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Lessons from Old Lions | King Hezekiah

¹Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became the king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. ²He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his ancestor David had done. ³In the very first month of the first year of his reign, Hezekiah re-opened the doors of the Temple of the Lord and repaired them. ~2Chronicles 29:1-2 NLT

The Word of God contains many warnings to rebellious nations (and to leaders of nations) that turn their hearts away from Almighty Jehovah.  One example can be found in the Old Testament of how the Lord dealt with two kings who fell short in their service to both the nation of Judah and to their Covenant-God Jehovah.

B.C. 726 – 2 Chronicles 29-32

King Hezekiah was a highly respected monarch who pleased God by tearing down the pagan worship centers in the country.  He restored Temple worship of Jehovah and declared national observance of holy festivals such as Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  This may not seem like such a big deal to us now, but at that time in history, the previous King Ahaz was so evil that he had actually closed the Lord’s Temple!  Hezekiah showed great faith in restoring God’s Law in Judah coupled with fervent positive action to get the Lord’s work done.

As a result, the Lord forestalled judgement upon Judah when King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah prayed to Him for deliverance from invading Assyrian King Sennacherib in B.C. 713.  Sennacherib not only besieged Judah with the plan to take over Jerusalem; he also mocked the God of Israel in the process.  The Lord sent an angel who destroyed Sennacherib’s entire army.  Sennacherib returned home to Assyria in defeat and was assassinated there by his own two sons.

The Lord blessed Hezekiah for his devotion, piety, and faithful reforms.  Hezekiah became extremely wealthy.  Evidently while in the process of building banks, warehouses, and water dams, King Hezekiah fell into the sin of pride.  Oh, haven’t we heard about this sort of problem before?  Jehovah was patient with Hezekiah, and healed Hezekiah on his death bed when Hezekiah repented and prayed; granting Hezekiah fifteen more years of life.  The Lord gave a famous sign to King Hezekiah of the sun going backwards ten degrees as proof of Hezekiah’s healing and that it was from the Lord (2 Kings ch20).

Wouldn’t we think that Hezekiah would be thankful to receive the miracle of life plus such a splendorous and powerful sign sealing God’s promise?

However, when ambassadors arrived from Babylon to ask about the remarkable events that had taken place in the land, God withdrew from Hezekiah in order to test him and to see what was really in his heart. ~ 2Chronicles 32:31NLT

 13Hezekiah received the Babylonian envoys and showed them everything … there was nothing in his palace or kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them. 14Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did those men want? Where were they from?”

Hezekiah replied, “They came from the distant land of Babylon.”

15What did they see in your palace?” Isaiah asked.

“They saw everything,” Hezekiah replied. “I showed them everything I own – all my royal treasuries.” (Emphasis added)

16Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to this message from the Lord: The time is coming when everything in your palace – all the treasures stored up by your ancestors until now – will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. 18Some of your very own sons will be taken away into exile. They will become eunuchs who will serve in the palace of Babylon’s king.”

19Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “This message you have given me from the Lord is good.” For the king was thinking, “At least there will be peace and security during my lifetime.” ~ 2Kings 20:13-19 NLT

Did you catch that?  It is okay to kick that cursed can down the road to future generations as long as judgement is delayed and served upon the children!  Isn’t that a lot like what is going on in America today?

King Hezekiah reminds me of another king that served Israel named Solomon.  Solomon started out great by pleasing the Lord as he built God’s Temple in Jerusalem and asked for wisdom instead of riches …

But they both turned away from Jehovah through the sin of pride as they gained wealth and stature.  Eventually the unrepentant actions of each brought national judgement to succeeding generations whose citizens lost their freedoms to foreign invaders.  That means not only being physically enslaved to conquering governments but also means being barred from the freedom to worship the one true Creator God, Jehovah.

9”The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? 10But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” ~ Jeremiah 17:9-10 NLT

Next time we will take a look at Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh’s, reign over Judah.  It should be interesting to compare father and son monarchies, and possibly gain clues about what may be in store for our own nation in these end times …

Until then, thank you for following

Old Timers Cemetery
Importantstuff.Live

Stand and be Strong

Tired of living a powerless life?  Is being part of the “I’m OK-You’re OK-Anything Goes-Kumbaya” church getting you down?  Well, God wants us to be living victoriously.  How?

The Apostle Paul writes a letter to the church at Ephesus about Christian living and then expands his directives beyond the believers at Ephesus to include the whole world!  (US!)  How amazing is that?

Paul says the only way we can be confused, powerless, or snared by temptation is when we do not connect with God through His Word.  During his imprisonment at Rome (AD. 60-62) he wrote:

¹ºFinally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. ¹¹Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. ¹²For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. ¹³Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. ~ Ephesians 6:10-13 NKJV

What “evil day” is Paul is talking about?

Every Day!

At least, every day has the potential.  Spiritual warfare exists today just as it did in Paul’s time.  Unless a believer makes a deathbed confession, repents, and accepts Jesus as Savior, it is highly unlikely that any living believer escapes daily spiritual attack or testing.  Don’t try to face evil alone!  Get prepped up!  Verses 14 through 20 give more detail about God’s armor:

  • Wrap Truth about our waist
  • Righteousness is our breastplate
  • Wear shoes of the gospel of peace
  • Faith is our shield to douse the flaming arrows of Satan (ABOVE ALL in importance)
  • Salvation is our helmet
  • God’s Word is our sword of The Spirit
  • Pray in the Spirit to persevere and be watchful toward all the brethren

See, if we don’t read our Bibles, we won’t recognize evil when it comes sneaking into our lives, our church, and our nation.  We will not watch and pray for Jesus to return soon for His church.  We will follow the world and fall into sin.  We will not recognize Truth; our shoes will carry us away from situations of sharing our faith and toward sharing gossip or other sin.  We will forget to pray; therefore, we will be weak and unfit for duty as God’s ambassador.  We may lose our ability to speak boldly against satanic alignments.  The list goes on …

Sometimes we can feel defeated or powerless.  That means we are human.  That is why our Father God has given us all we need for defense.  Prepare according to His Word and then take the matter to Him!

“Heavenly Father, all praise, Praise, PRAISE TO YOU TODAY!!!  Even though nothing is working for me, I have girded myself with Your whole armor as best as I know how.  I read Your Word, and pray for understanding.  The enemy seems to follow my trail and won’t be shaken.  I turn around now and just face the evil day in Your strength.  Help me to stand.  Thank you in the Name of Jesus (Yeshua), Amen!”

Thank you for following

Sun Dog
Importantstuff.Live

 

Divine Wilderness

A wild, empty, or remote area (wilderness) is what most people rarely frequent.  Wilderness is mostly inhabited by untamed animals that thrive in a mysteriously desolate, yet awesomely beautiful place.  It is a place without highways; crisscrossed randomly by well-trodden game trails.  When I meet with my Heavenly Father in such a place it morphs into a Divine Wilderness.

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Ramon Crater at Negev Desert, Israel

I must come alone.  But I will not be lonely, as the Holy Spirit will be there with me.  In fact, He is my guide – just as Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to pray.

And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, ~ Luke 4:1 KJV

Jesus was always our perfect example in every aspect of His life in the flesh:

  • He always retreated from others when He prayed.
  • He sought isolated places to be alone in prayer with His Father; often ending up in the wilderness just like Abraham, Moses, and John the Baptist.
  • Multitudes followed Jesus into the wilderness and He spoke The Word to them.  He fed them out there – bread and fish (about 5,000 men plus women and children).
For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.      ~ John 6:33-35 KJV

Since I am a night owl, my wilderness is located somewhere in the far distant gloom of night.  It’s sometime between midnight and four a.m.  Others speak of morning devotions and I have never been successful finding time with God in the morning (I’m talking crack-of-dawn morning).  But while others sleep, I become unfettered to the cares of this world.  I am free to be alone with my Father with no interruptions.  Mind you, I am not saying that I have made every appointment – far from it!

But that is my weakness, not His.  He awaits in perfect faithfulness to me while I am wasting all that Divine Wilderness on nothingness.

“Father, forgive me for not making our time together the highest priority each night.  I am often absent when I should be searching Your Word nightly in the Divine Wilderness of Your love.  Thank You for patience toward me, and for giving me another chance to work on this, as I need Your Wisdom and Presence to recharge my soul every night so that I can shine for You every day.  In the Name of Jesus, Amen.”

No matter what time of day or night, are you spending time alone with your Father in His Divine Wilderness?  If not, will you join with me in re-dedication to daily devotions?

Thank you for following Importantstuff.live!

PC: ©CanStock Photo Inc/Flik47

Growing Up

I recently read a post that stated simply, “The first 50 years are the hardest part of growing up.”

Can I get an amen?

After living over half a century my response is, “Still working on it!”

I used to think that growing up was so complicated.  I took life’s challenges seriously and wore myself out trying to live up to public opinion instead of what God’s Word has to say about it.  My moral compass was skewed by the changing times.  I was more intent on meeting expectations of the world system than I was on finding out what God’s plan was for my life.  Decades passed and after my nest emptied I began to realize that getting an education, raising a family, and making a living was just getting me older.  I did not feel as grown up as my image reflected in the mirror each morning.

Thank God for not giving up on me!

He has not given up our nation, either.  Nations also struggle with growing up.  Our United States is groaning under the stress of moral decline.  It’s time to grow up!  We as believers are part of the problem, but we can be part of God’s solution, too.  I want to be part of God’s plan for my own life and for that of my nation.  I want my nation to turn away from foolishness, repent, and place our government once again under God.  Our loving, faithful Father has delivered us and shown us the way:

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.  ~John 16:33

It starts with me.  It’s time to grow up spiritually.  It’s time for me to be His Voice and spread good cheer in a time of national tribulation.  His promise is that in Me you may have peace.  Praise and thank you, Lord!god-is-good

Silver – Not Gold

“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” ~ Psalm 12:6 KJV

Purity is absolute:  Pureness means flawless and undefiled.  God’s words are Truth.  They can be tested for eternity and never change.  God wants us to know that we can rely on His words.  God’s words stand up to any test.  God’s words are a testament to who He is.  That is clearly understood by man, as throughout history, even an imperfect man is known by whether or not he keeps his word:

“For I am the LORD, I change not: ….” ~ Malachi 3:6 KJV

Properties of silver:  The more times heat is applied to silver, the more pure it becomes.  This is true of any metal such as gold. Why does King David describe the words of God as being pure “as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” instead of gold?  Well, not all silver is pure silver unless the impurities are removed by the process of smelting.  The heat of a furnace (or crucible) extracts silver or gold from the slag (bronze, iron, lead, or tin), leaving the desired metal in its pure state – undefiled.  Only silver that is refined in a furnace of earth (in those days) seven times is pure enough to describe God’s words.

The number seven: In God’s Word the number seven is known to be symbolic of completion; i.e. the priest sprinkled the blood of a bull before the Lord seven times at the veil of the sanctuary in the tabernacle (Leviticus 4:6); the leper was to be sprinkled seven times for cleansing from leprosy (Leviticus 14:7); the Israelites marched around the city walls of Jericho seven times before the Lord caused the walls to fall, giving His people a complete victory over the Canaanite city (Joshua 6:4) – it was the first battle victory of many  to follow that enabled God’s chosen people to inhabit the land that God had promised to them.  God’s words are complete.  They are final and unchangeable.

Value of silver:  We understand that gold is more valuable than silver even today – just as it was in the ancient world.  So why not describe God’s words as being pure as gold instead of pure as silver?

Durability:  Who was David’s audience?  A people whose economy was based upon silver currency would understand the high value placed upon silver as a traded commodity and also its availability to the common people in everyday life.  God inspired David around 800 B.C.E to describe His messages to man in common terms that man could understand across the millennia of time.  Even today silver is more commonly minted as coinage than is gold, so the average person is more familiar with its monetary value than gold.

Most coinage is silver, since gold is softer than silver.  Gold is good for beating into stunning and valuable temple ornamentation or jewelry, but its soft properties do not meet the standards of coinage. It is so awesome that God’s Word never fails to explain His messages to man in terms that man can best understand.  God’s message here is to the ancient generations of Hebrews living during King David’s rule of Israel.  Yet it is also easily understood in modern times.

Silver as a symbol: Silver symbolizes wealth and position.  Palaces, temples, kingly furnishings and other royal objects of wealth have been adorned or traded in silver.  One example given at the link below of traded silver is that of Solomon’s Egyptian chariot bought with 600 shekels of silver (I Kings 10:29).

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Old Israeli Agora Shekel Coin

The smelting or refining of silver as well as the trading of silver assigned a symbolic value to the virtue of wisdom for the Israelites:

“For You, God, tested us; You refined us like silver.” ~ Psalm 66:10 NIV

“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.” ~ Proverbs 3:13-14 NIV

God’s Promise and our hope:
“So that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” ~ Hebrews 6:18-20 NASB

Prayer:  Abba, Father, thanking You today for drawing us a picture using silver to explain how Your words are pure, absolute, complete, lasting, valuable, and worthy of our attention.  We accept Your words as holy and full of wisdom.  Help us to remain faithful to read Your Word, the Holy Bible, daily; and keep Your words in our hearts.  Give us opportunities to share them with others, and to apply Your words to our lives.  In the Name of our our Redeemer Jesus, King of Kings and LORD of Lords, Yeshua Messiah. Amen.

Further information on the values of gold and silver to the ancient Jewish people can be found at The Library, Encyclopedia Judaica: Metals & Mining.
Feature Photo courtesy ©Can Stock Photo Inc/HOMONSTOCK
Old Israeli Agora Coin photo courtesy ©Can Stock Photo Inc/asafeliason