Read 2 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.
Verse for Today:
When he was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers (2 Chronicles 33:12).
After the death of Ahaz, his son Hezekiah became king and assumed leadership of a nation where idol worship was popular. Furthermore, Ahaz 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, boasted jurisdiction over 46 walled cities inside the Kingdom of Judah.
Hezekiah could have felt defeated over the mess he inherited, either hating his father or blaming God for the pitiful economic conditions that prevailed in the nation. Instead, he quickly destroyed all the places of idol worship that had existed since the days of Solomon.
Hezekiah fully restored the true worship of the Lord God of Israel. He reinstituted the Passover Feast and invited the few remaining people of the Northern Kingdom to join in the holy celebration (2 Chronicles 30:1-11). He reopened the Temple which his wicked, idol-worshiping father had desecrated and then closed. He (Hezekiah) trusted in the Lord God of Israel. . . . kept His Commandments. . . . and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not (2 Kings 18:5-7).
Sennacherib then surrounded Jerusalem and demanded that Hezekiah surrender. He [also wrote] letters to rail on (insult) the Lord God of Israel, and to speak against Him. . . . for this cause Hezekiah the King, and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz, prayed and cried to Heaven. And the Lord sent an angel, [who] cut off (destroyed) all the mighty men of valor, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he (the Assyrian king) returned with shame . . . to his own land (2 Chronicles 32:17). Jerusalem's remarkable preservation at this time was because men of God prayed.
As with Hezekiah, who inherited serious problems because his father was evil, some today think they are victims of other's sins. But, we should never complain about "unfortunate circumstances," or be concerned about our parents' mistakes that we may have inherited, and other situations over which we have no control (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). Unscrupulous counselors love to delve into people's pasts to "solve" their problems. True Christian counselors say that dwelling on our past mistakes, or those of others, does not provide helpful solutions, and may create depression, suspicion, self-hatred, and hatred of others.
With Paul, let us say: Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).
By Hezekiah's offering of the king's portion of his substance for the burnt offerings (2 Chronicles 31:3). The burnt offerings were wholly consumed, symbolic of total surrender, and offered as a sweet savor to the Lord (Numbers 15:3; Leviticus 8:28). 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 sweetsmelling savor (Ephesians 5:2).
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 = encouraged by; 32:17 rail on = belittle; denounce; 32:18 affright = frighten; 33:11 fetters = chains.
Government Officials: Rep. Steve Israel (NY) and Rep. Dan Miller (FL) · Pray for your Pastor · Country: Greece (11 million) in southeastern Europe · Major languages: Greek and English · Government restrictions on witnessing to others about Christ · 97% Greek Orthodox (2% churchgoers); 1% Muslim; .4% Roman Catholic; .1% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Fast, sanctify yourself, and unite in prayer with others as you cry unto the Lord (Joel 1:14).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 1
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 119:9