If you’ve been reading along in 1 and 2 Kings, then you probably weren’t surprised by the words of 2 Kings 17:2, “And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.” Hoshea–although somewhat differently from the kings of Israel who came before him–did not rule as God intended or desired. That’s to be expected at this point in the story, but that doesn’t take the sting out of what happens next–the fall of Israel into the hands of the Assyrian Empire. God had repeatedly warned His people of the outcome of their rebellion, but they would not listen. Instead of listening to the Lord, they chose to serve idols. Instead of trusting God, they went their own ways. That’s why Israel fell, and it’s why Judah didn’t seem to be far behind. At least those who settled Samaria in place of the Israelites showed some reverence for the Lord (17:41).
So, as the page turns to 2 Kings 18 and attention turns to Judah, one might expect to find a similar outcome. While Judah had seen some kings who did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, 2 Kings 17 lumps them right in with the rest of Israel. And that doesn’t even get into Ahaz. He was not among those who did right. The astute reader can see where this story is trending, and it is not looking good when Ahaz’s son, Hezekiah, takes the throne. However, things don’t always go as we might expect, and Hezekiah is a prime example of that. Things were trending in a certain direction, but 2 Kings 18:3 reverses that trend in a hurry, “And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done.” Hezekiah trusted the Lord and led God’s people in a way that set him apart from every king before or after him. Though his father and every other indication in the story set one expectation, Hezekiah went a different direction–trusting the Lord and leading others to do the same.
My point is that things often go as we expect them to–see Hoshea and the fall of Israel–but things don’t have to go as others expect them to–you can, like Hezekiah, no matter where things are trending, choose to trust the Lord and to lead others to do the same.