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2 Kings 19:1
I. Hezekiah was a type of Christ. In what way? Look, first, at the destruction of the brazen serpent, as told us in this morning's lesson. Try to realize all that it meant. It requires strong, brave men to do the thing, for this serpent had a wonderful history and sacred association. For many generations it had been one of the objects which most stirred the hearts of the Jews. But it had lost its power completely; it had become an object of superstitious worship, and so Hezekiah broke it in pieces. I wonder what the scribes and Pharisees of the day or those who at that time represented them thought of this act? Hezekiah was a type of Him Who centuries later scandalized the scribes and Pharisees by breaking the Sabbath. When the trial moment comes, when temptation is strong and help seems far away, the question will be, not whether we have learnt to hold the tenets of Christianity as historical facts, but whether they have taught us the power of prayer, and the evil hold dropped, and the call of duty accepted. Whether, in one word, we have learnt to live our faith, so that Christ lives in our hearts and through our lives.
II. Let us turn to another scene in Hezekiah's life: the revival of the Passover as narrated in the Second Book of Chronicles. It was not confined to Judah. Invitations, we are told, were sent throughout the length and breadth of Israel. Again Hezekiah's greatness is seen. He had grasped the idea of the Passover that it set forth the unity of the nation. There was nothing political in his aim. There was no thought of the winning back of Israel. His aim was to teach the people that, wherever their lot was cast, they were all one people, and doubtless this, too, scandalized the scribes and Pharisees of the day. And, says the chronicler, many of those that accepted the invitation came without having undergone the purification ordained by the Lord. Now mark Hezekiah on that occasion. He prayed the Lord to pardon every one who had prepared his heart to seek the Lord God of his fathers. One more type of Him Who centuries after welcomed the outcasts. Is there not a lesson here for us? Think of all those well-meaning, religious people who cannot see the deeper unity which underlies differences of creed between us. What a grand thing it would be if in our days we could have an enormous Passover, a great gathering, not for discussions, but for worship, of all Christians who believe in Christ, apart from minor accidental differences. But let us beware of confounding the idea of unity and uniformity. The Divine ideal seems to be not uniformity, but a grand symphony played on a thousand instruments.
III. Let us look at one more scene in Hezekiah's life his bearing towards the King of Assyria, as told in the lesson of this morning and this evening. Hezekiah, King of Judah, was lying helpless before the power of the King of Assyria, but in him we see no bravado and no fear, only a simple faith and trust in God. He met the insulting messages of Sennacherib in silence; the king's command was, 'Answer him not'. Once more he is a type of Him Who, centuries later, when He was accused of the chief priests and elders answered nothing, and when He received the blasphemous message was silent. Hezekiah's first thought was God. He went to the temple and spread his trouble before the Lord. It is in this instant reference (which is a difficulty to many), this turning to God at once, without fear and without hesitation, that Hezekiah is so valuable an example to ourselves. For we, too, like Hezekiah, are besieged with enemies. Which of us has not some sin of temper, it may be, or selfishness, or pride, or lust some sin which he is tempted to commit frequently, and we have learned its power, and we long to cast it off and be rid of it for ever, but again and again the temptation comes? We fight against it, but we finally yield to it, and we feel as though this sin were poisoning our whole life. Have we said, 'My help cometh from the Lord'?
References. XIX. 14. T. Champness, New Coins from Old Gold, p. 179. J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons (9th Series), p. 139. XIX. 14, 15. W. H. Hutchings, Sermon-Sketches (2nd Series) p. 263. XIX. 20-22. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture 2 Kings from chap. viii., p. 64. XX. 1. F. W. Farrar, Everyday Christian Life, p. 205. XX. 5. S. E. Cottam, The Royal Thanksgiving Sermons, 1822-1902. XX. 12, 13. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xii. No. 704. XX. 19. R. E. Hutton, The Crown of Christ, vol. ii. p. 281. XXI. 26. A. B. Meldrum, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxv. 1904, p. 302.
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Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 2 Kings 19". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13