TODAY’S READING: 2 Kings 18; 2 Chronicles 29–31; Psalm 48
Hezekiah became king at 25 and is remembered with honor for he did what his father David had done, sang David’s songs, and led his people to return to Jehovah Elohim of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Coming to terms with God’s missionary heart, Hezekiah lived out the reality that covenant violation always has a missionary and international component. Having sullied the temple of God, Israel lost out on intimacy with Jehovah and lost the opportunity for God to live among them and through them to bless all nations. The nations are always involved, for even the consequence of rebellion was that God used invading nations to glorify His holy name.
When Hezekiah restored holy worship of Jehovah, it likewise had a missionary and international component. Hezekiah told his people: “If you return to the Lord, your brethren and your children will be treated with compassion by those who lead them captive, so that they may come back to this land; for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him” (2 Chr. 30:9). In Hezekiah’s rule the restoration of pure temple worship and the return of God’s blessing played out in the context and view of the nations. When God’s people bring a lot of debris into “the temple,” it always negatively affects both us and the nations. Conversely, when we remove the debris from our worship, it also always affects the nations.
The essential error, repeated through the centuries, is to demean God by making Him a tribal deity, a local god, or a national genie. Jehovah has always been and always will be the God of all the earth, the God of all nations. Jehovah never was and never will be an American god. Jehovah does not hold the interest of America over and against the interests of other nations. America as a nation cannot be saved; for only people can repent, not nations. When we make God an American (or Kenyan, Egyptian, or Japanese) god, we commit the same error as the Assyrian Rabshakeh and Sennacherib. “National gods are the ultimate deification of human pride, but they remain constructs, nevertheless… Indeed that was the identification made by the Assyrian king and his spokesman themselves (2 Kings 18:33–35). Within their worldview, what happened in the sphere of kings and armies reflected what was going on in the sphere of the gods… The Israelite prophets accepted this worldview at one level but decisively rejected it on another. The international arena was indeed the sphere of divine action (that was the part they agreed on). But far from being an arena packed with clashing gods (that was the part they rejected), only one divine being was active within it—YHWH, the God of Israel.”
There is only one God of all the earth, and He is not American. He is the God of all nations and His story is rooted in covenant with Abraham, David, and their spiritual sons. The God of all is, I’m sure, a little perturbed that He is often robed in the red, white, and blue. Some of the debris we bring into our modern temples is nationalism, and that is something very different than missions. God help us. We must neither elevate false gods to any type of rival status with Jehovah, nor turn Jehovah into our national mascot.
 Christopher J. H. Wright. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2006. 153–154.