Hezekiah's Tunnel

A Sad End to a Good Life

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So Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD which you have spoken is good!” For he said, “Will there not be peace and truth at least in my days?” Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah— all his might, and how he made a pool and a tunnel and brought water into the city— are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? So Hezekiah rested with his fathers. Then Manasseh his son reigned in his place. (2 Kings 20:19-21)

Through the prophet Isaiah, God warned King Hezekiah that judgment was coming upon his descendants. Hezekiah had a strange reaction, saying the word of the LORD which you have spoken is good. This was a sad state of heart in the king of Judah. God announced coming judgment, and all he could respond with was relief that it would not happen in his lifetime.

Hezekiah's Tunnel

In this, Hezekiah showed himself to be almost the exact opposite of an “others-centered” person. He was almost totally self-centered. All he cared about was his own personal comfort and success. Hezekiah didn’t care if His sins helped to bring judgment upon his descendants, just so long as it spared him.

Yet, these verses also tell us of something good Hezekiah did. He made a pool and a tunnel and brought water into the city of Jerusalem. This was an amazing engineering feat. Hezekiah directed the building of an aqueduct to bring fresh water inside the city walls even when an army surrounded the city. It was more than 650 yards long (643 meters) through solid rock, begun on each end and meeting in the middle. It can still be seen today, and it empties into the pool of Siloam. If you have never walked through Hezekiah’s tunnel, it’s a lot of fun – just remember you’ll walk through the water that still flows in the tunnel and it’s really dark.

At the end of it all, Hezekiah rested with his fathers. There is no doubt that Hezekiah started out as a godly king, and overall his reign was one of outstanding godliness (2 Kings 18:3-7). Yet his beginning was much better than his end; Hezekiah did not finish well. God gave Hezekiah the gift of 15 more years of life, but the added years did not make him a better or a godlier man.

Time or age doesn’t necessarily make us any better. Consider that time does nothing but pass by, hour by hour and day by day.

We sometimes say, “Time will tell,” “Time will heal,” or “Time will bring out the potential in me.” But time won’t do any of these things. Time will only come and go. It is only how we use time that matters. Hezekiah didn’t make good use of the extra time the Lord gave him. God helping us, in Jesus we can make better choices, and finish strong in our latter years.

Click here for David’s commentary on 2 Kings 20

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