Sunday, October 23, 2016

King Hezekiah and King Hazael

He who has ears, let him hear.

Election day draws near. Some Americans and Christians alike struggle to decide for which candidate they will cast their vote; an insider or an outsider; whether Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson or some other individual. There are, to be sure, many voters for whom none of the issues or events which emerge during the campaign bears any significance or meaning so as to affect their vote. Their resolve is an automatic, default vote for their party’s candidate regardless of what they might hear or learn.

Although Christians have the wealth of the wisdom of the scriptures they too often tend to caught up in the spirit of politics and whatever the mainstream media might peddle for them. There are two kings who come to mind from the history of Israel. One represents an insider; the other an outsider. Hezekiah was an insider. Hazael was an outsider.

king Hezekiah
There is an interesting statement made about the insider and another to the outsider. King Hezekiah ruled in Judah during the time in which the northern kingdom of Israel had been taken captive many years earlier king Hezekiah did what was pleasing in the sight of the Lord including restoring the temple worship.

God extended his mercy when Hezekiah cried out to him and God restored his health and extended his life. Yet, Hezekiah became proud in the great wealth with which the Lord blessed him. When an envoy came to him from Babylon Hezekiah listened to them and revealed to them all of his treasures in his house and more. It was immediately following this visit by the envoy from Babylon that the prophet Isaiah met with Hezekiah who revealed to the prophet all that he had showed to the strangers.

It is at this point that Isaiah reveals to Hezekiah what will befall Judah and Jerusalem. Hezekiah completely misunderstands the message of Isaiah. What Hezekiah, as a servant of God over his people, failed to grasp was his how his own pride had blindly revealed to the enemies of Judah what he had no need or business to reveal to them.

king Hazael
Hazael was a king of neither Judah nor Israel. Yet, Hazael, like Hezekiah, was chosen and anointed by God to rule. Hezekiah ascended to the throne in succession as one of king David’s descendants. Hazael was anointed by the prophet Elisha to rule in Aram which bordered Israel on its northern boundary. Elisha wept when he anointed Hazael as king of Aram.

Hazael said, "Why does my lord weep?" Then he answered, "Because I know the evil that you will do to the sons of Israel: their strongholds you will set on fire, and their young men you will kill with the sword, and their little ones you will dash in pieces, and their women with child you will rip up."

Hazael could believe the words of the prophet and rejected the words of his prophecy concerning the evil which he would soon carry out against Israel according to the will of God.

The saints in Christ like the sound of the words; God is in charge. While this is true it is also true that unless we draw understanding and wisdom from the written revelation of his will we remain in darkness as much as those who know not God.

It is fully expected that unbelievers who reject God and the scriptures, but also some saints who have no more understanding about those scriptures than unbelievers, will have a hay day particularly with the prophecy concerning Hazael. Do not be alarmed. This is the same reaction as to every morsel of immorality, inappropriate conduct or outright violations of law. It is nothing less than a frenzy mostly aimed at self-exaltation above criminals and sinners. It is what I have called the comparative morality; I-do-and-have-done-bad-things-but-nothing-that-bad or thank-goodness-that-I-am-good.

There is no more a condemnation revealed concerning king Hezekiah, an insider in Judah’s succession of kings than king Hazael, an outsider with respect to Israel. Hezekiah was admonished for his failure to protect and keep what was Judah’s and not for a foreign power to know. The reluctant outsider king Hazael of Aram was an instrument of God much like king Nebuchadnezzar later in the downfall and captivity of Israel.

Even later, king Cyrus of Persia would be another instrument of God to return and restore Israel to blessings of God. Subsequently, king Cyrus, an outsider if ever there were one in Israel’s history stands as the only Gentile honored by the Jews for the grace and kindness which God poured on his fallen people to raise them up again.

He who has ears, let him hear.

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