#Impact on Jesus Week 22

6/12/17

As I read 2 Kings 16-17 today, the accounts of King Uzziah, Jotham, and Ahaz, I could not help but put together that these were the kings during the days of Isaiah. I imagine for Jesus this happened as well.

As I read, it was overwhelming today to see the words "did evil in the sight of the Lord" or "did what was right in the Lords eyes. . . BUT"

Everyone of them had a "but" in there. Even if they were doing what was right, they did not serve God with all their heart. They allowed certain pagan worships to remain. They did not lead the people whole heartedly to follow God. And here is the thing, the people followed their lead. Therefore, it says that they "led Israel in committing sins." They were responsible.

I couldn't help but ask what was it that kept them from going after God with all their heart. What kept them from being like David (the one they are all compared to)? Was it fear? Lust? Greed? Ignorance? Rebellion? Stubbornness? Whatever it was, it literally was tearing Israel apart.

I can't help but think Jesus would have wondered "why" as well. He had to be curious as to what would possibly keep each king from serving God with all their heart. After all, the storylines of those who did not obey is pretty horrific. Entire families wiped off the planet. Death without burial. Assassinations. It is not pretty.

In the end though, I believe their stories are vital in the showing of Jesus into the one he was to be. He saw the horrors of not following after God with all his heart, but he also sang Psalms, like Psalms 31, of how blessed are those who do seek after God and follow in all His ways. Though the history was not pleasant to read, it impacted Jesus and gave him a fierce determination to be "like David" and follow God in all his ways. He saw these kings not "inquiring of the Lord" and it gave him a raw desire to always inquire of the Lord.

Yes, even these he'd to read stories had a major impact in forming Jesus into the "perfect Lamb of God!"

#Impact #EnjoyTheShepherd

6/13/17

As a history lesson, 2 Kings 17 must have brought great sadness to a young Jew. Israel falls and its last king is taken captive. The people are scattered throughout the earth. God kept his word saying he would hand them over if they did not follow his decrees, laws, and commands, each of which He wrote to them in love. Instead, they continually turned their backs on God, so Assyria conquers them and send them off to foreign lands and replaces them with other people they had conquered.

As all this is happening, Hezekiah rises to the throne in Judah. Somehow, this son of Ahaz, who had been evil in Gods eyes and even sacrificed his sons in fire to idols, survives and rises to the throne and just like David, did what was right in Gods eyes. Hezekiah was like a breath of fresh air on the history of Israel and Judah.

He took down the high places. He smashed the Asherah poles. He got back to "inquiring of the Lord."

Assyria came against Judah, just like it has Israel, and the threats made were severe. Hezekiah, instead of consulting his army leaders, he consulted the Lord. He prayed and asked for deliverance. When the Assyrians came and declared that "no gods " could stop them, Hezekiah laid their threatening letters before God, and God moved.

185000 assyrians were slain "by the Lord." Because Hezekiah returned to walk in all the ways of the Lord, God delivered his people.

I believe Hezekiahs story was put here specifically for Jesus to see after learning about all the evil or half hearted following of the other kings. Jesus, born to be the King of Kings, has seen what happened when the kings failed to follow. He has seen what has happened when they failed to inquire of the Lord. He has seen what happened when they started out following and then drifted away. (Something he will see again shortly). But in this story, he sees a king who turns all the way back to God. He did not spare the "high places" or the Asherah poles. Hezekiah did not seek logical counsel, rather he inquired of the Lord. And for that, God moved in a mighty way.

What an encouragement to Jesus and a reminder to "seek and trust in God with all his heart, to not lean on his own understanding, but in All his ways to acknowledge the Lord" and obey His commands. Hezekiah did and a great army was turned back by the hand of the Lord.

When Jesus obeyed and sought God with all his heart, the Prince of the Power of the air and all his legions were turned back by the hand of the Lord and Jesus' people were delivered from their sins.

Praise be the our Lord and Savior.

#Impact #EnjoyTheShepherd

6/14/17

"Remember, O Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion have done what is good in your eyes." 2 Kings 20:3

This is the prayer of Hezekiah just after he has been informed he should get his house in order as he was going to die. How difficult it is to know your time on earth is short. The pressing moment of knowing you will soon die. Hezekiah's response was once again showing his heart. He reflected over his life and asked God to remember him and how he had been faithful to obey. Then, in great distress, Hezekiah wept bitterly.

The prophet Isaiah had delivered the bad news and was on his way out of the house. He had only reached the the "middle court" (or halfway across the courtyard) when God stopped him and sent him back. God had seen Hezekiahs tears and heard his prayer and this is what Isaiah was sent back to say. . .

"I (the Lord) have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. In the Third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord."

God added fifteen years to the life of Hezekiah. He healed him and extended his life and stay on earth. Can you imagine the joy that overflowed in the heart of Hezekiah. Moments before he is weeping in agony, but his sorrow was turned to rejoicing because the Lord had heard his prayer and seen his travail.

Can you see it? How mighty this word would have been to Jesus as he reads these words and comes to understand why they were written for him to read.

Jesus too faced death. His time had come. He knelt in the garden as the weight of death pressed down on his shoulders. He cried out to his father, "Remember me O Lord and how I have been faithful and wholeheartedly devoted myself to obeying you!" And in his anxiety he sweat great drops of blood." Jesus faced the reality of his approaching death and heart the crushing weight on his shoulders.

But, suddenly, his strength is renewed as he remembers the words God speaks to Hezekiah and he feels his heart restored as he reflects on these words: "I have heard your prayer and seen your sorrow, I will heal you. On the THIRD day you will go up!"

What a mighty and powerful word for Jesus. What a blessed reminder to him in his most difficult trial in life. To know his prayer had been heard. To know the travail of his soul had been seen. To know in three days he would go up to the temple of the Lord!

But that is not all: for god told both Hezekiah, and Jesus,

"And I will deliver you and this city from the king of Assyria (the Enemy). I will defend this city (you Jesus) for MY SAKE. .."

Jesus could get up from this time of prayer and confidently face the death in front of him because God had heard his prayer, God had promised to raise him up in 3 days, and God had promised to defend Him for the g