Posts Tagged Hezekiah

Prayer Mulligan

2 Chronicles 30: 20

So the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.

King Hezekiah called for the celebration of Passover. He sent messengers to all the tribes to gather in Jerusalem for the ceremony. There were a few problems. It was the wrong time of the year, there were not enough priests who were ceremonially clean, the people were not purified, well, you get the idea.

The tribes of Israel and Judah had fallen away from the Lord and not continued the ceremonies and feasts of tradition. Hezekiah decided to reintroduce these traditions regardless of the time of year. There was very little right about the preparation or process but Hezekiah said a prayer. He asked the Lord to bless the people in spite of themselves, literally to pardon all those who seek God. God’s response was to heal the hearts of a troubled nation. In fact, the people were restored to their former status and celebrated with great joy. At the end of the seven day feast there was so much joy among the people that they extended the feast for another seven days. Hezekiah contributed 1000 bulls and 7000 sheep for the feast. The princes gave 1000 bulls and 10,000 sheep. The people celebrated God and their great history. They reminded themselves of who they were and they turned back to their Lord and God. God was waiting with open arms and granted them fellowship and blessing.

One of the lessons we can take away from this passage is that everything does not have to be perfect in order to worship God. You don’t have to have the perfect music and the perfect time with the right people, etc. What is required is a heart turned towards God. If we seek Him, even in our brokenness and failures, He is gracious and kind to hear us and bless us.
Yahweh was waiting for Israel and Judah to turn back to Him. He watched them every day, longing for their hearts to turn to Him. Day after day He waited just as He does for us. Today I’m too busy. Yesterday I didn’t feel well. The day before that I had company. You get the idea. Before you know it, days and days have gone by without our taking the time to celebrate the Lord or to worship Him. If we didn’t eat we might not say any prayers.

Thank God (literally) that He is kind, forgiving and willing to wait for us. He poured out His blessing on them as soon as they called Him. They could have enjoyed that healing and the Lord’s grace any prior day. It wasn’t that God wasn’t willing. They were lost in the tall weeds. Bless Hezekiah. He had a vision for returning God’s people to their former position in God. He called for the feast, and bless God, the people responded.

Take this story and apply it to your own life. No matter what ways you feel you have stumbled, God is waiting to restore you to your former glory. Today can be your Passover feast. It can be the day you celebrate the curse passing over you. Have a great day!

Bold Declaration

2 Chronicles 32: 7 – 8

“Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him. With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.”

I am still pulling from the example of Hezekiah. We are learning from him some lessons on spiritual warfare and leadership. In today’s selection he encouraged his followers by letting them know that the good guys are more powerful than the bad guys. There is a similar story in 2 Kings 6: 17. In that story the King of Aram was angry and wanted to kill Elisha so he sent an army after him. Elisha’s servant awoke that morning to discover Aram’s army was encircling the city and he was in a state of panic. Elisha, however, knew his God and could discern spiritual things as well as physical. He prayed for his servant’s eyes to be opened and when the servant looked around them he saw that the hills were full of horses and chariots of fire. Elisha looked into the spiritual realm and knew that the forces of good outnumbered the forces of evil. He trusted God to deliver him as did Hezekiah.

Hezekiah declares boldly that the army of the flesh cannot defeat the army of God. Jesus said that God would send twelve legions of angels to his aid if he should request it. A legion is 6000. So, the spiritual forces outnumber the armies of the enemy and they are more powerful. Hezekiah said that the Assyrian King only had the arm of flesh whereas Israel has the army of God. “With us,” he said, “is the Lord our God.” That meant something to the people of Israel. They were greatly encouraged and understood that they need not fear.

I so wish this was the kind of revelation we lived in today. Our God is bigger and stronger than any foe whether that foe be a terrorist, an army or the devil. Jesus is our might and our salvation. Greater is he who is in us than he who is in the world (1John 4: 4). We can be encouraged today by the words of Hezekiah. Be strong and courageous. Do not fear the enemy for the greater power is with you and lives within you. If Hezekiah could prevail in the pre-messianic covenant then we should be very encouraged indeed. Let’s start living in this revelation. Our Father is bigger, stronger and with greater numbers than any force which comes against us. Be filled with courage, strength and boldness today and declare greater is the one who is with us than the one with them.

Leadership Trait

2 Chronicles 32: 1 – 8

After these acts of faithfulness Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah and besieged the fortified cities, and thought to break into them for himself.  Now when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come and that he intended to make war on Jerusalem,  he decided with his officers and his warriors to cut off the supply of water from the springs which were outside the city, and they helped him. So many people assembled and stopped up all the springs and the stream which flowed through the region, saying, “Why should the kings of Assyria come and find abundant water?”  And he took courage and rebuilt all the wall that had been broken down and erected towers on it, and built another outside wall and strengthened the Millo in the city of David, and made weapons and shields in great number.  He appointed military officers over the people and gathered them to him in the square at the city gate, and spoke encouragingly to them, saying,  “Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him.  With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people relied on the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

You’ve heard it said that attitude determines altitude. A person’s attitude towards the situations of life determines how they will come through those circumstances. King Hezekiah shows us the attitude of a good leader.

The scripture says that in the face of Sennacherib’s threats Hezekiah gathered the people and spoke encouragingly to them. That is what we should be doing. Encouragement is a big deal. In fact, God has told us to encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5: 11). Since discovering that God commands us to be encouragers I have been watching people. Some people are very good at it. Some people even seem anointed of God as encouragers. Then I discovered something. Leaders are encouragers. It turns out that encouraging others is a big part of what it means to be a leader. I didn’t know that.

Hezekiah saw that the threat to the people of Judah was not only to their persons but first to their psyche. The Assyrians were not knocking on their door for a tea party. Hezekiah knew that people would begin to be afraid so he gathered them together and encouraged them. You don’t have to hang out with God, the Father very long to find out where Hezekiah learned this skill. God constantly encourages and uplifts. We have all heard this verse from Ephesians, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (4: 29). We have focused on restricting unwholesome words but there is a second mandate; make it a point to speak words which build people up. That is what edification is, building people up. When someone does a good job, leaders tell them so.

I wonder sometimes if we have become such a broken people that we feel like we are diminishing ourselves if we lift others up. Really the opposite is true. We build ourselves when we lift others. This is such a big deal that the Apostle Paul wrote about it at least five times. I like what he wrote in Romans 15: 2, “Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.” Did you know this was the message of Christianity? Can’t say that I did but now none of us have the excuse of ignorance any longer. We have all been called by Christ as leaders. We are the ones who are supposed to be encouraging the frightened, and lifting up the weary. Start today being an encourager. If you cannot find someone to encourage, you aren’t trying very hard. Be a blessing of the Lord.

Arrayed Against Us

2 Chronicles 32: 1 – 8

After these acts of faithfulness Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah and besieged the fortified cities, and thought to break into them for himself. 2 Now when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come and that he intended to make war on Jerusalem, 3 he decided with his officers and his warriors to cut off the supply of water from the springs which were outside the city, and they helped him. 4 So many people assembled and stopped up all the springs and the stream which flowed through the region, saying, “Why should the kings of Assyria come and find abundant water?” 5 And he took courage and rebuilt all the wall that had been broken down and erected towers on it, and built another outside wall and strengthened the Millo in the city of David, and made weapons and shields in great number. 6 He appointed military officers over the people and gathered them to him in the square at the city gate, and spoke encouragingly to them, saying, 7 “Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him. 8 With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people relied on the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

This book of the Bible, 2 Chronicles, is such a great teaching on spiritual warfare. My favorite chapter on this topic is chapter 20 of 2 Chronicles. Today’s passage shows some of the key elements to prevailing over the enemy.

First, you see that the attack began after Hezekiah’s many acts of faithfulness to the Lord. Don’t let this frighten you but also be not unaware. Satan will try to dissuade you from doing the good things you are doing in Christ’s name.

Back in 2002 I went through a period of constant challenge. I remember some words of encouragement my pastor gave me. He said, “Ivey, this isn’t an attack. It is a counter-attack.” Now when you are going through some trouble the first thing that comes to your mind when someone says something like that is, “Whatever I did, I wished I hadn’t.” Of course, it isn’t true but you want relief from the present trouble yet it did, in fact, encourage me. I kinda liked knowing I got under the devil’s skin. It also renewed my strength. Most importantly it defined the situation for me. Once I got the revelation that this was spiritual warfare I pulled out the book of Isaiah and started attacking my enemy. Before that he was running over me at will. My pastor and friend from San Diego called me one day and started quoting from the book of Isaiah to me and from then on the attacks waned and then stopped all together. How bad was it? Well, I was in three auto accidents in three weeks, two nationally recognized banking institutions bounced checks to me for mortgages and so on. Every day it was a new problem until I realized that the devil was waging war against me. Once I recognized he had thrown down the gauntlet and that the battle lines were drawn I picked up my sword and started swinging back. That was that. 

The key here for me was realizing that I was in a war. Once I knew that I was fine. We have the might and power in our Lord Jesus to beat the devil every time but sometimes we fail to respond in kind because we have not identified the dynamic. I used to think, many years ago, that being a Christian meant we were going to live some kind of charmed life. Wow, I don’t know where I got that because it sure isn’t scriptural. Jesus told us that we would have trouble but to have no fear because he had already triumphed over it (John 16: 33). You see, Jesus’ victory becomes ours. We don’t even have to fight, if you want to know the whole truth. Jesus has won. We just take his victory and beat the devil over the head with it until he runs away. Your life in Christ isn’t charmed, it is victorious and we need to start taking the devil to task when he comes against us.

Tomorrow I will share with you another lesson from Hezekiah.