Hezekiah congregations

Isaiah had just finished telling Hezekiah the grim news of the fall of Jerusalem and the enslavement of his own descendants. The king was told of the Babylonian captivity. And he was happy.

“The word of the LORD you have spoken is good,” Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my lifetime.” (Isaiah 39:8, NIV)

I wonder how we are supposed to read this. Hezekiah was one of the good kings of Judah as the Bible tallies such things. He purified the Temple. He withstood the attack of Assyria. He turned to the LORD for deliverance in his illness. It could be that he rightly understood the peace during his lifetime as a reward from God. The prophecy about Jerusalem was not about divine punishment connected in any way to Hezekiah, but a prediction about the future disobedience of the people. 

The story as recounted in Isaiah and 2 Kings appears to connect the prophecy of coming doom for Judah with Hezekiah showing the envoys from Babylon his riches and wealth. The suggestion is that Hezekiah was caught up with sinful pride. He mistook the wealth as a sign somehow of is own grandeur. This is no explicit in the text, so far as I can see, but might be there.

These thoughts swirl for me because it seems to me that we have a lot of Hezekiah congregations. They are pleased with the prospect of short-term peace, even if the word for the future is of woe.

Is this something to dread or celebrate?

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2 thoughts on “Hezekiah congregations

  1. John,
    I agree with your thoughts about Hezekiah congregations. With regard to King Hezekiah, I would point out the fascinating story in 2 Kings 20, where the Lord gives Hezekiah an additional 15 years of life. Although Hezekiah was a good king of Judah for the first part of his life, his actions during that additional 15 years were anything but good. He became proud, turned away from God, showed the envoys from Babylon his riches and wealth, and fathered and reared Manasseh, the most evil of all the kings of Judah. King Hezekiah did not end his life well. I always think of this story when the Lord takes someone, whom I love, in death at a time that I feel is too early. Good post.

  2. It is easy to become disheartened with the schisms in the Christian Church but if we know our history hope abounds. Schisms sometime lasted for hundreds of years and the great Councils of Christianity where organized to clarify where the church stood.
    The Christian Church survived with foundational doctrine in tack.

    Consider what Terullian wrote then and what we are seeing in the Christian Church today.

    Tertullian :
    “What a prevaricator of truth is such a god! What a
    dissembler with his own decision!
    Afraid to condemn
    what he really condemns, afraid to hate what he does
    not love, permitting that to be done which he does not
    allow, choosing to indicate what he dislikes rather than
    deeply examine it!
    This will turn out an imaginary
    goodness, a phantom of discipline, perfunctory in duty,
    careless in sin. Listen, ye sinners; and ye who have not
    yet come to this, hear, that you may attain to such a
    pass!
    A better god has been discovered, who never
    takes offense, is never angry, never inflicts punishment,
    who has prepared no fire in hell, no gnashing of teeth in
    the outer darkness!
    He is purely and simply good. He
    indeed forbids all delinquency, but only in word. He is
    in you, if you are willing to pay him homage, for the
    sake of appearances, that you may seem to honour God;
    for your fear he does not want. And so satisfied are the
    Marcionites with such pretences, that they have no fear
    of their god at all.”
    From Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem

     Irenaeus describes a confrontation with Marcion in Adversus Haereses 

     For every cult, denomination, or group that dies a new Christian Church, denomination and people spring forth whose doctrine and practices are sound.

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