5-30-2004
Read II Chronicles 31 - 33
In Today's Reading:
Hezekiah destroys idols; firstfruits and tithes; Assyria invades Judah; Hezekiah's death; Manasseh's reign; Amon's reign
After the death of wicked King Ahaz, his godly son Hezekiah became king and assumed leadership of a nation where idol worship was both popular and prevalent. Furthermore, his father had placed the kingdom of Judah in subjection to Assyria, which was fast becoming the world's most powerful kingdom. Its seemingly invincible armies had seized control of both Syria and the northern kingdom of Israel. In addition, Sennacherib, king of Assyria, had jurisdiction over 46 walled cities inside the kingdom of Judah.
Hezekiah could have mourned over the mess he inherited, either hating his father or blaming God for the wretched moral and economic conditions that prevailed throughout the nation. Instead, he appointed the courses of the priests. . . . He appointed also the king's portion (share) of his substance for the burned offerings. . . . he commanded the people . . . to give the portion of the priests and the Levites. . . . And . . . the LORD . . . blessed His people (II Chronicles 31:2-10).
Hezekiah observed the Passover (30:1-27). He reopened the Temple which his wicked, idol-worshiping father had desecrated, and restored worship of the true God. As with Hezekiah, who inherited serious problems because his father was evil, we too may be the victim of other people's sins. But Christians never need to fear the future or "unfortunate circumstances" of the past. We should not be concerned about our parents' mistakes, which we may have inherited, or other situations over which we have no control. Dwelling on one's past mistakes, or those of others, never provides helpful solutions, and can create depression, suspicion, self-hatred, and hatred of others. How encouraging it is to know that when Hezekiah and Isaiah prayed, with no hint of ill will, the Lord protected them.
With the Apostle Paul, let us say: This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, I press toward the mark (goal) for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).

Christ Revealed:
By Hezekiah's offering of the king's portion of his substance for the burned offerings (II Chronicles 31:3). The burned offerings were wholly consumed, symbolic of total surrender, and offered as a sweet savor to the Lord (Leviticus 8:28; Numbers 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 . . . has given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor (Ephesians 5:2).

Word Studies:
31:10 store = abundance; 31:14 oblations = offerings; gifts; 31:16 courses = assigned tasks; divisions; 31:18 set office = devotion; 31:19 several = single; 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:
Government Officials: Rep. Steve Israel (NY) and Rep. Dan Miller (FL) · Country: Colombia (39 million) in northwestern South America · Major language: Spanish · New government has declared religious freedom · 96% Roman Catholic; 1% Protestant; 1% Indian tribal religions 

Prayer Suggestion: Continually watch and pray so that you won't yield to temptation in a moment of weakness (Matthew 26:41).

Optional Reading: II Corinthians 1

Memory Verse for the Week: John 11:25