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Friday, February 1, 2013

The Other Side Of King Hezekiah


by Arthelo Palma

based on 2 Kings 21

The Other Side Of King HezekiahAs we begin to have faith in God, there is power in our prayer. The very reason that we pray is because we believe that the answers are coming. There are many prayers. Some people pray for their personal needs. Others are praying for healing. Many pray for financial concerns. There are many prayers we would want to tell the Lord. If we evaluate some of them we might be able to find out that they might have been focused enough on our needs or personal petitions.

Hezekiah is commonly cited because of his prayer and faithfulness to the Lord, but if we try to analyze his intention the moment the Lord told him that he was going to die and will never recover (2 Kings 20:1), we could identify the kind of hesitant spirit in him that is not completely willing to follow God’s will. Hezekiah's response was different from Jesus. Jesus' ultimate response to the Father when He was about to die on the cross was “Not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). However, since God is just and fair, and as He saw the king’s faithfulness, He allowed Hezekiah to bargain and ask for making his life longer, allowing him to live for fifteen years more (2 Kings 20:6). God eventually saw Hezekiah’s faith. This granted the king the opportunity to receive divine favor from God.

The real other side of Hezekiah

However, the real other side of Hezekiah was his being too self-centered, thinking of his personal concerns. His alliance with the Babylonian empire for the hope that he will get a shield against the Assyrian empire, and its effort in pleasing the king of this kingdom (Hezekiah 20:13-12) were silent steps closer to not trusting God, leading him to become self-absorbed. This was evident when he responded to Isaiah’s prophecy with all focus on his personal favor. He said, “The word of the Lord you have spoken is good” (2 Kings 20:19). This should not be the right response of his heart because Isaiah was prophesying the future of Judah to be handed and enslaved by the Babylonian empire in the coming years as an upshot of the strong alliance between Judah and Babylon (2 Kings 20:17-18). Hezekiah’s reply was definitely a mistake because God’s consistent plan for His people from the past was the deliverance from their enemies, which consistently remains the same at present time. Hezekiah managed to utter those words because he thought and was happy to hear that there will be peace and security in his lifetime (Isaiah 39:8) and Isaiah’s prophecy was still to come in the near future and most probably not in his reign. This is such a selfish response to be heard from Hezekiah after his healing and having additional room for his life for fifteen years. The king failed to realize the future generation of Judah and God’s ultimate plan for His people, but he was being too preoccupied by his egotistical desire to have peace and security only during his reign. But how about the future?     

God wants genuine faith

Hezekiah’s lack of prudence for the future of God’s people eventually resulted to the poor leadership of his son Manasseh, his successor. King Manasseh’s leadership was a failure. Like king Ahaz, he plunged himself into pagan worship and idolatry, provoking the Lord to anger to bring disaster to Jerusalem and Judah (verse 6; 12), eventually the initial fulfillment of Isaiah’s prediction for the future to come.

This story reminds me of a very important passage from the Scripture and it says, “And if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2). This eventually depicts the real worth or value of a Christian. God wants us to have genuine faith, which should manifest itself to how we love Him and the people around us.

There is no presence of real love as genuine as the kind Jesus Christ gives us when there is still a strong atmosphere and command of self-focus, selfish desire and pride in us. Many Christians like Hezekiah have faith, but many of them too are like him, being too preoccupied with selfish ambitions or intentions and pride that could be a way out of God’s perfect plan and will. Today, through Jesus Christ, God would eventually expose them too just as He did with Hezekiah.

The life of Jesus Christ is our very model on how we could fully exercise our faith in the Lord and our faithfulness to Him with genuine love. It might hard to follow for some of us, but with God’s grace and fullness of love, truly everything  is possible.

God’s message:

Being too self-centered on personal achievements or concerns and not genuinely thinking others with pure abounding love could bring troubles among God’s people. 

God’s promise:

There is stability of everything in the presence of God, for He is love. The love that comes from God is the answer to everything.

God’ command:

Every Christian should follow Jesus Christ as an example and on how He completely kept to the will of the Father. Go into the world and make disciple and think of the future generation, with full intentional love for everyone.

God’s warning:

Failure to fulfill God’s real requirements could nullify His promise for us.

Applications:

Convey the teachings of Jesus Christ from generation to generation.

Prayer:

Father in Heaven, you know who we are and nothing can be hidden before you. We cannot brag our faith because there is far more important than that, your unfailing love for us. Please check our heart, our intentions, desires and everything, and cleanse us if there is something that is not pleasing before your sight. Help us to follow your will at all times and please continue to remind us how Jesus Christ, with His unconditional love for us and for the future generation makes everything pleasing before you. This we ask and pray, in the name of Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord. Amen! 

photo credit: Waiting For The Word via Flickr cc MORE DEVOTIONAL ARTICLES HERE>>
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