12.06.2013 Ahaz is bad. Hezekiah is good. Be like Hezekiah.

Our Scripture for today is 2 Kings 18: 5-7 Hezekiah 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.  He held fast to the Lord and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses.  And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.  He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. 

First, a little history:  Hezekiah was Ahaz’s son and reigned in Judah after Ahaz’s death.  Our reading for today tells us Hezekiah was a great guy – he trusted God fiercely and was rewarded for that.  Ahaz, on the other had, was not such a great guy.  He was weak and failed to honor God with his life and reign over Judah.  When Judah was being plotted against by some of the other – stronger – kingdoms in the region, Ahaz was understandably scared.  God said through the prophet Isaiah, in no uncertain terms, that Judah would be safe; the Lord Himself protected it!  But Ahaz refused to trust God and ended up allying with the “bad guys” who were trying to tear Judah apart.

Fast forward to the reign of Hezekiah after Ahaz’s death:  Hezekiah had probably been in the room when Ahaz was deciding whether to trust God or go his own way.  It seems that was instrumental in the way Hezekiah chose to rule Judah.  He remembered Isaiah’s words to Ahaz and understood that following God was the ONLY way to further His kingdom.  He remembered Isaiah saying, “Immanuel!” (Jesus’ name, which means God with us)!  Hezekiah chose to trust God completely and totally – and therefore his reign had a vastly different outcome than his father’s.  “And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.”  Does that apply to us today?

Of course, we hear all the time that we are to give ourselves totally and completely to God and He will keep us – protect us, lead us, help us, teach us.  Please bear with me in a moment of extremely ugly honesty:  Sometimes, when I’m struggling, what I hear at the end of ‘God will keep you, Jennifer’, is “yada yada yada”.  It can be so hard to believe that God is interested in my situation, especially given that more than likely I’ve created whatever hardship I’m facing - but He is.  How many times has He either straight up bailed me out or even just smoothed the rough edges of a situation to keep my heart from being torn to pieces by it? When I trust Him, He sees to my needs.  Every time.  Somehow, Ahaz missed that lesson.  Thankfully, Hezekiah learned it and put his full faith and trust where it belonged…in the Lord.

What Hezekiah heard, both in his childhood from Isaiah and later in his heart as a memory from then, was “Immanuel! (God with us!)”  What I’ve always heard in that Name is “Immanuel! (God was with them or was gonna be with them later when Jesus got there!)”  But, Immanuel means EXACTLY the same thing today as it did 2700 years ago!!  Jesus didn’t come and go – He came and stayed.  That’s why we can trust Him – radically, out-on-a-limb, people-might-say-I’m-crazy kind of trust – He is here.  With us.  Right now.  He’s calling us to be like Hezekiah and trust Him with everything we are and everything we have.  Who’s in?  What would our lives look like if we trusted Jesus with complete abandon?

Father God, please forgive us for our distrust.  We are broken but You promise to make us whole.  You are the only One we can truly trust!  Your Word promises that You will never forsake us; please help us to live on that promise daily.  Father, Thank You!  We love You!  In Jesus’ Name we pray, amen!  

Blessings Friends, Jennifer