Read II Chronicles 31 -- 33
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 mourned over the mess he inherited, either hating his father or blaming God for the pitiful economic conditions that prevailed in the nation. Instead, he recognized that the nation's sins had resulted in the wrath of God upon them. 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 (II 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 (II King 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. And when he came into the house of his god, they . . . (who were his own children) slew him with a sword. Thus the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem . . . and guided them on every side (II Chronicles 32:17,20-22). 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, we too may be the victim of other's sins. But never fear the future or "unfortunate circumstances." We should not be concerned about our parents' mistakes, which we may have inherited, or other situations over which we have no control. Unscrupulous counselors love to delve into people's past to "solve" their problems. True Christian counselors say that 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 the Lord protected them.
With Paul, let us say: Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before (us), I press toward the mark 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 burnt offerings (II Chronicles 31:3). The burnt offerings were wholly consumed, symbolic of total surrender, and offered as a sweet savor to the Lord (Num. 15:3; Lev. 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 (Eph. 5:2).
Word Studies: 31:14 oblations means offerings; gifts; 31:16 courses means assigned tasks; divisions; 32:17 rail on means belittle; denounce; 33:11 fetters means chains.
Government Officials: Rep. Steve Israel (NY) and Rep. Dan Miller (FL) · Pray for Rick Hash and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on WEKT-AM, Elkton, KY · Country: Kenya (29 million) in eastern Africa · Major languages: English and Swahili · Religious freedom · 46% Protestant; 27% Roman Catholic; 17% belief in mystical powers; 6% Muslim; 3% Eastern Orthodox · Prayer Suggestion: Pray and rejoice in the Lord for all His spiritual blessings (Isaiah 61:10).
Optional Reading: II Corinthians 1
Memory Verse for the Week: II Corinthians 6:17