Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 214
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 2nd Kings, Chapter 20-21 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -
Highlight Passage: 2nd Kings 20: 1-6; :[NIV] … 1 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, "This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover."
2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 3 "Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes." And Hezekiah wept bitterly. …
4 Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: 5 "Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, 'This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord. 6 I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.'"
My Journal for Today: Today in my chronological Bible reading plan, I was taken, in 2nd Kings, Chapters 20-21, to the end of the reign of Hezekiah and the history of the turning of the southern tribes in Judah/Jerusalem under the following kings, Manasseh and Amon, into a wicked nation for over 60 years which would ultimately lead God to allow the Babylonians to come in and overwhelm the Israelites.
However, today one passage in 2nd Kings, Chapter 20, i.e., verses 1-6, jumped out to me for my own application; and prayerfully my highlight and discussion of the truths in this passage this morning will help you as well. Please go to the highlight passage, which I’ve copied above, and digest and meditate on it; and first see what God’s Spirit is saying to you.
The first thing I noted in this passage was King Hezekiah getting some perceived bad news from his #1 Prophet, Isaiah, … a clear word that Hezekiah was going to die and for the king to get his affairs in order. Maybe I’m sensitive to this right now because I’m waiting for news of a biopsy which was taken of my prostate last week; but Isaiah, who was a recognized PROPHET of God’s truth in that day had spoken the word he had received from God to Hezekiah; and it was a call to get ready for his passing. It would be like me receiving word from my biopsy and from the Doc that cancer would only give me a few months to live. Now, I certainly don’t anticipate that kind of news from my urologist; but still I can somewhat empathize with the word Hezekiah got from God through Isaiah and how he read immediate death into that word.
But what was Hezekiah’s response to this bad news? In agony and IMMEDIATELY, HE PRAYED! It was almost like a knee-jerk reflex. Hezekiah’s IMMEDIATE and conditioned response to Isaiah’s prophesy was to turn immediately to His God and plea for God’s grace, … power that Hezekiah believed could change his situation.
So, did God change His [i.e., God’s] mind? That certainly is what it looks like, doesn’t it? But I don’t believe our all-knowing God just heard Hezekiah’s prayer and went to PLAN B. No, God’s PLAN A all along was to heal Hezekiah and give him 15 more years so that the faithful remnant of God’s people would grow before Manasseh and Amon came in to mess things up and God would have to send in the Babylonians to give Judah a lesson in humility.
It was God’s plan all along to reward Hezekiah for his goodness and righteousness as a king by giving Hezekiah what looked like a reprieve from a death sentence. Some years ago, a doctor told a sister in Christ in our church that she had just a few months to live; and though she accepted the prognosis calmly, knowing that God was in control, she prayed that God would give her a little more time to get to know her new little grand child. Well, this faithful servant of God lived several years, witnessing her faith and shining God’s light of grace. To all of us who knew this sister, who is now with Jesus, we saw a life which exhibited the love and grace of God; and there were those who were strengthened in their faith because of God giving her some more time on this earth.
And I believe God had this kind of strategy in mind all along for Hezekiah; and God, by using Isaiah’s word of knowledge to the king brought the King into ABSOLUTE SURRENDER to God, which by-the-way is the absolute key to the power we can find from prayer to God. God, in my understanding of this passage, needed Hezekiah to be in faithful surrender to God for 15 more years, whatever God’s reason was for that extended time (quite possibly to give opportunities for others in Judah to see the faith of the King and in repentance come to a saving relationship with God). Note that God didn’t lie to Hezekiah in Isaiah’s prophesy. The prophesy exhorted Hezekiah to get things in order because he was going to die, not recovering from the illness Hezekiah was experiencing. Well, there’s no untruth in Isaiah’s prophesy. We all die. We all never recover from the plague of aging; and we all should be continually keeping our lives in order and under the will of God.
But God gave Hezekiah more time, with what seemed like a “recovery” to the king, so that Hezekiah could come into a deeper relationship with God, which we note began immediately when the king lapsed into surrendered prayer after learning of what the king perceived was a very poor prognosis for his immediate future.
What I’m trying to illustrate here is that we need to know and believe that God is in absolute control of our lives; and yes, His will is HIS will. But we should never be put off by our own ideas about why God is doing in our lives through some set of circumstances, no matter how dire they seem. So, when I get the results of my biopsy, which may even come today, not matter what the results, I should IMMEDIATELY pray to God a prayer of thankfulness, knowing that (Rom. 8: 28), “… all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are the called according to His purpose” is absolutely true.
Hezekiah believed that truth; and God used his witness for 15 more years to give God the glory. I’m now going to pray that no matter what news I get from my upcoming biopsy, I will give glory to God with whatever time He has for me to serve Him on this earth, I pray that I can serve Him for HIS glory.
My Prayer Today: … Lord, please give me Your time – the time You have predestined for me - to love You, to obey You, and to serve You; and I will do all I can to use that time – Your time – for Your glory. Amen