Paul warned the Roman Christians about the danger of being conformed to the world (Rom.12:2). One translation renders it, “Do not let the world press you into its mold.” By the world, we mean the organized system of evil which characterizes unbelievers under the dominion of Satan. Each day we face this relentless pressure. It isn’t hard to give in. Most people do. Yet, we are called to be radically different. God’s children are living for another world—for eternity. Hezekiah dared to be different. His life as described in 2 Kings 18 is a challenge to us.
We are to dare to be DIFFERENT IN OUR ACTIONS (v.3). This was so different from most of the kings of Judah. Of Ahaz who preceded him it says, “he did evil in the sight of the LORD” (17:2), and of Manasseh who succeeded him, “he did evil in the sight of the LORD.” Hezekiah dared to be different.
There were two motivating factors that aided him that will also help us. First, Hezekiah knew God was always watching. The private sin on earth is a public scandal in heaven. The good deeds men overlook are always documented by God. 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him." Secondly, Hezekiah had a godly example in David. King David wasn’t a perfect man, but he was “a man after God’s own heart.” Hezekiah was challenged by that example. Such can inspire us.
We are further to be DIFFERENT IN OUR ATTITUDES (v.4). The attitude of most of the kings toward idolatry was to encourage it by tolerating it, and some actively embraced it by practicing it. Not Hezekiah! He sought to eradicate it by attacking it! The Jews had come to venerate the bronze serpent. Hezekiah called it Nehushtan—the bronze thing. Are we tolerant of evil? Right attitudes are important. Paul’s demand not to be conformed to the world is connected to a renewed mind that is transformed by the Word (Rom.12:2).
Then, we are to be DIFFERENT IN OUR ASSURANCE (v.5-6). The world seeks success and security in position, possessions, and pleasures. If I get the right status I'll be successful. If I get enough stuff I'll be secure. If I get enough stimulation, I'll be satisfied. That is instead the path to disappointment for there is nothing this world offers that is enduring. God alone is worthy of our faith. He gives the highest status, true riches, and everlasting joy to His obedient children. A living faith produces works. James tells us that “faith without works is dead.” Hezekiah’s life was marked by connection, “he held fast to the LORD”; consistency, “he did not depart from following Him”; commitment, “kept His commandments.”
Finally, we should be DIFFERENT IN OUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS (v.7-8). Several of the wicked kings experienced worldly success. In the end, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?” True success is having all the resources we need here and all the rewards we can store up hereafter. "And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." (1 John 2:17) Hezekiah lived in victory. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Dare to be different!