‘Then had not done it of a long time in such sort as it was written.’
Hezekiah was a good king. This was all the more remarkable, because his father was one of the worst kings who had ever sat on the throne of David. This shows that a son is not foredoomed to a bad life by his father’s evil ways. It is possible for a lily to grow up pure and sweet, and to keep its purity and sweetness, in a black bog. After all, every one builds his own character. We cannot charge our evil ways to any other one’s sins. Each one’s choice determines the spirit of one’s life. As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.
I. Hezekiah’s name shines very brightly in the list of the kings of Judah.—He was faithful to God in times when it was hard to be faithful, when nearly all public men were corrupt. We learn from him that it is possible to live worthily when others are living most unworthily. We need not be like those about us. We cannot blame our wickedness on the times; it is in ourselves that the fault lies if we fail. Indeed, when others are wrong we should try specially to be right.
II. We should use all our influence to bring people to God.—That is what Hezekiah did. There was a great revival of religion. All this was brought about by one man who wrought earnestly for God. We may say that he was a king and that we have no such power as he had. But we all have influence in a certain sphere, and we should use it always to make people better.
III. We may get a lesson from the king’s postmen.—They went over the country everywhere, carrying the letters from the king, telling the people of the great feast soon to be given, and inviting them all to come to it. We may be our King’s postmen, for there is another great feast to which He wants everybody invited. The letter He wants us to carry out is the good news of the Gospel which is for every one. We should be glad to be the King’s letter carriers.
IV. Too many people now treat the King’s letters as the people of Israel treated Hezekiah’s letters.—They only sneered—laughed the postmen to scorn, and paid no heed to the message. It seems strange that any one will so treat the Gospel invitation. The King’s letter carriers bring the message to tens of thousands of young people. What will the answer be?
V. Those who turn to the Lord will find Him ready always to hear their prayers and bless them.
(1) ‘Hezekiah was one of the three most perfect kings of Judah, and one of the best and wisest men who ever sat on any throne. He was a statesman with large and noble aims; he was a military leader of remarkable skill; like David, only in a lesser degree, he had the gift of song as well as of leadership; and, like all men who are truly great, he impressed himself on the imagination of the people. But deeper than all that, he was a profoundly religious man. The controlling influence in his life was God. It was his strong desire to hold fast to Jehovah that was determinative of his high career. When Jesus said “Seek first the Kingdom of God,” I do not imagine that He thought of Hezekiah. But if ever there was a life rich in a hundred interests, all dominated by the supreme interest of religion, it was the life of this great king of Judah.’
(2) ‘If we are always in our place at the services of the church, taking an earnest and devout part in the worship, we are doing a great deal, for others will follow our example. We may do much also to induce our neighbours and friends to attend these services. In many places the church-going habit is falling into decay. Especially in cities and large towns there are thousands of persons who never enter a church door. Those who love Christ should first of all be faithful themselves in church attendance and then should seek to bring others.’