flowers for mom July 13 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: 2Chronicles 29:2; 2Kings 18:3-7a; 2Kings 20:1-19; Isaiah 38-39; 2Chronicles 32:24-31

Remembering Kindness

Almost everyone has forgotten kindnesses done for him or her. Children and teens are often quick to forget the many favors their parents grant them, but even adults can have short memories. Have you ever forgotten to say thank you to a good waiter or waitress? Have you ever forgotten to send a thank you card for a gift? If it was possible, have you ever thanked the person or persons who were the most influential in your life? Have you ever thanked your pastor or Sunday School teacher for prayerfully preparing their sermons or lessons and being used of God to meet your spiritual needs? If a doctor, fireman, or soldier saved your life, did you thank him? If a person forgave your debt, did you thank him?

Sometimes people are shown great kindness by God. Besides salvation (which is the kindest thing God could ever do for us), people receive other special blessings from God. One of these is physical healing. Physical healing does not always depend on a person's faith but on the grace of God. The Apostle Paul had faith. Paul, however, was not healed from his thorn in the flesh (perhaps his poor eyesight) though he cried out three times for the LORD to heal him. What did God tell him? “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness,” (2Corinthians 12:9, NIV). If you have cried out to God for physical healing but he has not healed you, perhaps God's answer to Paul is the same for you.

In today's Bible reading we see that King Hezekiah of Judah also went through suffering. Hezekiah was plagued by a boil. He moaned pitifully in his pain, and yet the Bible says Hezekiah was a righteous man. He had led the people in a revival. They had made a covenant with God. They had gotten rid of idolatry. The Levites had opened up the temple doors (which were locked by his father), cleaned everything out, sanctified everything in the temple and put all the furniture and articles of the temple in their proper places. They then sanctified themselves for service and worship and celebrated the Day of Atonement in ways it had not been celebrated since the days of King Solomon. After all this, King Hezekiah was plagued by a boil that would have terminated his life. We do not know why God allows the righteous to suffer, but Hezekiah said he benefited from the experience. Have you benefited from a trial? Hezekiah said, “Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back,” (Isaiah 38:17, NIV). What benefit did suffering have for Hezekiah? Not all benefits are the same. Perhaps the benefit for Hezekiah was a realization that he had sinned.

How did he sin? After he led the nation in restoration and in worship of the one true God, King Hezekiah failed in faith. Afraid of an Assyrian invasion, he sent a delegation by boat to forge an alliance with Egypt to help him fight against their common enemy. At first, he did not ask help from God; he led the nation in unfaithfulness. While we cannot say that all illnesses are a result of our sins, perhaps God was punishing Hezekiah. He needed to get Hezekiah's attention. After Isaiah told the king that he would die, Hezekiah turned to the LORD for mercy and physical healing. He was shown special healing grace by God, and in addition, God told him that Sennacherib would not enter into Jerusalem (Isaiah 38:6). God gave Hezekiah a miraculous sign and extended Hezekiah's life by fifteen years. The sign was a reversing of time - making a shadow on palatial stairs go backward. How did God do this? We are not told from the Scriptures or given any clues. Some suggest that He reversed the rotation of the earth or that light was refracted, but we do not know and it remains a mystery.

After God healed Hezekiah, he remembered God's kindness by composing a song of praise. In it he committed himself to walking humbly before the LORD the rest of his days. That humility was soon tested for God's miraculous healing brought Hezekiah fame. He became a wonder, a hero. He became unusually rich and successful. This was noticed by the surrounding nations. Babylonian emissaries came to Hezekiah (possibly to forge an alliance with him and other nations against Assyria). Hezekiah was flattered by their attention and became proud. He foolishly showed them all his riches in the kingdom. Isaiah says, “… Hezekiah's heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him [God healing him and extending his life]; therefore the LORD's wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem,” (2Chronicles 32:25, NIV). Isaiah prophesied that Babylon would come back and conquer Jerusalem, probably eager to spoil Hezekiah of his riches. Fortunately, God still promised to protect Jerusalem from the Assyrian invasion (probably by Sennacherib in 701 B.C. according to The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the O.T., by Walvoord and Zuck, ©1985, p.1089).

The greatest grace we have ever received is eternal life:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10, NIV)

Since we have received his grace, how are we living? In gratitude are we living for him? Are we accomplishing the tasks he has given us to do?

Lessons to live by: What should we do when we receive unusual grace and kindness from God or one of his servants?

•  We should give sincere thanks to God and his servants for whatever grace has been shown to us.

•  Healing does not always depend on our faith but the graciousness of God.

•  We should not become proud as if we did anything to deserve grace.

•  We should depend on the LORD to help us.

•  We should be busy with the work God has called us to do and not get side-tracked by pride.

Today's Bible memory verses:

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men (more...). It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-- the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, (Titus 2:11-13, NIV)

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