And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace,
who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
1 Peter 3:10
If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.
Embedded in the Old Testament is the colorful history of Israel’s kings. Over the course of 208 years, there were thirty-three kings who earned the title of “wicked” and a mere five who landed the title of “righteous” (Thejenkinsinstitute.com).
The accolades of the righteous kings were not determined by wars that were won, territorial expansion, or civil advancements that were made. There was but one metric that was the common denominator in the lives of these five men: that he did what was pleasing in the sight of the Lord. Following are the names of the five kings and a bird’s-eye view of what “earned” them special mention:
1. Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God (2 Chron. 14:2).
2. Jehoshaphat did what was right in the eyes of the Lord (2 Chron.20:32).
3. Jotham grew powerful because he walked steadfastly before the Lord his God (2 Chron. 27:6).
4. Hezekiah was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God (2 Chron. 31:20).
5. Josiah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord (2 Kings 22:2).
I’d like to zoom in on contestant number four, because there’s a powerful verse tucked in at the tail-end of 2 Chronicles 31. This verse that sums up the life of Hezekiah could be applied to each one of us who seek to honor the Lord in all we set our hands to do.
Firstly, this isn’t a verse supporting a prosperity gospel; it’s a verse that is in full-fledge support of a faithful life of service unto God, an echo of Colossians 3:17, that “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Where King Hezekiah may stand out as an Old Testament poster child of faithfulness, it’s important to keep in mind that just because he was the king, his faithfulness didn’t come any easier than it might for us. His faithfulness was counter-cultural, against-the-flow, and radical. We, too, have an opportunity at our fingertips to model this same faithfulness to this day. The principle he lived by wasn’t a principle due to his princely position; indeed, we are all princes and princesses, royalty according to 1 Peter 2:9, in case we are tempted to use that as an exclusion:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people for his own possession,
that you may proclaim the excellencies of him
who called you out of darkness
into his marvelous light.”
No, “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
Our culture tends to cause us to be consumed with career options rather than character. The proclivity to hyper-focus on the destination, regardless of the journey of growth, wreaks havoc as we plow through our path, instead of sowing seeds in the small things along the way. I love how Canon Thomas Carter, who was a prolific writer in the Victorian era of church history, weaves his words about this very point.
“The occupations of every day seem often trifling,
we may do them without thinking as ordinary things,
yet they are the scenes of our appointed lot
—appointed by God for you and me.
The ordering, the application of these ordinary occupations,
is the appointing of the Divine purpose;
it is for ourselves to carry them out.
And secretly our character forms according as we handle them.”
Perhaps it is the tedium over heroic feats that best shapes our character. It has less to do with our professional position in life than how we posture our attitudes and bear up under trials and conflicts. His promises are sure, that
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
and He delights in his way” (Psalm 37:23),
as long as we
“Do all things without murmurings and disputings” (Phil. 2:14).
May we seek to carry out our work on the path that God has given us to walk, as Hezekiah did, declaring these words over our lives and the works of our hands, drawn from Hezekiah’s life as recorded in 2 Chronicles 31:20-21:
“May I carry out this work and keep it up everywhere
in my sphere of influence.
May I be the very best you have called me to be
—good, right, and true before my God.
May everything I take up be done well in a spirit of prayerful worship. May I be a great success in Your eyes,
established in You.”
I will establish a place for My people Israel and plant them,
so that they may live there and not be disturbed again.
2 Samuel 7:10
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.