Today’s Scripture Focus: 2 Kings 20:12-21
King Hezekiah is the subject of our scripture focus today. This king of Judah, a descendent of David and Solomon, has been described as a “second Solomon”. During his nearly thirty year rule, he restored some of the former glory to Jerusalem through several public works projects. It was said of Hezekiah in chapter 18:5 that he “trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.” That’s a pretty impressive memorial! What set Hezekiah apart? He removed all the “high places” in the country—the unsanctioned worship sites that had become shrines to idols.
Twice in Hezekiah’s life he was faced with impossible situations and turned to God for deliverance. When threatened with destruction from Assyria, he went to the Temple and prayed. God answered by bringing death to the Assyrian army. Then In his late 30s, Hezekiah was stricken with a terrible illness. Hezekiah cried out to God, and while he was still praying, the prophet Isaiah gave Hezekiah the Lord’s response: he would live another 15 years. Isaiah 38 recounts this same event and adds these words from Hezekiah— “Lord, by such things men live; and my spirit finds life in them too. You restored me to health and let me live.” (Isa. 38:16)
Upon hearing of Hezekiah’s illness and recovery, the king of Babylon sent envoys to visit him. Babylon was small in those days, and subject to the mighty Assyrian empire. Most likely, the Babylonian king was looking to form an alliance with Judah and make a stand against Assyria. Hezekiah, wanting to ensure Babylon of his strength, showed off all of the kingdom’s holdings, treasures, and weapons. It never occurred to Hezekiah that Babylon itself might one day become powerful and use this information against Judah. The prophet Isaiah pointed out to Hezekiah that is exactly what would one day happen.
Hezekiah’s reaction to Isaiah’s words was short sighted. He was unconcerned about what would happen after he died, as long as there was peace during his lifetime. There are three lessons we can learn from the life of Hezekiah—1) when faced with impossible situations, pray. 2) Don’t tell everything you know. 3) Most importantly, our accomplishments in this life count for very little if we fail to care for those who come after us. Hezekiah was a righteous king, but because he didn’t see the need to think about what would happen after he died, the righteousness of the kingdom died with him.
- Go around the table and share prayer requests. Have someone lead in prayer.
- Let everyone who would like to share anything exciting from their week.
- Ask these three questions. Let as many answer each one as they would like.
What, if anything, are some things we can do to make sure Denison Church of the Nazarene is still proclaiming the message after we have all gone on?
Is there anything in today’s scripture that especially speaks to you?
What questions would you like to ask about today’s scripture?