. . . Hezekiah did . . . what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God. (31:20 NIV)
Many see the Old Testament as a collection of stories about famous people we should try to be like instead of as a single story about what God is like. That error is called moralism. Old Testament sermons often have themes like “forgive your siblings” (like Joseph), “be courageous” (see Daniel), and “face your giants” (a la David). These are all well-meaning applications but don’t get at the heart of the Bible’s story.
But some Christians go too far in the other direction and sneer at drawing examples from biblical narratives. Yet the New Testament says we are to imitate our leaders (Hebrews 13:7) and that Old Testament stories “took place as examples for us” (1 Corinthians 10:6).
Hezekiah is one example worth imitating. Along with Josiah, he was the best king Judah ever had. First, he was an inspiring and effective leader, a rare combination of organizer, administrator, and motivator. Second, Hezekiah worshiped God in spirit and truth, cleansing the temple and reinstating the Passover. Third, Hezekiah believed Yahweh to be the King over the whole world, even the Assyrians. Fourth, he sought God in his time of need. For all Hezekiah’s accomplishments, the most remarkable may have been his last: he humbled himself, repented of pride, and asked for forgiveness.
Lord, help us follow those who have been faithful. Amen.