Despite the faithfulness of Hezekiah in leading the people in a great work of reformation, God brought a severe test upon Judah during his reign. The king of Assyria came against him with brash words and threats. A great many people in Judah gathered to follow Hezekiah’s instructions, but with all their efforts to outsmart the Assyrians and defend Jerusalem they could never have saved the city in their own strength.
Hezekiah’s words were powerful, directing the people to trust in the Lord God Almighty who would win the battle for them. Yet how could he stop the Assyrian Empire?
The Assyrian king sent ambassadors to demand the surrender of Jerusalem. They showed disrespect for both Hezekiah and for the Lord. They claimed that the God of Judah was no match for the king of Assyria. This was a fatal mistake.
King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah cried out to the Lord in this time of great need. In a most unlikely turn of events, the enemy forces were decimated by angelic intervention, the Assyrian king returned home in shame, and his own sons put him to death when he was worshiping the idols of his people. The Lord saved the people of Judah, at least for a time.
In his later years King Hezekiah faced further difficulties from bodily illness and because of his own pride. Though the Lord rescued him when he called out again to God, the king made some serious mistakes that marred these final years and set the stage for the troubles that would come to Judah from the Babylonian Empire in future decades.
There was so much good that could be said about Hezekiah, particularly when compared to his father Ahaz. Yet when God tested him toward the end of his life, leaving him to himself in order to know what was in the king’s heart, Hezekiah did not shine forth as the greatest of the descendants of David.
Hezekiah’s reign was a very refreshing interlude between Ahaz and Manasseh, but he was not the Messiah. When the best Son of David would come, when His Father left Him to Himself on the cross, the whole world would soon see the fulfillment of perfect godliness through His greatest achievement of holy love. If we were able to search the heart of Jesus thoroughly, we would find that He was completely without sin.