Sunday, May 15, 2016

2 Kings 18

Today's reading in our daily plan is 2 Kings 18. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)

  • Finally, after a long succession of kings who were either outright bad, or mostly good but refused to get rid of the false and evil ways people were worshipping God (or false gods), Hezekiah takes power and clears out all the religious things that were detestable to God (see verses 1-4).
  • The country of Judah was sandwiched between Egypt and Assyria, both dominant world powers. Judah's location made it desirous to both of those superpowers.
  • When Hezekiah became king, Assyria controlled Judah. Hezekiah had the courage to rebel against the strong empire of Assyria and refused to continue paying them tribute (protection money) (verse 7).
  • Verses 9-12 can be confusing because they do not fit in the story of Hezekiah, Judah and Assyria. Instead, they are an update on what's happening with Samaria.
  • Assyria reacts to Hezekiah not paying tribute (verse 13) so Hezekiah relents and sends the tribute money (verse 14-16). Assyria sends their military to attack Judah anyway (verses 17-18).
  • Assyria's military officials threaten Judah (verses 19-37), doing so in a way that they hoped would drive a wedge between the people of Judah and their king, Hezekiah.
  • Saturday (we only study the Old Testament on weekends) we will find out what happens!

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)

  • Hezekiah had an evil father. He was another king in a long line who didn't do what was right. He was surrounded by people who didn't care about God, yet he loved God and was devoted to him. So many people get stuck believing and living just like their parents or friends, but Hezekiah made a choice to live for God, even if no one else was. Everyone has the power to make that choice.
  • Hezekiah loved God and did the right things, and the result was an invasion by and threats from Assyria. Many people believe living for God insulates you from bad things happening but it does not. God never promises protection from bad things happening, but He does promise to be with us when bad things happen. If living for God doesn't prevent bad things from happening, why live for God? Well, because He deserves it. And because we're doing the right thing with our lives, and doing the right thing is important. And because someday we'll realize that this life is just a brief moment compared to eternity, so we should live for eternity. And living for God now is living for eternity later.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • Do you feel like the beliefs, values and lives of your parents or friends hurts your ability to live for God? Hezekiah proves it doesn't. Make your choice to love and live for God, no matter what anyone else does.
  • Do you feel like living for God should prevent bad things from happening? Hezekiah proves it doesn't. Ask God to show you that He's with you when you go through difficulties, and for His help in living not for this life, but for eternity.