaz, thought to be one of the most wicked and immoral rulers of Israel’s history. By the time of King Ahaz’s rule, the Nation of Israel had already split between the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judea. When confronted with the threat of Assyrian invasion, rather than join the Northern Kingdom of Israel in repelling them, King Ahaz instead formed an alliance with Assyria, which led to the capture of its neighbor’s major cities and deportation of the people of Israel. But it was not enough to betray Israel, King Ahaz began to adopt the culture, government, and religion of his Assyrian overlords. King Ahaz sacrificed his sons, by passing them through fire, and this precedent led to the rest of Judah murdering their infant children by sacrificing them to the Assyrian gods (2 Kings 16:3; 2 Chronicles 28:3). Wicked King Ahaz persistently defiled the Temple of Jerusalem with the introduction of new foreign gods and increasingly debased forms of worship, such as implied human sacrifice, religious prostitution and scatological ceremonies. After all this debauchery, King Ahaz shut the doors of The Temple, hoping the True God of Israel would be forgotten.
Despite his father’s example, Hezekiah took after his mother Abijah, who was the daughter of High Priest Zechariah. On the first day, of the first month of his reign as King, Hezekiah decreed that the doors of the Temple of Jerusalem be reopened and the temple grounds be cleansed of all the evils that had corrupted the holy place of worship. Because work in the Temple could only be carried out by the priests and Levites, Hezekiah reinstated the Levitical Priesthood and assembled them in Jerusalem, and ordered that they consecrate themselves before purifying the House of the Lord, the God of their fathers, and carry out the filth from the Holy Place.
The cleansing of the Temple took sixteen days to complete, but despite the worker’s hurried efforts, did not finish the work in time for Passover, which began on the fourteenth day of the first month. After much deliberation and counsel, the rulers deemed it fit that Passover should still be observed, even if a month later. So Passover was scheduled to be held on the fourteenth day of the second month, so that it would allow the priests to consecrate themselves and furnish the tools and articles for worship, and would give the people of the land an opportunity to ready themselves for the celebration that had not been celebrated for decades. But the hearts of the rest of Israel was as hard as their fathers’ before them and despite receiving an invitation to participate in the festivities, they rejected the messengers that King Hezekiah had sent. But citizens from the least prominent and most humble tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, decided to participate even though they had not had the opportunity to properly cleanse themselves.
But Righteous King Hezekiah prayed for his people, saying, “May the Good Lord pardon everyone who set his Heart to seek God, the Lord, the God of his fathers, even though not according to the sanctuary’s rules of cleanness”. And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.
Not only had Hezekiah reopened the doors of the Temple and cleansed it of all the idolatrous worship his father King Ahaz introduced, Hezekiah reinstituted The Temple Worship, with large processions of priests and Levites singing with all their might, filling the city with their Songs of Praise. The citizens who participated in the Passover Feast and finally experienced the majesty of worshipping the God of Israel, were inspired to go back home and destroy all the idols, high places, and other instruments of worship to the Assyrians false gods, their fathers had erected.
After the Assyrian idols were destroyed and the worship at Jerusalem had been reintroduced, the King of Assyria became jealous of the prosperity that the Southern Kingdom of Judah began to experience and sought to invade it and take it for himself, since good King Hezekiah had cut off political alliances with his heathen sovereigns.
King Hezekiah strengthened the damaged walls of Jerusalem, rebuilt the military fortresses throughout the kingdom, made weapons of war for all the citizens to defend their regions, and prepared the capital city for besiegement. Sennacherib, King of Assyria, sent messengers to blaspheme the God of Israel, declaring that the gods of all the other nations failed to protect them, and that Jerusalem would be captured just the same, since their God was powerless to confront the power of the Assyrian Empire.
Rather than bend to the might of their former allies, or rely on the military preparations they had enacted, King Hezekiah joined Prophet Isaiah and prayed in the newly cleansed Temple and cried to Heaven for deliverance.
And the Lord sent an angel, who cut off all the mighty warriors, and commanders and officers in the Assyrian camp overnight, leading to the destruction of 185,000 troops.
The defeated Assyrians fled back to their lands with shame in their hearts, where King Sennacherib, while worshipping one of his gods in their temple, was assassinated by his sons, sending the Assyrian Empire into tumult and chaos. So the Lord saved the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib, King of Assyria, and Good King Hezekiah was exalted in the sight of all nations from that time onward.
Rather than relying on the aid of foreign nations and bowing to their forms of government, cultures, and gods, King Hezekiah put his trust in the God of Israel, which the nation and the people had seemingly forgotten. His first acts as King focused on the sweeping religious reforms which brought the soul of the country back to centralized worship in Jerusalem. These changes were not just cosmetic dressings, but affected the mentalities of the common people who took it as their own responsibility to destroy the idolatrous worship throughout the land. When threatened by an outside force, several magnitudes greater than himself, Hezekiah turned to God in prayer first and God not only healed the faithful during Passover, but destroyed the Assyrian invaders and caused their empire to begin to crumble.
A nation concerned with looking like its worldly neighbors, rather than the God which established it, will fall and collapse as all governments establish by men do. The healing of a nation can only begin when it returns to the things that once made it great. A God focused nation can only return to prominence, when it’s Heart and Soul are focused on the Worship and Glory of the Almighty, rather than itself.
Prepared by, Kent Simpson, Apostolic Prophet & Eric Sepulveda, PMT Administrator