One of the more devastating things that can happen as we growup is that we realize that the people we looked up to as kids, be they athletes, actors, or celebrities of another kind, are fallible people just like we are. We regularly hear of celebrities being arrested, treating their fans rudely, and using their money in obscene ways. Many of them present a perfect public image, but too often we end up seeing what was lurking beneath.
This is basically the trajectory of Hezekiah, one of Judah’s kings. When Hezekiah becomes king, the Bible describes him in some pretty remarkable ways. 2 Kings 18:5 says that his trust in God was so remarkable that “there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him.” In terms of being a king who followed after God, Hezekiah was in a class of his own.
Unfortunately for Judah, Hezekiah’s life does not remain characterized by this all the way through. After leading Judah well for a time, Hezekiah lets his wealth go to his head. In 2 Kings 20:12-19, when messengers come from Babylon—another significant empire of the day—he tours them through his storehouses, showing them absolutely everything. In doing so, he foolishly made Judah a target for the Babylonian Empire, as they saw how much they would stand to gain if they attacked Judah. Though he was a man who trusted God, Hezekiah gave in to the same sin we do, which ultimately led to Judah’s ruin.
Where do we turn when those we look up to let us down? Typically, we find another celebrity to follow. The problem, of course, is that they all suffer from the same problem as you and I do—the weight of sin—and time and time again they succumb to its temptations.
This is why Jesus is such great news for us. 1 John 3:5 describes Jesus as one who “appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.” So not only is He not like those we look up to who will inevitably stumble and let us down, Jesus goes a step further; He removes our sin from us. This Advent season, as we areconfronted by the sin and weakness of ourselves and our world, turn to Jesus, the true and better Hezekiah.