Hezekiah was the king of Judah from 715-686 BC. He was a good king who restored priestly temple service (2 Chr. 29), reinstituted the celebration of the Passover (2 Chr. 30), destroyed places of idol worship and even broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made (Num. 21:6-9) which the people had turned into an idol (2 Kgs. 18:4). Because of Hezekiah’s prayers, God delivered Jerusalem from Assyrian siege (Isa. 36, 37) and extended his life by fifteen years when he had become deathly ill (2 Kgs. 20:1-11).
But even good kings have their failures. In Isaiah 39, Hezekiah showed all his riches to Babylonian ambassadors who came bearing gifts after he was restored from his illness. The prophet Isaiah came to Hezekiah and told him how Babylon would come one day and take all these treasures and his descendants away (Isa. 39:5-7). When good leaders fail us, it can be depressing. God’s people had been plagued by wicked rulers throughout much of the history of the divided kingdom. To have a good king like Hezekiah was beneficial, yet he only slowed the process of apostasy that led eventually to punishment. Our nation has been drifting from God for years. When the dam has burst and a flood of moral laxity has swept so much away in our society, we are thankful for good leaders who have tried to stem the tide, but even good leaders are not perfect. Is there any hope and comfort to be had after those we looked to as beacons of hope fail us?
After the sad message of Isaiah 39, comes Isaiah 40. Isaiah 40 speaks of God who is our hope. God created the universe and is supreme of over all (Isa. 40:12). God knows all (Isa. 40:13-14). He is sovereign over all nations (Isa. 40:15-17). “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins” (Isa. 40:1-2). There is nothing that can be compared to God (Isa. 40:18-20; 25, 26); no god we have fashioned nor earthly leader we have exalted is anywhere close to Him. God never grows weary or faint; He restores those who wait on Him and renews their strength (Isa. 40:28-31).
The following chapters of Isaiah disclose the details of God’s Suffering Servant—Jesus Christ—Who would come and ultimately deliver His people. Earthly rulers may let us down or even persecute us for our faith, but remember Jesus Christ came to earth to become King of Kings and He will never let us down (Isa. 9:6-7, 1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 17:14; 19:16). He is reigning now and will continue to reign until the end; all enemies will be put under His feet (1 Cor. 15:24, 25). God says to His people, “I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass” (Isa. 51:12).