SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Hezekiah becomes king, following the reign of Ahaz (see chapter 28) who had rebelled against God, led the nation to worship idols, and shut down the temple so people could not worship God there. Hezekiah reigned for 29 years, including a 15-year life extension given to him by God, which we read about in 2 Kings 20.
- Hezekiah leads the people to again worship God, reopening the temple and bringing the priests back in to lead worship.
- In vereses 20 and following we see Hezekiah arrange for a sacrifice to be made to God. Why? God tells us that when we sin we forfeit our right to live. Throughout the Old Testament, God allowed animal sacrifices as a means of offering forgiveness and to substitute in for the death the sinners deserved. The animals died so the sinners could live. God put in this system of animal sacrifices to prepare people for what Jesus would do for them. It was a way of introducing the idea of a substitutionary sacrifice (see Hebrews 10:1-14).
- Hezekiah became king of a nation where basically all the people were not interested in worshipping God. In fact, the people were opposed to it and were worshipping other things. But Hezekiah takes a big risk by taking a stand for God, proclaiming truth and encouraging everyone to follow Him in following God.
- We live in a nation where most people are not interested in worshipping God and instead worship just about anything else (things like popularity, success, security, money, sex, fame, etc.). The easiest thing is to go with the flow of culture, or to at least be careful to not stick out. But God is too important, and the lives of other people who are not worshipping God and whose eternities are at stake are too important, for us to remain silent. Being obnoxious will not get you heard, so that's not the best strategy. But there is a way of modeling a life that is different and better than others, and then looking for opportunities to graciously share the truth about God and why you have chosen to worship him, and how that choice has mattered in your life.
- How does the general lack of interest in God in our world temp you to just keep your mouth shut about your faith? Where have you had opportunities to say something (not necessarily something confrontational; probably something loving and encouraging) but didn't take the opportunity? Now, knowing God commands you to speak up, and that people need you to speak up, how will the next time be different?