2 Kings 18:1-16 (NIV)

1 In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah1 son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.

2 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years.2 His mother’s name was Abijaha daughter of Zechariah.

3 He did what was right3 in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David4 had done.

 4 He removed5 the high places,6 smashed the sacred stones7 and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake8 Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was calledb Nehushtan.c )

5 Hezekiah trusted9 in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.

6 He held fast10 to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses.

7 And the LORD was with him; he was successful11 in whatever he undertook. He rebelled12 against the king of Assyria and did not serve him.

8 From watchtower to fortified city,13 he defeated the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory.

9 In King Hezekiah’s fourth year,14 which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyria marched against Samaria and laid siege to it.

10 At the end of three years the Assyrians took it. So Samaria was captured in Hezekiah’s sixth year, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel.
11 The king15 of Assyria deported Israel to Assyria and settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in towns of the Medes.16

12 This happened because they had not obeyed the LORD their God, but had violated his covenant17–all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded.18 They neither listened to the commands19 nor carried them out. 

13 In the fourteenth year20 of King Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah21 and captured them.

14 So Hezekiah king of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria at Lachish:22 “I have done wrong.23 Withdraw from me, and I will pay whatever you demand of me.” The king of Assyria exacted from Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talentsd of silver and thirty talentse of gold.

15 So Hezekiah gave24 him all the silver that was found in the temple of the LORD and in the treasuries of the royal palace.

16 At this time Hezekiah king of Judah stripped off the gold with which he had covered the doors25 and doorposts of the temple of the LORD, and gave it to the king of Assyria.

2 Kings 20:3 (NIV)

3 “Remember,1 O LORD, how I have walked2 before you faithfully3 and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.                            

DEVOTION – Holly Dickson-Ramos (Ontario, Canada)

in the Old Testament, people’s lives are repeatedly classified in one of two ways, as a sort of scriptural eulogy: either “he did evil in the eyes of the Lord” or “he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.”

I rarely consider my life in such simple terms.  Media messages entice me to dwell on how nice I look as I age, the type of décor in my home, and what I do for a living.  It is easy to forget that – in light of eternity – obedience to God is much more important than such trivialities.

It can be tempting to ignore God’s standard of selfless love, but all those life summaries I the Old Testament remind me that my choices need to be anchored to something bigger than my shifting emotions.  My choices should revolve around God and what pleases God.  When God reflects on the sum of my life – who I was and what I did – I want to hear, “She did what is good in the eyes of the Lord.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:Today I can choose to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord.

PRAYER: Help us, O God, to love you with all or hearts and with all our souls and with all our strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Amen.