May 18

Hezekiah, Part 6

II Kings 19:1-7 And so it was, when King Hezekiah heard it, that he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD. Then he sent Eliakim…Shebna…and the elders…to Isaiah the prophet….And Isaiah said to them, “Thus you shall say to your master, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. Surely I will send a spirit upon [Sennacherib], and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.”

In these Old Testament times, seeking the Lord meant two things. Going to the Temple was one of them. The Temple was where the ark was, the Presence of the Lord among His people. It was where a person could have access to the forgiveness and the presence of God.

For Asaph in Psalm 73, entering the Temple was the place where he could regain his perspective. After struggling with the apparent ease of the rich in this life, the psalmist gets his head on straight after going into the Temple:

“If I had said, ‘I will speak thus’ [about how unfair this seems to him], behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children. When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me—until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end.” (Psalm 73:14-17)

The other right thing Hezekiah did was to seek the word of the Lord, which was done by seeking out the recognized prophet. The Old Testament is full of stories about prophets and kings, many of which feature frustrated, resistant kings and prophets who aren’t listened to or who are running for their lives. Hezekiah was the happy exception who sought the word of the Lord, received it, and let it guide him to wisdom and victory.

Hezekiah was in a crisis situation, yet he had clearly learned how harmful it was to use his own thinking and follow the world’s pattern. So in spite of, or perhaps because of, the pressure, he acted in faith. He entered the Temple and he sought God’s word.

Have we learned our own lesson about the dangers of using our own thinking and doing what the world does? Seeking God is always the best way to begin. Being in prayer and going to church both put us in the presence of the Lord, and entered into with faith, will give us a more accurate spiritual perspective. And in our New Testament times, we have God’s word—so full of wisdom and godly direction—and the advice of godly leaders, elders and counselors. We have a great many spiritual riches available to us when we turn to Him.

Prayer: Father, I confess it’s so easy for me to automatically start thinking my way through life rather than turning to You. I need the fresh perspectives that come with prayer and church, and I need to be washed with the water of the word (Ephesians 5:26). Please stop me and redirect me as often as I need it.

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