Hezekiah was king over Judah (the southern kingdom); the northern kingdom (Israel) was suffering much as a result of their rebellion to the Lord and His way. Judah’s kings were inconsistent in implementing the Lord’s way for the nation, but when Hezekiah became king he was determined to eradicate this inconsistency and serve the Lord with vigor. Throughout Judah and into the areas where the remnants of the Israelites resided Hezekiah sent “runners” to proclaim a feast to the Lord, appealing to the godly heritage of the nation. Some heard this appeal; “So the couriers went from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun, but they laughed them to scorn and mocked them” (2 Chronicles 30:10, ESV).
Those who laughed at the Lord’s servants exhibited wisdom that had its origins in the bowels of Satan. These were the people confused politically, beaten time and again militarily, and corrupted both spiritually and morally. These were the people whose heritage loudly proclaimed the Lord’s glory, but these were the people who remembered not their past. Their past was antiquated, old-fashioned, and certainly less sophisticated than “today’s current demands” required. You think we might have heard such things as this before?
While they laughed them to scorn, on the outside of the city, traveling from a distant land, was an empire, a military that had a reputation for cruelty—and Israel had no idea! Those in their wisdom who laughed the king’s servants to scorn never enjoyed the Lord’s favor and, of course, how could they in such a state of rebellion? In truth, they masked their uncertainty within and exhibited bravado. Much good it did them!
It could be said that the Lord had the last laugh, but does one really think the Lord takes pleasure is laughing last (or first) at the stupid rebellion of people? Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh was as vile a king as either the southern or northern kingdoms had, and yet the Lord saved him—all because the Lord takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23). Manasseh was incarcerated for his sinful rebellion, but in his affliction he turned to the Lord, and the Lord heard him (2 Chronicles 33:12-13).
Rather than laughing and mocking man’s foolishness, the Lord “laughs” with joy and man’s penitence.