When God has to start using the heathen to get His message across, it is an act of wonder. I think of Balaam and the donkey, I think of Jonah on the ship and here I find Israel being taught by the Assyrians and lions.
The king of Assyria brought in people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and relocated them in the towns of Samaria, replacing the exiled Israelites. They moved in as if they owned the place and made themselves at home. When the Assyrians first moved in, God was just another god to them; they neither honored nor worshiped him. Then God sent lions among them and people were mauled and killed.
This message was then sent back to the king of Assyria: “The people you brought in to occupy the towns of Samaria don’t know what’s expected of them from the god of the land, and now he’s sent lions and they’re killing people right and left because nobody knows what the god of the land expects of them.” – 2 Kings 17:24-26 MSG
Then something amazing happens. I recall writing about black sheep in good families – miracle of miracles – what about a godly offspring from very wicked parents. A sweet hope indeed.
In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz began his rule over Judah. He was twenty-five years old when he became king and he ruled for twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. In God’s opinion he was a good king; he kept to the standards of his ancestor David. He got rid of the local fertility shrines, smashed the phallic stone monuments, and cut down the sex-and-religion Asherah groves. As a final stroke he pulverized the ancient bronze serpent that Moses had made; at that time the Israelites had taken up the practice of sacrificing to it—they had even dignified it with a name, Nehushtan (The Old Serpent). – 2 Kings 18:1-4 MSG
I love the passion of wanting to honour God over the choice to dishonour his parents. This “Nehushtan” and its destruction could have been a stumbling block. It was an important artifact from history. But to honour God, it had to be destroyed. It was only a piece of brass. It was not just destroyed, it was pulverized, ground into powder, never to be heard or seen again until Jesus was made reference to it.
Hezekiah put his whole trust in the God of Israel. There was no king quite like him, either before or after. He held fast to God—never loosened his grip—and obeyed to the letter everything God had commanded Moses. And God, for his part, held fast to him through all his adventures.
He revolted against the king of Assyria; he refused to serve him one more day. And he drove back the Philistines, whether in sentry outposts or fortress cities, all the way to Gaza and its borders. – 2 Kings 18:5-8 MSG
Hezekiah’s faith in God was honoured.
Father, thank You for seeing and recognizing my faith in You.