In Today's Scripture 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. He removed the high places, and brake 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 clave to the Lord, and departed not from following Him, but kept His Commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses (18:4-6).
Hezekiah led the nation to keep the Passover and renew its covenant with the Lord. So 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 but 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 desires. Others cry out: "Cooperate with the majority, compromise, be tolerant, avoid the extreme right, keep up with the times, don't offend anyone but let everyone believe 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).
By Hezekiah, who was faithful in leading the kingdom of Judah back to the Word of God (II Kings 19) — a foreshadowing of Jesus' words to the Pharisees in His attempt to awaken their need to see themselves as sinners and recognize Him as their Savior (Mark 2:17).
18:6 clave =b> clung, was devoted to; 18:17 Tartan =b> the title of Assyria's general, commander in chief; Rabsaris =b> the chief financial official; Rabshakeh =b> the chief officer, or possibly chief cupbearer; 18:31 by a present =b> by paying tribute; 19:3 bring forth =b> give birth; 19:7 blast =b> spirit of bad fortune; 20:3 sore =b> bitterly and loud.
Pray for The Arabic International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Mrs. Valerie F. Virgona Staff: Beth Carlton Country: Rwanda (7 million) in central Africa Major languages: Kinyarwanda and French Religious freedom 80% Christian; 10.5% Muslim; 4.5% Nonreligious/other; 4% Traditional ethnic; .2% Baha'i Prayer Suggestion: Pray for those who wrong you (Acts 7:59-60).
Optional Reading: Romans 11
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 9:1