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2 KINGS 16; 18:1-19:37; 2 CHRONICLES 29:1-32:23; ISAIAH 36:1-37:38
by Ron Rose
Jothams son Ahaz reigned over the southern kingdom after him, but he followed in the evil ways of the Canaanite nations. Ahaz closed the doors of the temple and placed altars to false gods on every street corner in Jerusalem and in every city in Judah. He even sacrificed his own sons to the false gods. On his death, he was not buried with the other kings, because of his wickedness, and his son Hezekiah took his place.
Hezekiahs first command was to reopen the temple doors and to cleanse the temple. When the temple was cleansed, sacrifices were offered, the people sang, and the priests played Davids instruments. On that day, Hezekiah and the people knelt and praised God and dedicated themselves and the temple to his service once again. Hezekiah then sent messengers throughout Israel, inviting the people to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. Gods people responded to Hezekiahs lead so that the Passover celebration was greater than anything in all Israel since Solomon was king. In fact, the people extended the celebration for seven extra days. These were exciting times of worship and praise.
Is anyone equal to me?
Look up to the skies.
Who created all these stars?
He leads out the army of heaven one by one
and calls all the stars by name.
Because he is strong and powerful, not one of them is missing.
People of Jacob, why do you complain?
People of Israel, why do you say, The Lord does not see what happens to me;
he does not care if I sin treated fairly?
Surely you know.
Surely you have heard.
The Lord is the God who lives forever, who created all the world....
No one can understand how great his wisdom is.
He gives strength to those who are tired
and more power to those who are weak.
Even children become tired and need to rest,
and young people trip and fall.
But the people who trust the Lord will become strong again.
They will rise up as an eagle in the sky;
they will run and not need rest; they will walk and not become tired.
Fourteen years later, Sennacherib of Assyria surrounded Jerusalem and proclaimed loudly that no God could protect Jerusalem from the hands of the mighty king of Assyria. In common terms, he dared God to do something. Hezekiah prayed to God for help, and Isaiah provided Gods answer. That night God defended his honor and his people, and 185,000 Assyrian soldiers died. Disgraced and defeated, Sennacherib returned to his home and shortly afterward was killed by his own sons.
Reflection: God will always defend his honor. When his children worship him and obey him and remember his relationship with their ancestors, he is honored. When evil actions are thwarted and human pride is broken, he is honored. Even in the discipline of his disobedient children, he is honored. Ultimately, God will be honored through us, or in spite of us.
God, the Holy One, says, Can you compare me to anyone?
Text copyright © 1997, Multnomah Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Author: Ron Rose
Publication Date: May 16, 2002
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