Thursday, August 02, 2012

August 2, 2012 … Work FOR God and Pray TO God

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 215 

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 2nd Chronicles, Chapters 32-33 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: 2nd Chronicles 32: 1-3; 7-8; 20, 22; 24-25 :[NIV] … 1 After all that Hezekiah had so faithfully done, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah. He laid siege to the fortified cities, thinking to conquer them for himself. 2 When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come and that he intended to wage war against Jerusalem, 3 he consulted with his officials and military staff about blocking off the water from the springs outside the city, and they helped him. 4 They gathered a large group of people who blocked all the springs and the stream that flowed through the land. "Why should the kings of Assyria come and find plenty of water?" they said. 5 Then he worked hard repairing all the broken sections of the wall and building towers on it. He built another wall outside that one and reinforced the terraces of the City of David. He also made large numbers of weapons and shields. [Hezekiah to the people in Jerusalem] 7 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. 8 With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles." And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said. … 20 King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer to heaven about this. [i.e., the persistent and oppressive threats of Sennacherib, the King of the Assyrians]. … 22 So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all others. He took care of them on every side. … 24 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. He prayed to the Lord, Who answered him and gave him a miraculous sign. 25 But Hezekiah's heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the Lord's wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. 26 Then Hezekiah repented of the pride of his heart, as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore the Lord's wrath did not come on them during the days of Hezekiah. … 30 It was Hezekiah who blocked the upper outlet of the Gihon spring and channeled the water down to the west side of the City of David. He succeeded in everything he undertook. 31 But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart. 
Highlight Passage: 2nd Chronicles 33: 1-2; 10-13; 21-23 :[NIV] … 1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years.2 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. … 10 The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention.11 So the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. 12 In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors.13 And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.21 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. 22 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as his father Manasseh had done. Amon worshiped and offered sacrifices to all the idols Manasseh had made.23 But unlike his father Manasseh, he did not humble himself before the Lord; Amon increased his guilt. 

My Journal for Today: Have you ever heard the quote, “Work like it all depends on you; pray like it all depends on God.” Some say that saying was attributed to Martin Luther; but more recently it has been popularized by the Christian financial guru, Dave Ramsey. However, though this worthy saying is not found in the Bible, probably no where better was it illustrated biblically than in the two chapters of the book of 2nd Chronicles I was led to read and study today in my chronological Bible reading plan.

And especially in Chapter 32, from which I’ve taken a few highlight passages, copied above, we read of King Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem, who were oppressed by Sennacherib, then the king of the Assyrian Empire. This was a bad situation; and Hezekiah knew it. So, what did he do? He prayed like it all depended on God and worked like it all depended on him. Read about it above, especially in the emboldened and underlined passages which I’ve copied for your own study from 2nd Chronicles 32.

Hezekiah, in this confrontation with the Assyrians, had total confidence in God and the first thing he did was to pray – in faith – his appeal to God for deliverance. Then, likely guided by an anointing of God’s Spirit, Hezekiah set about rebuilding walls and developing an elaborate set of underground aqueducts to provide Jerusalem with fresh water if Sennacherib tried to starve and hold back water from the people. I’ve walked in the passages of Hezekiah’s tunnels (see photo); and archeologists have shown these tunnels were an incredible engineering feat which were constructed by ingenious, decisive leadership and diligent work. And having been in those tunnels, it's quite obvious to me it was a "God-thing!"

And God was responsive to the faith-driven prayers of Hezekiah and the people. And another telling bit of history about praying TO God and working FOR God is found above in the account of Manasseh, who followed Hezekiah as King of Judah. In Chapter 33 of 2nd Chronicles, Manasseh was revealed as a WAY BAD king in Judah. He did mega-evil in the eyes of the Lord, … to the point that he was defeated and led away to Babylon in chains with a ring in his nose. But this got Manasseh’s attention before our merciful Lord; and Manasseh prayed TO God in brokenness for forgiveness, with a repentant heart; and our Lord, God, who still had a covenant with Judah, heard Manasseh’s prayers and delivered him back to Jerusalem, where Manasseh finished out his days working for the Lord.

So, this study today is asking yours truly, “Bill, are you praying like it all depends on God; and are you REALLY working like it all depends on you?” Maybe it would be a good self-exam for anyone coming along with me here to ask themselves that same question; … and then we all need to move ahead to implement this truth in our lives. And in doing the latter, Paul’s exhortation in Romans 12: 1-2 to allow our lives, as Christians, to become living sacrifices of worship for our God is a great New Testament truth to guide our steps to work FOR God as we pray TO God. 

My Prayer Today: … Oh, Holy Father, I am under conviction to pray more in faith and do more in worship for Your glory. Amen

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