Sunday, May 22, 2016

2 Kings 20

Today's reading in our daily plan is 2 Kings 20. 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?)

  • As we have seen in previous chapters, Hezekiah's first response to a crisis was prayer (see verses 1-3)
  • "shadow on the sun dial go forward ten steps" (see verses 9-11) - Egyptian sundials at that time were sometimes made in the form of miniature staircases.
  • Why did Hezekiah show the Babylonians all his nation's wealth (see verses 12-15)? We don't know, but it seems likely that it was pride. He doesn't give God credit for all the blessings, he uses them to try to impress others.
  • Hezekiah learns from Isaiah (verse 16-18) that (seemingly at least in part due to his foolishness in showing the Babylonians all his wealth) the Babylonians would later invade taking all the treasures and even people, but that it will not happen during his lifetime. His response, "The message you have given me from the Lord is good" could be a humble acceptance of God's judgment, or could be a selfish statement of relief after hearing that he would not have to experience the terrible events he had had helped cause.


SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)

  • Hezekiah's death seemed fixed and certain (verse 1) but ... he prayed. And, because of his sincere prayer, God changes the situation (verses 2-6). Prayer changes things. God is powerful, and we access God's power through prayer. That doesn't mean God is like a drive-thru restaurant where we just order whatever we want and will get it. But it does mean if we ask for something, that is in accordance with God's will, and we ask with the right motives, God can, and often will, do it. Nothing is too hard for God.
  • So when we don't have what we want, or things don't change in the way we hope, it may very well be because we didn't pray, or prayed with wrong motives. Check out these verses from the New Testament of the Bible: James 4:2-3, "... Yet you don't have what you want because you don't ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don't get it because your motives are all wrong - you want only what will give you pleasure."


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

  • If you are a friend of God's, you have incredible power. Prayer is powerful. Prayer changes things. You can be a major agent of change in the world if you pray, and with the right motives. 
    • What about your life needs to change, but you haven't been praying for it?
    • What about your family needs to change, but you haven't been praying for it?
    • What about your church needs to change, but you haven't been praying for it?
    • What about your friend's lives needs to change, but you haven't been praying for it?
    • What about your workplace needs to change, but you haven't been praying for it?
    • What about your city needs to change, but you haven't been praying for it?
    • What about your world needs to change, but you haven't been praying for it?