The End of Hezekiah’s Reign
Open Your Bible
2 Kings 20:1-21, 2 Kings 21:1-26, Proverbs 11:2, John 14:13-14
Sometimes I joke about writing a memoir called, Parking Lots I’ve Cried In. Now that I think about it, it will have to be a picture book, full of maps, graphs, and infographics like, “The bowling alley parking lot where I got in my first fender bender,” “The church parking lot where my high school boyfriend dumped me,” and “The grocery store parking lot where I bought and ate an entire cookie cake after a bad day.”
As you’ve probably gathered, these instances weren’t planned, nor were they content set-ups for my future bestseller. The last thing I want is to cry in public, but I usually can’t hold in my tears until I’m behind closed doors. (Incidentally, one of my friends recently taught me that forcing yourself to rhyme—lime, crime, time, etc.—can distract your brain enough to stop you from crying.) I don’t want to feel myself crying, and I definitely don’t want anyone to see my tears.
Of course, most of the things we cry about are those we’d want to forget entirely, not write in a memoir. That was the case of Hezekiah when he became very ill, and while he prayed facing a wall (instead of in a parking lot), we can see that he, too, was in a very vulnerable position. In 2 Kings 20, we read the words of his prayer: “‘Please, LORD, remember how I have walked before you faithfully and wholeheartedly and have done what pleases you’” (v.3). And then he wept bitterly, and honestly before God.
Hezekiah’s prayer points to the old covenant, in which God blessed His people in response to their faithfulness to the covenant. In his most desperate time of need, Hezekiah asks God to validate whether or not he is worthy to approach the throne and ask for healing. And It’s easy to believe that this is the takeaway of Hezekiah’s story, that “good people” deserve good things. I don’t know about you, but that hasn’t always been my personal experience.
The most important part of this story isn’t Hezekiah’s healing, his ultimate death, or the end of his reign. It’s that under the new covenant, we no longer have to question our standing with God, because in Christ Jesus, we have been justified. Jesus died in our place so that, by placing our trust in Him, we could gain eternal life (Romans 6:23).
The Lord said to Hezekiah, “This is what the LORD God of your ancestor David says: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears,” (2 Kings 20:5). Because of Jesus’s work on the cross, the same God who acknowledges our every sorrow, is now present with us in all things (Psalm 56:8; John 14:15–31). Thanks be to God for all the ways He teaches us about our original sin under the old covenant, so that we may fully know the gift of His Son under the new covenant.