Hezekiah is a light shining in the darkness of the fallen kings of Israel and Judah. As 2 Kings progresses the situations go from bad to worse. The Israelites take on the practices of the nations that they drove out before them almost 800 years ago, nations that so upset the Lord that he used Israel as his tool of judgment against them. The Northern Kingdom emulated those nations so fully and completely that it shared their fate, being exiled from the land by Assyria. The Southern Kingdom seems poised to suffer the same fate, and then Hezekiah becomes king.
Hezekiah did what was right in the Lord’s eyes, just as his ancestor David had done. He removed the shrines. He smashed the sacred pillars and cut down the sacred pole. He crushed the bronze snake that Moses made, because up to that point the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (The snake was named Nehushtan.) Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, Israel’s God. There was no one like him among all of Judah’s kings—not before him and not after him. He clung to the Lord and never deviated from him. He kept the commandments that the Lord had commanded Moses.
Hezekiah would not allow his kingdom to worship false gods. He would not even allow them to venerate a sacred image from their own past, because they were focusing more on the snake than the God who used the snake. Hezekiah’s faith transformed his kingdom and inspired a lot of people to worship the one true God. It is wonderful to see someone who is faithful after so many who were not faithful. This light that shines in the darkness draws others to it, and through Hezekiah’s commitment to the Lord and his actions based upon his faith, he enables the Lord to deliver Judah from the hands of Assyria.
What is most amazing about this is that Judah is the only kingdom that was able to remain free of the Assyrians. This is the Lord’s doing, and it shows that God will work even when all the worldly odds are against it happening. Faithfulness is a light shining in the darkness, and as we know from the Gospel of John, the darkness cannot overcome it.