God is extremely patient. He’s the most patient Father I’ve ever seen. I know the Old Testament is filled with a lot of rules and judgments, but consider how much time goes by before God checks His children. For generations, they were (and are) given so many chances to return God’s love. The consequences for their choices were (and are) withheld for quite some time, allowing them the opportunity to recognize the error in their ways. But, most of the time, they didn’t (and don’t).
Look what I found in my husband's Bible!
A much neater list than the one I wrote about in my previous post.
There were 19 kings in the northern kingdom of Israel after Solomon, and all were idol worshipers. God gave Israel a total of about 210 years since Solomon's death to stop worshiping foreign gods, gods that gave them nothing, gods that couldn’t love or protect them because they were man-made artifacts of wood or metal.
They sacrificed burnt offerings in high places to these gods. And, some of those sacrifices were the lives of their own children. God gave them over two centuries, just under the amount of time that the United States has been in existence, to show their appreciation for the land of milk and honey their Father provided for them. All He asked for was their loyalty, and they just couldn’t or wouldn’t give it.
As a parent to adult children, I’m beginning to know a little of what God must feel like when His children stray away from what He taught them. You give these creatures everything you have. You give them life. You protect them from harm. You love them with all your heart. And yet, some of them can still grow up and decide that you’re not worthy of their trust. Regardless of how much of yourself you’ve freely given, one or another won't be loyal to you. And, that’s hurtful.
But, God had a few kings in Judah who were faithful, the most faithful of whom was Hezekiah. He’s a bright spot in the Father’s sea of disappointment. And, he’s the subject of my notes below, which cover…
Day 106 – 2 Kings chapters 18 and 19
(These underlined verses are clickable and take you to the actual verse.)
18:5-7 - Hezekiah pleased God more than any king before or after? Even David? That's big. Trusting in the Lord pleases the Lord. It's as simple as that. And how did God reward that 100% trust? He prospered wherever he went. The Lord was with Him! If we want the Lord to be with us, we have to clean house like Hezekiah did, and put our faith squarely on God.
18:9 - It took Assyria three years to take over Israel. So Israel had a lot of time to see their inheritance taken away from them, little by little. They probably watched a slow decline of their existence. But they obviously did nothing to turn their faith around. This sounds all too familiar.
The spiritual forces that existed on earth that caused the ancient Israelites to turn away from God and to stiffen their necks are still present today. They never left. Many people have died and were born since then, but dark forces are ever present. And with each passing generation, blindness ensues. Ignorance flourishes. Stubbornness is rampant.
18:36 - The Lord is with Hezekiah, but that doesn't mean trouble won't come. What it means is when trouble comes, He's got your back through it all. But we have to TRUST Him, and not cave into the temptation to quit, to put our trust in other things, or cry out and blame God.
19:14-19 - Yes! Spread it before the Lord. Lay it out before Him. What looks like an impossible feat to us is nothing to Him. He can fix anything! That's the power of being obedient, worshiping only Him, and allowing Him to walk with you. When trouble comes, you can spread it before the all-powerful, all-knowing, loving Father who says, "I got this, man!" No matter how formidable the foe, no matter what words or threats come from their mouths, no matter how many victims they've claimed, they are tiny little gnats in comparison to the Creator of all.
19:20... - Yes! God hears! Look at God’s answer to Hezekiah’s prayer. He’s the first king to remove the high places where the people were worshiping their idols. And look how God rewards his faithfulness.
19:25 - Ooooooh! "I heard about you, but have you heard about Me?" God is about to put the smack down! It’s like God is telling the king of Assyria: You think you’re so big and bad? You think all of your conquests were of your own strength. Boy, don’t you know I orchestrated all of it before you were even born? You’re just a mere pawn in this game of chess I’ve designed for you to lose.
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