Jump Start # 2704
2 Chronicles 28:27 “So Ahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city, in Jerusalem, for they did not bring him into the tombs of the kings of Israel; and Hezekiah his son reigned in his place.”
Recently I preached a lesson about Hezekiah’s powerful revival. What he accomplished was impressive. He was young, inexperienced and didn’t have a good role model in his life. His father, Ahaz was a real spiritual dud. He not only locked the doors to the temple, but he built idols in every Judean city. As one translation puts it, “he was utterly unfaithful to the Lord.” And, along comes his son, Hezekiah, and he is about as good as they come. He restored the worship, consecrated the priests, trashed all the idols, and opened the doors to the temple. He tried to erase everything his evil dad had done.
In this there are some great lessons for us.
First, one doesn’t have to hang their hat on the same nail as one’s parents. Ahaz was empty of God. Hezekiah loved the Lord. Ahaz built idols. Hezekiah tore idols down. Ahaz locked the doors to the temple. Hezekiah unlocked those doors. Right there we ought to see that one becomes what he wants to be. Hiding in the shadows of our parents doesn’t work after a while. You are what you have chosen to be. You can be as influential, dynamic, and powerful of a Christian as you want to be.
I have heard for far too long, brethren, especially men, hiding behind what their fathers were. It goes something like this: Dad, wasn’t one to apologize much and I guess I’m that way too. Or, Dad wasn’t one to show affection and I get that from him. Wrong. Dad was that way because he chose to be. You are the same because you have followed his steps. Being different and being right takes courage, risks and an understanding that I don’t want the same life as dad had. I want to walk with the Lord. I want to please Jesus. Ahaz was a spiritual bomb. Hezekiah was a spiritual giant. Apples may not fall far from the trees, but people are not apples. They make their own decisions and shape their own lives. We need to stop excusing bad behavior and weak faith because of our parents. It’s time to grow up and take ownership of our lives and make the right choices.
Second, thinking for yourself can put you at odds with your family. Ahaz gave up on Jehovah. He was hoping that the gods of other nations would help him win battles. Each step he took, led the nation deeper into the spiritual weeds of error. Sometimes people can get so deep into those weeds that they can’t find their way out. Hezekiah didn’t think the same way as his dad did. He didn’t have a place for those worthless idols in his kingdom. Over the walls, and down into the Kidron valley, the city dump, is where those idols went. In our families, an aggressive and loud spirit can intimidate everyone into lining up as one wants. Booze at weddings, going to the river boats to gamble, sleeping in every Sunday, crude jokes, offensive behavior, that’s the norm for families without Christ. Many grow up thinking this is how it is supposed to be. They grow up thinking this is what everyone does. But once in a while, a Hezekiah comes along. He wants to do what the Bible says. He doesn’t want booze at his wedding. The family is in a state of shock at such news. No gambling at the boats. No coarse talking. No sleeping in on Sundays. It’s time to get up and get to the church house. These modern Hezekiah’s have a different path that they want to follow. They want to pray before the food is eaten. They want to have deep conversations about meaningful things. They want to do things for others. And, as time passes, the family finds very little in common with these Hezekiahs. Things are said. Many things are not understood.
For the Bible’s Hezekiah, did his mother go along with Ahaz? Was the rest of the family in step with the direction that Ahaz was taking them? Was Hezekiah the lone spirit that wanted to follow the Lord? Not sure about those things. Don’t know if Hezekiah had family support or if he stood alone, either way he was all in with the Lord.
Third, recognizing that your parents were wrong is a difficult conclusion to come to. Hezekiah wasn’t the first to realize this. For Cain and Able, growing up outside of the garden was a reminder of the mistakes that their parents had made.
We need to understand that every parent has made mistakes and has sins in his life. None of us are perfect. As a grown child, we can so focus upon those mistakes that we never see any good in their lives. But, we can also, so love our parents that we refuse to admit that they ever did anything wrong. For Hezekiah, his dad was not even close to what God expected. There have been many, many parents who poured their hearts into their children and gave them decent homes, yet many never included God. That’s a major failure and mistake. Today, we can look at that and be bitter because of that or we can simply make sure that we try to do better with our children.
Ahaz never even tried to do what was right. His heart belong to other gods. Someday our children will look at our lives and they will have to make choices based upon whether they thought we walked in the right direction or not. We may be remembered for our flaws and failures. But if we are, we hope that helps our children to do even better.
Fourth, Hezekiah is a perfect illustration of someone doing right even though he had incredible odds against him. And, if Hezekiah could do that, certainly we can do what is right. None of us have a dad that is the king and none of us have a dad that locked the doors to worship and built idols in every city. That’s a tough one to overcome, yet Hezekiah did. Your parents may have been spiritual duds. You may have had no encouragement at home. You may have witnessed all kinds of ugly sins. But now, on your own, you can set your sails in the right direction and follow the path of the Lord. Your experiences can be an encouragement to others. Your story can give hope to others. You overcame and so can others.
Hezekiah—he was one of the good ones.