2 Chronicles 29:3-10
Hezekiah witnessed the fall of Northern Israel to the hands of Assyria; and how cruel the Assyrians were to Northern Israel. Well, at the coronation of Hezekiah as king, that battle was still ongoing, and he saw many Judahite cities similarly fall under Assyria’s horrific conquest. But what we see in Hezekiah’s invitation and insistence for a covenant renewal is his interpretation of what had transpired both to the Northern (Israel) and Southern (Judah) Kingdom. Hezekiah rightly saw that their defeat in the hands of the superpower nation of Assyria was ultimately because of a spiritual problem: both Israel and Judah had become covenant breakers and were therefore under the covenant curse. “Our parents were unfaithful,” Hezekiah said (29:6).
It is very probable that most Israel and Judah interpreted their downfall as a result of a powerful enemy – the Assyrians. After all, they were the superpower of the time; and supremely powerful above all nations. And so most of Assyria’s vassal subjects would see their defeat not as a spiritual failure; not as a compromise but rather as a physical defeat due to a military inferiority. But if we look at the Torah, especially in Deuteronomy 28, we will see that God promised blessings upon covenantal faithfulness (28:1-14), and curses for covenantal unfaithfulness (28:15-68). In it, military defeats and exiles will be a direct cause of the breaking of covenant. We can simulate that they had interpreted their failures in such fleshly manner, because we too, share in this sinful habit. When we are faced with impossible odds; when we are challenged to resist compromise; when we think it is impossible to be faithful to the ways of the Lord in this very secular world; we too are doing what they did: We are judging things with fleshly perspective. But Hezekiah saw differently, and his exhortation shows us how.
Hezekiah charged both Israel and Judah as covenant breakers; unfaithful to what God had established with their forefathers – Abraham, Isaac and Israel. He saw this not as a possible cause of their defeat but as its only cause. God “made them an object of dread and horror and scorn, as you can see with your own eyes” (29:8 – also 30:7). Their defeat was a direct consequence of God’s discipline and judgment–it was God alone who made them an object of horror. Hezekiah differentiated what Judah could see with their own eyes (ie. that they were made an object of horror by the Assyrians) with what they needed to see by faith (ie. that the cause of their defeat was not a natural lack of military power but rather covenantal unfaithfulness).
We too, need a spiritual perspective for our daily living. We need to look beyond the physical and identify our own failures at keeping the covenant. We need to come before God with a repentant heart and rededicate our lives to Him.