Isaiah, chapters 34-37

“‘We trust in Jehovah our God,’ is he not the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed […]?”
Isaiah 36:7

Hezekiah’s father, apostate King Ahaz, had littered Judah with pagan altars and had closed the doors of the temple in Jerusalem. (2 Ch. 28:23-25)
Upon coming to the throne at age 25, Hezekiah reinstated divine worship according to Mosaic Law, celebrated a Passover to which even people from the northern tribes of Israel attended, and reorganized the Levite priesthood. (2 Ch. 29:1-5; 30:1-5)
The “high places and altars” Hezekiah had removed were not places of worship to his God, Jehovah, but to pagan deities.
The king of Assyria sent a messenger threatening Hezekiah to submit his people to Assyrian rule.
That messenger publicly accused Hezekiah of bringing down Jehovah’s altars, questioning whether Jehovah would save Jerusalem after the king’s recklessness.
It was unbeknownst to him that Hezekiah had actually been doing God’s will during his entire kingship and had no reason to fear Assyrian conquest.
We may sometimes experience similar accusations from our loved ones when we do something that is in line with Biblical principles but in conflict with what the world generally considers to be “good.”
For example, a woman studying the Bible may feel inclined to leave the man she is living with, although he may be a “good” man by the world’s standards, if he has no intention of legalizing their union.
She might receive severe criticism from her family or coworkers even though she is in fact doing the right thing. (1 Co. 7:39; 2 Co. 6:14)
Or a Christian man who abstains from celebrating holidays of pagan origin with his extended family may be accused of isolating himself and being intolerant of others, even though he is only trying to practice Christianity as it was originally practiced by first century Christians. (2 Co. 6:16,17)
There are many cases in which the stance of those trying to carry out God’s will may be misinterpreted.
We do well to avoid arguing and find solace in the satisfaction of having obeyed our conscience. (Is. 36:21)
Such a strong relationship with God gives us joy and the reassurance that he will never desert us. (Is. 35:10)
If you would like to view a (completely free) film reenacting the greatest trial of King Hezekiah’s faith, follow this link: https://tv.jw.org/#en/video/VODMovies/pub-tiy_x_VIDEO
You can toggle the language setting in the top right corner of the screen.

2 Kings, chapters 19-22

“Go, inquire of Jehovah in my behalf, in behalf of the people, and in behalf of all Judah concerning the words of this book that has been found […]”
~2 Kings 22:13

Josiah was a 26 year old king who had an earnest interest in doing things God’s way (2 Ki. 22:2).

When his scribe, Shaphan, brought him the book of the Law (evidently the original book written by the hand of Moses), he formed a committee to find out what God’s words meant in terms of Judah’s future (De. 31:9).

The committee, despite being made up of prominent men, did not visit any well-known male prophets of the time, despite their vicinity (Jeremiah, Nahum and Zephaniah).

Instead, the committee inquired of the prophetess Huldah. (2 Ki. 22:14).

Huldah’s insight into the reading of the prophecies was never questioned but rather, taken as God’s word (2 Ki. 22:20-23:3).

King Josiah’s humility was hence blessed as he was spared seeing Jerusalem’s destruction or having it collapse under his reign (2 Ki. 22:18-20).

How do I react when given sound advice by a spiritually mature woman?

Do I think she is overstepping her role in the congregation by personally giving me suggestions that typically only congregation elders or overseers give?

When a person delivers God’s message to me, it should not matter that they are male or female, so long as it is God’s word that they are relating.

Other women who prophesied on behalf of Jehovah:

Genesis, chapters 47-50

Genesis 49:9,10~

Judah is a lion cub. From the prey, my son, you will certainly go up. He has crouched down and stretched himself out like a lion, and like a lion, who dares rouse him? The scepter will not depart from Judah, neither the commander’s staff from between his feet, until Shi′loh comes [meaning: He Whose It Is; He to Whom It Belongs], and to him the obedience of the peoples will belong.

On his deathbed, Jacob passed down the birthright of preserving the Messiah’s lineage to the eldest of his sons who did not sin against him.

The lion and the scepter represent the right to rule as king, and Shi’loh refers to the then unborn Messiah.

This is a noteworthy prophecy because as we now know, King David proceeded from the tribe of Judah and Jesus’ ancestry was traceable to David on both his parents’ sides (2 Sam. 2:4; 2 Sam. 7:16,17; Matt. 1:1-16; 3:23-33).

Of Jesus, it was said: “This one will be great and will be called Son of the Most High; and Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule as king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end to his kingdom,” (Luke 1:32,33).

Jesus asked us to pray for that kingdom to come: Let your Kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also on earth.” (Matt. 6:9,10).

After his death, Jesus’ followers expected him to one day begin ruling from heaven:

God resurrected this Jesus, and of this we are all witnesses […] For David did not ascend to the heavens, but he himself says, ‘Jehovah said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet,”’ (Acts 2:32-35).

This in turn makes reference to Jesus’ first act as king: to do God’s will in heaven, that is, to throw out God’s enemies from it (Rev. 12:7-12).

Then the prophecy refers to us, saying: “the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing that he has a short period of time.”

It might take thousands of years for God’s prophecies to come to full light, but they are always fulfilled unfailingly.

Genesis, chapters 36-39

~Genesis 38:26

Then Judah examined them and said: “She is more righteous than I am…”

Judah was pretty set on executing his twice-widowed daughter-in-law, Tamar, when he found out she had prostituted herself (Gen. 38:24).

After her second husband died, he deceitfully promised her she could marry his third son once he was old enough (Gen. 38:11).

This was a common Hebrew practice, termed “brother-in-law marriage,” realized to preserve the first husband’s lineage (Gen. 38:8; Deut. 25:5,6). This arrangement also served to provide materially for women who otherwise might end up in dire poverty.

But when Judah’s son came of age, Judah was afraid he would also die so he did not keep his promise to Tamar.

When she realized she had been lied to, she disguised herself as a prostitute and had sexual relations with Judah, who by then was also a widow (Gen. 38:14-16).

Tamar was cunning enough to ask him for some of his personal belongings which she later used to hold him accountable for his actions (Gen. 38:18,25).

The lesson I wish to point out is that although Judah had acted shamefully, he readily admitted he had been wrong.

Judah was a prominent man, eventually receiving his father’s blessing. This was a privilege since only one of his father’s 12 sons could become an ancestor to the Messiah (Gen. 49:10).

Even so, he did not use his influence to hide his error or to crush the woman who brought it to light, thus setting an example for future leaders who likewise make grave mistakes.