Saturday, May 21, 2016

2 Kings 19

Today's reading in our daily plan is 2 Kings 19. 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?)

  • Last weekend, in chapter 18, we saw the powerful nation of Assyria threatening the small nation of Judah (and their king, Hezekiah) with an invasion and war and demanding they surrender.
  • Isaiah (verse 5) the prophet (like a spokesperson or messenger for God) has an entire book of the Old Testament named after him, which contains many of the prophecies he spoke.
  • Notice (in his prayer, in verses 15-19) that Hezekiah spoke boldly to God ("bend down and listen," "open your eyes and see"), but also approached God with respect, acknowledging that "you are enthroned" and "you alone are God".
  • In verses 21-34 God sends a message to Sennacherib (king of Assyria) indicting him for his arrogance, as he thought everything he accomplished was due to his own efforts.
  • "I will put my hook in your nose" (verse 28). From the study note in the Life Application Study Bible: "The Assyrians treated captives with cruelty. They tortured prisoners for entertainment by blinding them, cutting them, or pulling off strips of their skin until they died. If the Assyrians wished to make a captive a slave, they would often put a hook in his nose. God was saying that the Assyrians would be treated the way they had treated others."

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)

  • Hezekiah's first response to crisis and confusing situations was to pray. Too often we try anything and everything we can do, and then pray as a last resort. We need to follow Hezekiah and make prayer our first response.
  • Hezekiah is confronted with the words of a (very powerful) person, and with the words of God. He had a choice to make of whose words he would listen to. He chose God. We too have the words of God we can listen to, believe, and obey. But we are also bombarded with contrary messages, from our culture, perhaps our friends or family. Like Hezekiah, we need to choose to listen to God.

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

  • Think back on some personal crisis you have faced in the recent past. How did you respond? Did you freak out? How did you try to resolve the crisis? At what point, and in what ways, did you turn to God for wisdom and help? How could you approach your next crisis different so God is who you turn to first and rely on most?
  • Where is it easy for you to listen to the messages of your culture or friends instead of to the Word of God? How could you take a step towards being more aware of and more obedient to God's Word?