April 28, 2007
II Kings 20-22
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- In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.
- Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying,
- I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.
- And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying,
- Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD.
- And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake.
- And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs. And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered.
- And Hezekiah said unto Isaiah, What shall be the sign that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up into the house of the LORD the third day?
- And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he hath spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees?
- And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees.
- And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the LORD: and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz.
- At that time Berodach-baladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present unto Hezekiah: for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick.
- And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.
- Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? and from whence came they unto thee? And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country, even from Babylon.
- And he said, What have they seen in thine house? And Hezekiah answered, All the things that are in mine house have they seen: there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them.
- And Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD.
- Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD.
- And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.
- Then said Hezekiah unto Isaiah, Good is the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken. And he said, Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days?
- And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
- And Hezekiah slept with his fathers: and Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.
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- Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hephzibah.
- And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.
- For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.
- And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD said, In Jerusalem will I put my name.
- And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD.
- And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
- And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house, of which the LORD said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever:
- Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave their fathers; only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them.
- But they hearkened not: and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the children of Israel.
- And the LORD spake by his servants the prophets, saying,
- Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols:
- Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle.
- And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down.
- And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies;
- Because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day.
- Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.
- Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and all that he did, and his sin that he sinned, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
- And Manasseh slept with his fathers, and was buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza: and Amon his son reigned in his stead.
- Amon was twenty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah.
- And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as his father Manasseh did.
- And he walked in all the way that his father walked in, and served the idols that his father served, and worshipped them:
- And he forsook the LORD God of his fathers, and walked not in the way of the LORD.
- And the servants of Amon conspired against him, and slew the king in his own house.
- And the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against king Amon; and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead.
- Now the rest of the acts of Amon which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
- And he was buried in his sepulchre in the garden of Uzza: and Josiah his son reigned in his stead.
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- Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath.
- And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.
- And it came to pass in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the house of the LORD, saying,
- Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may sum the silver which is brought into the house of the LORD, which the keepers of the door have gathered of the people:
- And let them deliver it into the hand of the doers of the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD: and let them give it to the doers of the work which is in the house of the LORD, to repair the breaches of the house,
- Unto carpenters, and builders, and masons, and to buy timber and hewn stone to repair the house.
- Howbeit there was no reckoning made with them of the money that was delivered into their hand, because they dealt faithfully.
- And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.
- And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said, Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD.
- And Shaphan the scribe shewed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.
- And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.
- And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king's, saying,
- Go ye, enquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.
- So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, went unto Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college;) and they communed with her.
- And she said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Tell the man that sent you to me,
- Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read:
- Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched.
- But to the king of Judah which sent you to enquire of the LORD, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard;
- Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD.
- Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again.
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Thought for the day:
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There are several different items that stand out to me in today's reading. First of all, there is a great lesson to be learned from Hezekiah. Hezekiah was a good king, and one who feared the Lord and attempted to follow after Him. He took sick, and was told by the prophet that he would not survive the illness. The words of Isaiah are most chilling:
"Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live."
What a reminder this is for us! Unless the Lord should hasten His return, each one of us shall someday die. We do not know when that day will be, and we must prepare ourselves as if it could be today. We spend much time preparing our physical house for our eventual passing. We prepare a will, we take out an insurance policy, and we invest wisely. Yet how much time have we spent preparing ourselves spiritually for that day? Have you repented and received Christ as your Savior? Has your lifestyle been pleasing to Him? Do you harbor unconfessed sin? Have you followed His leading in your life? Have you witnessed to the people that He wanted you to testify to? If not, You need to set your house in order.
Hezekiah was discouraged by this news, and prayed that God would give him additional time. God granted his request, and gave Hezekiah fifteen more years. Unfortunately, pride got in the way soon after this. The prince of Babylon came to see Hezekiah, apparently to congratulate him on his recovery from the deadly illness. There may have been a religious motivation for the visit as well, because God validated His promise to Hezekiah by moving the the shadow on the son dial backwards. Since the Babylonians would have been sun worshippers, they may have wanted to meet the king for whom the sun had reversed its course. When they arrived, Hezekiah began to show them all of his treasures. The focus of this was not to display the glories of God, nor point these pagans toward God, but rather to show off what a mighty king he was. Hezekiah seems to be taking credit for his recovery rather than pointing the Babylonians towards the One Who had actually done the healing. Again I see a parallel with believers today. We have the tendency to accept praise for what we have accomplished, but never stop to remember that it was only by the grace of God that we were able to accomplish anything in the first place. Our minds, bodies, and talents all come from Him. The circumstances that allow us to prosper come from Him. There is truly nothing that we have done that merits the applause of men. All must be directed to the Lord. Note the penalty that Hezekiah had to pay for his pride. He wanted the Babylonians to see his treasures, and God decreed that the Babylonians would get his treasures. When we fail to give God the glory for what we have, we may soon find that we no longer have it.
Another interesting facet of this passage is the statement in
II Kings 21:9,
"Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the children of Israel."
This is a stunning revelation. The king of Judah was more wicked, and caused more trouble, than did the pagan kings that surrounded the Jews. What is the lesson here? Churches can be troubled and persecuted by the outside world, but nothing is so devastating as wickedness from within the church. The world is immoral, and that bothers the church, but an immoral member can destroy it. Slanderous comments from outside the church are hurtful, but gossip from within the church can be destructive. We expect the ungodly to be wicked, and though they grieve us, we understand that they are the enemy of God. However, when wickedness comes from those who claim to be God's children the impact can be deadly. As believers, may we strive to do right not only to please our Savior, but also to encourage His children and His church. When we encounter opposition and wickedness from within may we stand firm on the Word of God and not allow Satan to get the upper hand.
Pastor Dr. Mark J Montgomery