Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 16 June 18:
1. 2 Kings 19:1 — “As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the LORD.” Faced with a seemingly helpless situation, Hezekiah went straight to The Lord. Where do you go?
2. 2 Kings 19:4 — “Therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.” Never stop praying.
3. 2 Kings 19:7 – “Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.” God can change hearts in ways beyond your power or understanding.
4. 2 Kings 19:12, 13 – “Have the gods of the nations delivered them…?” To the world, Christianity is just another religion, another belief system. The world will challenge your faith by comparing Christianity to false, powerless religions. However, as the Founding Fathers said, Truth is self-evident.
5. 2 Kings 19:14 – “Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord.” Place all of your problems before the LORD. The Maker of Heaven and Earth is in control and loves you unconditionally.
6. 2 Kings 19:19 — “So now, O Lord our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Lord, are God alone.” In our lives, God is always working on two things at once, He is working on our hearts, and He is working through our lives to reveal Himself to the world. In both efforts, He is bringing glory to Himself. We must never lose perspective that our lives are all about Him and not about us. We were created to bring glory to God and to serve Him. Had Hezekiah defeated Sennacherib through his own military might, Hezekiah would not have had to rely on faith, and the world would not have acknowledged the power of God. In Hezekiah’s prayer, Hezekiah seems to understand that the ultimate goal of his salvation is to bring glory to God. However, after God miraculously saves Judah from Sennacherib, Hezekiah seems to lose perspective and becomes self-centered as we will soon read.
7. 2 Kings 19:22 — “Whom have you mocked and reviled? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes to the heights? Against the Holy One of Israel!” When people fight against God’s people, they are fighting against God.
8. 2 Kings 19:34 — “For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake.” God’s work in your life is ultimately about Him, not you.
9. 2 Kings 19:35-37 — The power and the beliefs of the most powerful man on the planet are absolutely nothing before God.
10. 2 Kings 20:1-19 — Blessed by God after great struggle and crisis, it is critical that we don’t become complacent, take God for granted, or become self-centered. The Lord tells Hezekiah that it is time to die. While Hezekiah previously trusted God boldly with his life, he apparently didn’t trust Him with his death. Hezekiah simply didn’t want to die, whether it was God’s perfect timing or not. In this case, I believe God allowed Hezekiah to live another 15 years to reveal the condition of Hezekiah’s heart and to bring glory to Himself. Instead dying at a highpoint of honorable and faithful service to the Lord, Hezekiah lived on, dooming Judah to captivity and producing Manasseh, one of Judah’s worse kings. Manasseh reversed all the good Hezekiah had done in his lifetime. Hezekiah was introduced to us this way: “He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him.” (2 Kings 18:5) Today we read his last recorded words of complete selfishness: “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?” (2 Kings 20:19) Wow! It is not how you start; it is how you finish. How will our lives end – on a pinnacle of faithfulness?
11. 2 Kings 20:13 — “And Hezekiah welcomed them, and he showed them all his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his armory, all that was found in his storehouses. There was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them.” Saved from death, Hezekiah became prideful and complacent. Immediately after success, you are very vulnerable. Success should be followed by humility, thankfulness, praise, obedience, and intentional recommitment. Above all else, guard your heart.
12. Proverbs 16:2 — “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.” It is vital for Christians to understand that their hearts can be very deceptive. We tend to give ourselves more credit than we should. Paul warned, “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” (Romans 12:3) You must seek the daily Counsel of the Holy Spirit to be shown what you cannot see within your own heart. And you most remain in a state of humility and repentance, not sorrowfully but joyfully, knowing that you are growing in grace. Continually examine your heart (empowered by the Holy Spirit), considering the real motivation behind your actions, particularly your acts of worship. Are you truly motivated by selfless love or by fear, pride, or mere duty. Seek the heart of Jesus, a heart of pure love.
13. Proverbs 16:3 — “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Don’t ask God to bless what you are doing. Ask God to show you how to be a part of what He is doing that you might join Him in it, grow closer to Him in the effort, and glorify Him. Commit to being a part of what God is doing, and you will be blessed.
14. Proverbs 16:4 — “The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.” God uses the ungodly for His purposes, often to discipline the godly. If you don’t like your political leaders, your employers, or other difficult people in your life, your first step might be prayerful repentance. God controls all circumstances and places people in your life to teach you something. Conversely, consider verse 7 — “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
15. Proverbs 16:8 — “Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice.” Don’t sell out for instant, fleeting gain that can never satisfy. Don’t be like Esau who traded his birthright for a bowl of soup.
16. Proverbs 16:12 — “It is an abomination to kings to do evil, for the throne is established by righteousness.” Make no mistake, all sin is an abomination, cosmic treason against the KING of Kings. Don’t take any sin lightly.
17. Proverbs 16:13 — “Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right.” God loves it when you speak the truth.
18. Proverbs 16:26 — “A worker’s appetite works for him; his mouth urges him on.” God wants you to stay hungry. There is no growth in the comfort zone, and there is no comfort in the growth zone. Rejoice in your challenges.
19. Proverbs 16:32 — “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” The greatest battle anyone will fight is the battle for self-control (which can only be won through the Holy Spirit). The mightiest person is the one who has overcome self. The greatest miracle on earth is genuine love displayed.
21. Psalm 70 — Pray.
22. Psalm 70:5 — “But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay!” The only way to approach God is humbly.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 16 June: Consider your prayer life. Is it God-centered or self-centered? Are you praying for God to bless what you are doing or what He is doing through you? Are you praying, “Thy will be done,” or “My will be done”?