Friday, April 24, 2020

The Vision (4.24.20): And Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead

Note: Devotional taken from last Sunday's sermon on 2 Kings 16.

And Ahaz slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David: and Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead (2 Kings 16:20).

2 Kings 16 describes the reign of wicked king Ahaz in Judah, who “walked in the ways of the kings of Israel” and even “made his son pass through the fire” (v. 3). Ahaz was a descendent of David and Solomon. He had been given great spiritual benefits and blessings, but he threw it all away.

What are the wages of sin (Rom 6:23)? Death. In the end, he went the way of all flesh and slept with his fathers (v. 20a).

What a depressing chapter! There does not seem to be one redeeming feature in this entire passage.

I want to suggest to you, however, there is one tiny sliver of hope in the very last line of this chapter. It is as though we were lost in a dark cave and saw a little pin prick of light ahead in the distance.

The chapter ends in v. 20b: “and Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead.” Just as sometimes wicked men come from godly parents, sometimes godly men come from wicked parents.

Hezekiah would be a godly king. Look ahead to 18:3 where it says Hezekiah “did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father David did.” Hezekiah would not be perfectly righteous, but he would be better than Ahaz. Dale Ralph Davis observed: “How merciful that [the LORD] usually does not give us Ahaz-upon-Ahaz” (2 Kings, 240). God was not through with the people of God. Wicked king Ahaz was not going to snuff out the lamp that God had given to David. Hezekiah was coming!

There is no evidence of any hope for Ahaz, but there was for Israel. Hezekiah was coming. But, in the end, Hezekiah was not the real hope. The real hope, the real sliver of light was the Messiah who would come from the line of David. It is going to get even worse for Judah in days to come, but the light is still going to come.

Isaiah will prophesy of Christ: “The people that have walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined” (Isaiah 9:2). And Christ, when he came, declared: “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).

It was dark in Ahaz’s day, but Christ was coming. It is sometimes dark in our days, but Christ has come. He is present with us now by the Spirit. And he will one day come again. That is our hope.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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