Read 2 Chronicles 31
Hezekiah destroys idols; firstfruits and tithes; Assyria invades Judah; Hezekiah's death; Manasseh's reign.
Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to inquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that He might know all that was in his heart (II Chr. 32:31).
This is an outstanding example of why the faithful are often tempted, which is to determine whether they have a deep, abiding faith or not. And that they may also feel the presence of God who does not allow them to be overtaken by temptations, but in their weaknesses delivers them. It is no secret that when His people are at their weakest then God gives His strength. If God is to work great feats in our lives, we must first humble ourselves and seek Him and His way (7:14). He must increase, but I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: He that cometh from heaven is above all (John 3:30-31).
Babylonian ambassadors supposedly came to congratulate Hezekiah on his recovery from illness. He was so flattered that his heart was lifted up (II Chr. 32:25), and he proudly showed them all his wealth. Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall (Prov. 16:18).
Hezekiah could have told the heathen ambassadors how 185,000 Assyrian soldiers who threatened Jerusalem had been miraculously destroyed; how he had been miraculously healed when he expected to die; and how all his possessions came as a result of the protection, provision, and power of God. God lets us know that He tested him, that He might know all that was in his heart (32:21).
When we talk with unbelievers, do we talk about our achievements, or do we prayerfully look for an opportunity to tell them about our wonderful Lord? It should be the desire of our hearts any time we have the opportunity to share our faith that Jesus become the focal point. Too often, we waste valuable time sharing one thing or another that has no significance in the realm of eternity. If the Lord grants us the opportunity to talk to unbelievers, we should use the Word of God and personal experiences to share Jesus with those who need to be touched by God. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised (Luke 4:18).
And now, Lord . . . grant unto Thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak Thy Word (Acts 4:29).
Thought for Today:
How worthless is our much work without prayer!
By Hezekiah's offering of the king's portion (share) of his substance for the Burnt Offerings (II Chr. 31:3). Burnt Offerings were wholly consumed, symbolic of total surrender, and offered as a sweet savour to the Lord (Lev. 8:28; Num. 15:3). God offered His King's portion in Christ Jesus who, in total surrender on the cross, was wholly consumed, even unto death. Christ . . . hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour (Eph. 5:2).
31:10 store, abundance; 31:14 oblations, free will offerings; 31:16 courses, assigned tasks; 31:18 set office, appointed office; 31:19 every several city, every city; 32:6 comfortably, encouragingly; 32:8 rested themselves, relied; 32:17 rail on, belittle; denounce; 32:18 affright, frighten; 33:11 fetters, chains.
Pray for Staff: Kevin Jennings • Government Official: Rep. Steve Israel (NY) • Country: Gabon (1 million) in west-central Africa • Major language: French • Religious freedom • 66% Roman Catholic; 30% Protestant; 3% animism and ancestor worship • Prayer Suggestion: Kneel in a humble spirit of reverence as you pray to the Lord (I Kings 8:54).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 1
Memory Verse for the Week: 1 Timothy 1:17