It really is incredible how we come into the world with a unique batch of attributes. In fact, we are even different than our siblings. We are distinct from one another physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s fascinating. In some families there is strong family resemblance where outsiders know your last name because of your facial features, and in others, not so much. In some families there are even shared talents and aptitudes.
Then there’s the specific circumstances surrounding your birth. On the day you were born, only you were born to your mother. Your birth order, your family situation, and the time and place in history make you a one-of-a kind! You might be a twin, but I believe God knew you, saw you and loved you as an individual when you were in your mother’s womb.
God is calling each of us by name, reaching out to us and wanting us to have relationship with him. However, it seems as though some of us grew up in a setting that made trusting God a natural thing, where others found faith in spite of horrific, painful circumstance. This is not new.
In II Chronicles 29-32 we read Hezekiah wholeheartedly endeavored to restore Israel to her rightful place as a nation in right relationship with God. He cleaned up the idolatry and tore down the high places where sacrifices were made to idols. He cleansed the Temple and restored Temple worship. Among other good things, he reinstituted the celebration of the Passover.(II Cronicles 30:26) He was a rockstar!
Here’s the thing a I saw for the first time. Hezikiah’s Dad, King Ahaz, was very evil. (II Kings 16, II Chron. 28) He committed stunning crimes. He consulted with the Assyrians and subsequently decided to modify the House of the Lord in Jerusalem to include altars like the Assyrians used. He also gave the gold and silver from the house of the Lord to the king of Assyria. Here’s the most staggeringly wicked thing he did, not only did he make offerings to heathen gods, he burned his own sons and daughters as an offering. Wow!
How did Hezikiah arrive on the scene so powerfully at 25 years old with a completely different spirit? What made him brave enough to show up to his reign as king determined to cleanse and restore Temple worship, God’s ordained worship? It’s possible that he resented losing his brothers on a pagan altar. Knowing that his father committed such abominations surely would have destroyed any trust in him. Once he became king, he did things differently. He was resolved.
I wonder why the scripture makes reference to the names of his mother and maternal grandpa. It says his mother’s name was Abijah, which means “Yahweh is my Father.” His maternal grandpa’s name was Zechariah which means, “Yaweh remembers.” Perhaps what made the difference in Hezikiah’s life was his relationship with his godly mom and her father. Maybe they instructed him about celebrating Passover and his true identity as a godly king. It’s possible that they didn’t guide him into self-pity, fear or shame, but rather they commissioned him to go clean up the mess his Father, Ahaz made.
I’m always curious when one person changes the trajectory of their family line by choosing to embrace godliness wholeheartedly. Sometimes it’s easy to think people have no choice but to follow their family or their culture into depravity or immorality, but actually I think God is always calling to the conscience of the human heart. He wants to make a way for each of us to know him and follow him. No one is beyond his lovingkindness and his salvation. The question for those of us who know and love God is “Who can we help be the Hezekiah in their generation?” “How can we help change history for one person or one family?”
We are being invited to be those who pave the way out of the darkness into the light for even the most unlikely candidates. I mean, Hezekiah was from criminals. We have the power to put a wing of compassion and care over those who seem destined for darkness and offer an alternative. We can offer the milk of human kindness. We can love the unlovely. Then, we can see God move through our lives to bring redemption and transformation. Don’t be intimidated by those who seem hostile to God. Generally, those who seem hostile to God are confused and lonely. Don’t be intimidated. Take the risk. Get involved. Invite someone to to coffee or church. Who knows whether some future king might be influenced by your spiritual parenting and practical care. God wants to work through us in strange and unusual ways. Then we’ll be part of a miraculous adventure. We’ll say, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming!” But God did.
I'm curious. Where there people who put a wing over you while you were learning about the Kingdom of God? If so, who? Leave a comment.