Offbeat #18 - Hezekiah

What do we do with the gifts given to us by God? Honestly, I’m not sure how often we think proactively about this question. We are quick to bring our needs and desires before God, but what would you do if he actually answered in the way you wanted?
 
Hezekiah (another of Jesus’ ancestors I’m highlighting during advent) was given such an opportunity. Hezekiah is typically listed among the “good” kings of Judah, but he also exemplifies the reality that “all... fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). Hezekiah did some good things during his reign. 2 Kings 18 tells us that he “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” and that he removed altars set up by the people for idol worship. In 2 Kings 20, we read that at some point during his reign, Hezekiah contracted an unspecified illness and God spoke to him, telling him to set his affairs in order because his life was coming to an end.
 
Understandably, Hezekiah was deeply grieved by this news and pled for his life with the Lord. “Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord saying, ‘Now, O Lord, please remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly” (2 Kings 20:2-3). Incredibly, God heard Hezekiah and his heart was moved. He then sent the prophet Isaiah to declare to him that God would extend his life by 15 years, and on top of that, he would free the kingdom from the King of Assyria who had been attacking it. Going even further still, God granted Hezekiah’s request for a sign, proving to him that all this would be so.
 
Interestingly, the very next story that is recorded is of Hezekiah hosting envoys from Babylon. In a move of self-glorification, he gives them a grand tour of all his treasures and armory, apparently seeking to show them what a great king he was. In response to this, God sends Isaiah once again, but this time to tell Hezekiah that after his reign came to an end, his sons would be taken away to be slaves of the King of Babylon and that all the treasures he showed off would become Babylon’s as well. Hezekiah’s response? “’The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.’ For he thought, ‘Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days’” (emphasis added). In the end, Hezekiah reveals that he is truly self-interested and ungrateful. God had miraculously healed and delivered him, but his focus was on himself, his own glory, uncaring even about the future of the kingdom or of his own sons.
 
For me this raises the following questions, questions I’d encourage you to ask of yourself as well: what am I going to do with the gifts God has given me? Are they for me or for others? Am I grateful for the breath in my lungs, the food on my table, my job, my family, my friends, etc.? Who do I give glory to for my place in life? Are these things enough for me?
 
During advent we reflect on the birth of Hezekiah’s great, great, great… (you get the picture) grandson, Jesus, the greatest gift of all time. It’s so easy to take the gift of Jesus and salvation for granted, to believe it and receive it and then live life for myself. May each of us instead be challenged to live with unceasing gratitude and for the purpose of bringing glory to him.

Sean's Picks

Yet Not I by CityAlight - Worship music ought to instruct and remind us of the greatness of God, of what he has done for us, and continues to do, at the same time ushering us into his presence. Recently I discovered CityAlight which ticks all of those boxes for me. The song Yet Not I is my favorite of theirs so far. Enjoy!

Missions Spotlight:

Several weeks ago, Grace Chapel was blessed to be able to give toward the relief efforts of Alliance workers in Lebanon following the massive explosion that took place in the city of Beirut on August 4th. See the video below for an update from the team in Beirut:
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