May 8

 

Read II Kings 18 -- 20

 

In Today's Reading:

 

Hezekiah's reign; Assyria invades Judah; Hezekiah and Isaiah pray; Hezekiah's miraculous healing

 

Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. . . . And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did (II Kings 18:1-3) When Hezekiah became king, he did not follow the ways of his evil father Ahaz; instead, he believed the prophets of God, including the unpopular Micah Hezekiah not only benefited from the ministry of Micah, but he also gained spiritual encouragement from the prophet Isaiah. Hezekiah removed the high places, and broke the images (sacred pillars), and cut down the groves (Asherah idols). . . . He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. For he clung to the LORD, and departed not from following Him, but kept His Commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses (18:4-6). Hezekiah was unique in his trust in God. He knew that obedience without faith in God would not be adequate in following the will of God.

 

Hezekiah led the nation to keep the Passover and to renew its covenant with the Lord, and there was great joy in Jerusalem (II Chronicles 30:26-27). Hezekiah's spiritual reformation was followed by a radical reorganization of the entire administration of both the secular and religious affairs of the kingdom. We learn from Hezekiah that people will be blessed, and prayers will be answered, when the Word of God is obeyed.

 

The greatest opposition to Isaiah, Micah, and Hezekiah's reformation did not come from the pagan nations around Judah. It came from the false prophets within their own country, as well as those who worshiped the idols which had been introduced earlier by King Solomon.

 

Some popular religious leaders today seem to do nothing to encourage people to forsake their sins, live godly lives, and read the Bible. Instead, they preach what appeals to man's physical and emotional desires. Others cry out: "Cooperate with the majority, compromise, be tolerant, be politically correct, keep up with the times, don't offend anyone but let everyone believe and do what he wishes." Still, there are always the faithful few who desire to be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation (Philippians 2:15-16).

 

Christ Portrayed:

 

By Hezekiah, who did that which was right in the sight of the LORD. . . . and departed not from following Him, but kept His commandments. . . . And the LORD was with him (II Kings 18:3-7). Jesus proclaimed: I have not spoken of Myself; but the Father which sent Me, He gave Me a Commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. . . . whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said to Me, so I speak (John 12:49-50).

 

Word Studies:

 

18:6 clave = clung, was devoted to; 18:17 Tartan = the title of Assyria's general, commander in chief; Rabsaris = the chief financial official; Rabshakeh = the chief officer, or possibly chief cupbearer; 18:31 by a present = by paying tribute; 19:3 bring forth = give birth; 19:7 blast = spirit of bad fortune; 20:3 sore = bitterly and loud

 

Prayer Needs:

 

Pray for The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in memory of Iva Mae McElroy · BPM Staff: Beth Carlton · Country: Uzbekistan (24 million) central Asia · Major languages: Uzbek and Russian · Limited religious freedom due to Islamic influence · 68% Muslim; 4% Russian Orthodox; .5% Protestant/Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Seek the Lord in times of trouble (Matthew 8:24-25).

 

Optional Reading: Romans 11

 

Memory Verse for the Week: II Timothy 3:16