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Monday, July 21, 2008

Resisting God

There was a man, Hezekiah, king of Judah, who began his reign as a godly king. He had grown up with one messed up childhood, if you think about it. For many years, he followed after the Lord. However, in his later years, he made a serious mistake, inviting representatives of the Babylonians into his palace and showing them the treasures he had, which they would one day come after. When Hezekiah became ill to the point of death, he prayed for deliverance, and God had spared his life.

2Ki 20:1 In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.

He had been king for a while, several years, and had enjoyed victory under the leadership of the Lord. The Lord had wrought great deliverance for Israel from the Assyrian armies that came against them. He had given Hezekiah wisdom to lead this nation in the right path. But Hezekiah did not want to die. When God said it's time, Hezekiah said no, Lord, I've done right, what was good in your sight, and cried for the Word of the Lord to him was you must die. He had a boil on him that was infected, and poisoning his system. From what I've read researching this, a boil is like an infected ulcer, and back in the time of Hezekiah, could be complicated by leprosy, like it was in the case of Job. Ulcerated sores that show up on man's skin, full of infection. This is like the plague of boils God sent on Egypt. It reminds me of sin.

As I read this, it occurred to me that as a Christian, God says everything you are, everything you want, everything your carnal nature desires, it has to die so I can raise up the life of My Son in you. Hezekiah, if he'd died at this time, would have went out in the will of God. But he resisted this, and afterward gave life to something that would destroy many of God's people. A son, named Manasseh.

God heard Hezekiah's pleas and healed him, but there was something born of Hezekiah afterward that would not have been had he accepted the word of the Lord and not prayed against it. He fathered a son, Manasseh, who would later have the prophet Isaiah sawn in half and cause the nation of Judah to spiral out of control with sin, wickedness, and many of the saints would be slaughtered. Manasseh would be one of the most wicked kings to rule over Judah. Hezekiah also acted very unwisely in allowing these Babylonians access to the nation's treasures. Isaiah comes to Hezekiah with a word from the Lord.

Isa 39:6 Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD.

Isa 39:7 And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.

Consider how Hezekiah responds to this warning. He is not repentant. He does not go to the Lord to intercede on behalf of his sons and grandsons. No. He says well, good is the Word of the Lord, at least I'll have peace in my time. How selfish. I ask you, will God allow someone with that spirit in heaven? Hezekiah has always been preached as a godly king, but listen to him at the end. Selfish. Makes me wonder. As I look at Hezekiah's life, and see how great a start he had with the Lord, I wonder about his end. I don't want to start great and end up lost and betraying the Lord. He was told that his sons, and that includes grandsons, would be castrated and taken captive and what does he say?

Isa 39:8 Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, Good is the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken. He said moreover, For there shall be peace and truth in my days.

Well, the Lord's Word is good, it's fair, and at least there won't be trouble in my days. Did he have problems staring his sons in the face? What about Manasseh? This one grew up to do much evil to God's people. Perhaps he thought it was better than some of his siblings got. The Scripture tells us in 2 Kings 16:3 that his father, King Ahaz was an evil man who burnt his sons in the fire as a sacrifice to Canaanite gods.

Hezekiah had a boil, an infection in his body that was killing him and God said he had to die. Set his house in order. Much ado is made over God's mercy to this man, but I've heard very little about the tragedy that would come to Israel and his own house hold, including the prophet Isaiah, because this man lived 15 more years. Compare this with our carnal nature, and self will-surely an infection in us that has to be dealt with. Nothing good comes from self will, or carnal living-not in the kingdom of God. When God says that self will of ours has to die, we must listen to Him and agree with Him. Who knows what will be birthed in our lives and how it will affect others around us if we do not heed the Lord. Hezekiah prayed a prayer that clearly resisted God's will. When we get a clear word from the Lord and we don't like it, God help us remember Hezekiah and not try to pray our way out of it. Because he lived 15 more years, he sired a son who caused a bloodbath in Jerusalem. He had prophets of God killed, and many innocents. The Scripture says he shed innocent blood. That means little ones. He was a very vicious man, who ultimately ended up finding mercy from God. This is a very thought-provoking story and I pray we consider it carefully.

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