As Your Life Goes On – Scripture Dissection

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As Your Life Goes On - Scripture Dissection
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Growing older? Me, too. We all are. The days seem to fly by. And over time, people change. As your life goes on, are you the same person you were as a youngster? I know I’m not. Recently, we explored an all-around good guy who had lots of troubles. Remarkably, he’s given 3 chapters in Scripture – very unusual. So, he deserves another look as he grows older.

Tear Into It – As Your Life Goes On

First, I suggest – check out our initial content that launched Scripture Dissection materials: Tear Into It. That article explains how and why we introduce Scripture dissection exercises periodically.

You’ll remember our recent article – “The Fifth King.” For additional backstory, check out the prequel to it – “Four Successful Generations.”

So, now look up 2 Kings 18:13 – 20:21 in your Bible for a full story. Here’s a bullet backstory of developments in my words.

As Your Life Goes On – Scripture Dissection

Hezekiah is a stunning example of integrity, rising from a dysfunctional, ungodly family.

  • After Hezekiah successfully launches as king, he has many experiences.
  • At one point, the Assyrian king conquers Judah, where Hezekiah reigns. Hezekiah asks him to withdraw, and he’ll pay any fee. The cost is great. But Hezekiah pays it.
  • The Assyrian king sends representatives with messages in a letter. In response, Hezekiah sends three men to receive the messages.
  • Incidentally, people on the city wall can hear the interaction. Sadly, the messages are full of deception, taunting, lies, and slander about God.
  • The enemy’s purpose is to entice people to not listen to Hezekiah – who keeps telling them to “trust in the Lord.”
  • The three men Hezekiah sends ask the Assyrian messengers to speak in Aramaic rather than the common language of Judah since the people on the wall can understand.
  • Uncooperatively, the representatives talk even louder with taunting, slanderous words to not trust God.
  • Thankfully, Hezekiah had previously told the people not to answer – be silent.
  • When Hezekiah’s representatives return to tell everything and show the letter, he tears his clothes and puts on sack cloth. His concern is not only for himself, his people, and the slander. It’s also for the disregard and mocking of the living God.
  • Hezekiah sends messengers to get Isaiah’s counsel.
  • Isaiah responds with – “Do not be afraid because of [the words you’ve heard].” (19:6]
  • The onslaught from these men continues, escalating to blaspheme. “Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you. . . “ (19:10) Yes, that’s an escalation. In essence, the attack is against God, Himself.
  • The back and forth reveals the enemy’s heart is naive, arrogant, and self-exalting.

 

What Happens Next?

  • Hezekiah takes the enemy’s letter to the temple and spreads it before God. Then he does something powerful. He prays! Hezekiah encourages himself in the Lord by acknowledging the truth:
      • God of Israel.
      • Enthroned above.
      • God who is ALONE enthroned over all earth’s kingdoms.
      • Creator of Heaven and earth.
      • Basically, Hezekiah packs his prayer with truth and worship . . . from a sincere heart. (19:15)
      • Then, with a renewed, accurate perspective, he appeals for God’s help. Please hear and see my situation. Please save us . . . “that all the kingdoms of earth may know You are God, alone!” (19:16-19)
      • God hears and answers. Additionally, He affirms he’s fully aware and in control. Then He graciously informs Hezekiah the current trial will involve circumstances and time – so patience is required. But He promises – ” . . . I will defend this city to save it, for My own sake and for the sake of my servant David.” (19:34) Essentially, God not only offers to help Hezekiah. He also declares He can take care of Himself.
  • After this special “interactive” prayer with God, an answer comes that very night. The angel of the Lord strikes down 185,000 enemy soldiers. As a result, the Assyrian king goes home. Sometime later, his own sons murder him as he worships an idol.

 

But There’s Still More

  • Even though Hezekiah is a great king who pleases God, he has a life filled with troubles, threats, and he finally contracts a terminal illness. Isaiah tells him he will not recover.
  • But Hezekiah turns his face to the wall and prays for mercy as he sheds bitter tears. Interestingly, God changes His mind. (20:2,3)
  • After giving that bad news, Isaiah is already leaving. But God gives a new word to Isaiah to tell Hezekiah. So, Isaiah turns around to tell the king he’ll live fifteen more years to live.
  • Hezekiah recovers. However, years later, he begins making mistakes and has some lapses of judgment. He “shows off” his wealth to an enemy envoy from Babylon.
  • Consequently, God tells Hezekiah his wealth will be taken from him – by Babylon.
  • Additionally, some of his sons will be taken to Babylon to serve there.
  • Sadly, as God exposes Hezekiah’s recent mistakes in additional years granted to him, He also exposes Hezekiah has become unfocused. Even lazy in his walk with God.
  • Indeed, as his life goes on, Hezekiah cares more for himself than his family and kingdom. How disappointing! God weighs-in on this change with judgment on future generations. Embarrassingly, Hezekiah says to Isaiah – “The word of the Lord you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “Why not, if there’s peace and security in my days!” (20:19) What a change! What happened to this great man to become so self-focused and self-preserving?
  • Hezekiah changed during the years God added onto his life after his illness.

 

 

Let’s Tear Into –As Your Life Goes On

There are always four categories we explore in Scripture dissection:

  1. What Does It Say?
  2. What Does It Mean?
  3. Make It Personal.
  4. Make A Commitment.

 

1. What Does It Say?

Without repeating previous data points, the message seems simple and profound.

Hezekiah’s fabulous beginning as a young king grows into impressive leadership. Additionally, he pleases God. As his years, troubles, and persecutions add up, Hezekiah seems to lose something. Upon hearing he will die, his desperate pleas become self-focused to preserve his life.

Nevertheless, God’s incredible grace abounds as He grants Hezekiah fifteen more years.

Hezekiah could have lived these additional years as a timeless example throughout centuries. But he starts slipping. Essentially, his perspective shifts, and he makes mistakes, becomes overconfident, misses things, and even brags.

This great king changed during the years God added onto his life, and not in a good way.

2. What Does It Mean?

In these sometimes confusing chapters, there are some life lessons:

  • Even when you are faithful to God and tear down high places (check out The Fifth King) . . .
  • Some people relentlessly rise up against you . . .
  • To discredit and slander you . . .
  • To plant seeds of doubt in your heart about God . . .
  • And to offer a deceptive, “glorious” alternative to trusting God. Hearing eloquent, convincing arguments, you can slip.
  • Some unhelpful people may even say “the Lord” sends them.
  • You may not know when or how intervention will come as sufferings linger. Nevertheless, remain quiet before the Lord. “Surely He will deliver.” (2 Kings 18:30; Is. 36:15)
  • Click picture to go to article on healthy boundaries.

    As you wait on the Lord, PAUSE to

      • Reflect.
      • Pray.
      • Re-group.
      • Apply the eventual answer God provides.
      • Practice patience and faith.
  • Often God’s answer isn’t direct or immediate. In fact, you may need to “stay the course.” Afterall, He’s working where you cannot see. Incidentally, this awareness provides comfort and joy as you wait.
  • Additionally, God’s correction on Hezekiah for showing the enemy his wealth is a strong teaching on setting healthy boundaries and exercising wisdom and caution.

 

In summary, it’s critical to live focused, be resolved, and not become arrogant as your life goes on. 

3. Make It Personal

Whatever time is given to you, always walk with God. Enjoy Him, life, and other people. Carry out responsibilities using your skill sets, abilities, and experiences to serve God. He’ll reward you. Ask God for wisdom and humility.

Sometimes people falsely think they’re invincible. Accept your limits, and turn to God. He welcomes you and loves you.

When you don’t understand or when you feel overwhelmed, do what Hezekiah did in his younger years. Take concerns to God in prayer. Lay them out in front of Him. Speak truth and listen for God’s comfort and direction.

During a season of silent waiting during difficulties, know with confidence “. . . the Lord heard all the words of [the threat]” (2 Kings 19:4). Stay close to God in your sufferings.

Incidentally, if God adds years to your life, keep healthy boundaries in place. People can change for good or for bad.

Why not use change to be healthy in Christ as your life goes on?

4. Make A Commitment – Application Thoughts And Questions

  1. Do you ever wonder in your troubles if God hears or sees your sufferings?
  2. List ways can you stay focused to avoid becoming self-focused as your life goes on.
  3. Are you purposefully enjoying life with God and others?
  4. What fresh approach to prayer can you adopt to come closer to God?
  5. When begging for God’s intervention, “set” your perspective to avoid mistakes, overconfidence, missing things, and bragging.

 

I invite you to follow us on your favorite social media. Do sign up on our email list to receive weekly articles. PLUS tune-in to our weekly podcast using your preferred podcast app or use our online player at the top of each article.

Visit our website for resources to get into God’s Word and live an Alive and Active Life.

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