Highlights In Today's Reading:
Hezekiah cleans up the country by removing paganism (31:1). The people tithe, and God is pleased (31:19-21). Then, in chapter 32, the enemy attacks and the Lord rescues His people just like He will you and me. But, in chapter 33, evil creeps back in and, although Manasseh finally repents, God still wields judgment, especially to the unrepenting Amon.
After the death of Ahaz, his son Hezekiah became king of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, a nation where idols had been popular for about 20 years. Furthermore, Ahaz had subjected his kingdom to Assyria which was becoming the world's most powerful kingdom. Its seemingly invincible armies had conquered Syria and the Northern Kingdom. The Assyrians could also boast of control over 46 walled cities surrounding it, but they were unable to conquer Jerusalem: For this cause Hezekiah the king, and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz, prayed and cried (prayed earnestly) to heaven. And the Lord sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour . . . of the king of Assyria. . . . And when he was come into the house of his god, they that came forth of his own bowels slew him there with the sword. Thus the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem (32:20-22).
The key to Jerusalem's remarkable recovery was Hezekiah who did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father did. . . . He trusted in the Lord God of Israel . . . (and) kept His Commandments (II Kin. 18:3,5-6). He had more zeal for the Lord than his father had shown toward pagan worship. He also removed the sites of pagan worship that had remained since the days of Solomon. He reopened the Temple, which his idol-worshiping father had desecrated, and he reinstituted the Passover Feast (II Chr. 30:1-6,15-27). His efforts to return the nation to serving the Lord and keeping His Word resulted in national prosperity during his 29-year reign (29:1; 32:27-30).
Godly Hezekiah did not dwell on the failures and difficulties that he inherited. We, too, are taught: Forgetting those things which are behind . . . press toward the mark (Phil. 3:13-14). How thankful we can be that once we repent of our sins God forgives and chooses never to remember them (Heb. 8:12; 10:17). Our first concern should be to pray, committing our needs to Him, then trust in the Lord and be obedient to His Word.
Hezekiah was honored for having trusted in the Lord God of Israel . . . He clave to the Lord, and departed not from following Him, but kept His Commandments (II Kin. 18:5-6).
No matter how hopless our situation may appear, the Lord has promised: Let not your heart be troubled . . . believe . . . Me. . . . Lo, I am with you alway (John 14:1; Matt. 28:20).
Thought for Today:
When we sincerely repent of our sins and begin obeying God's Word, the guilt is replaced by the assurance of forgiveness (II Cor. 5:17).
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 sweetsmelling 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 =brighten; 33:11 fetters =chains.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts in memory of Letha Hash • Bible Pathway Printer: Ambrose Printing Staff, Nashville TN • Government Official: Rep. Steve Israel (NY) • Country: Netherlands (15.8 million) in northwestern Europe • Major language: Dutch • Religious freedom • 35% Catholic; 28% Protestant; 3% Muslim; 1% Hindu; .9% Buddhist; .1% Jewish; 2% Other; 30% Unaffiliated • Prayer Suggestion: Remember that it is by the blood of Christ that we have access to God in prayer (Heb. 10:19).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 1
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:32