August 2

2 Chronicles 32:1–33:13

The King of Assyria came to surround and conquer Jerusalem, but isn’t the timing interesting? We read those words in

2 Chronicles 32:1 (NKJV) “After these deeds of faithfulness…”

The enemy does not take our spiritual progress in stride – he will oppose those who are advancing God’s kingdom aggressively. May we always be ready for the attack, “…after deeds of faithfulness.” Recently we were saddened to hear about a dear sister, who’s been having problems sleeping…when she does finally get some rest, she’s awakened with nightmares, she said it didn’t start happening until she came back to church and fellowship with God’s people.

Hezekiah and the nation of Judah experienced this type of opposition, and Hezekiah began to move in practical ways to defend his nation. Among other things he covered the water supply outside the city. 

“Hoping to prevent Jerusalem’s capture, Hezekiah took measures to conceal the city’s outside water supplies (vv. 3–4). The stream was probably the Gihon spring (v. 30).” – Bible Knowledge Commentary.

Hezekiah strengthened himself (the city of Jerusalem), he built up his walls of protection, he repaired the Millo, he made weapons and shields in abundance, he did very practical things – he used much wisdom, but most importantly he trusted in the LORD. He also spoke words of faith to the people.

2 Chronicles 32:7–8 (NKJV) “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. 8 With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

It’s noteworthy how our words of faith can actually strengthen others (Acts 14:22; 15:41; 18:23).

The Assyrians did what the enemy always does, he lies, threats, and intimidates in order to weaken and even strip us of our faith. But Hezekiah kept the faith and he and Isaiah cried out to the LORD in prayer. So God answered by sending an Angel to wipe out 185,000 Assyrians (2 Kings 19:35).

Hezekiah has an interesting story – the prophet Isaiah came to him and told him to get his house in order, for he was about to die. Hezekiah wasn’t happy about the news, turned his face to the wall, and prayed for more time. God gave him a 15-year extension of life. We read in:

Isaiah 38:5 (NKJV) “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: ‘I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years.’’”

God graciously extended Hezekiah’s life, but he didn’t seem to respond well. We read in:

2 Chronicles 32:25 (NKJV) “But Hezekiah did not repay according to the favor shown him, for his heart was lifted up; therefore wrath was looming over him and over Judah and Jerusalem.

Thankfully Hezekiah eventually humbled himself, and God extended His mercy to him. As a matter of fact, the summary of Hezekiah’s life was positive, and we even read that “Hezekiah prospered in all his works.” (2 Chronicles 32:30).

Just curious:

What would you do if you found out you were about to die? Would you embrace it? Or would you ask for more time?

It’s tragic to read that the son of Hezekiah, Manasseh, became Judah’s most wicked king. Under his leadership the nation did things that were worse than the nations they replaced – the Canaanites.

But again, when Manasseh repented, God forgive him. 

2 Chronicles 33:13b (NKJV) “Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God.”

It’s important to know that no matter how far a person strays, God’s love and grace is there, available for anyone willing to return.

Joel 2:13 (NKJV) “So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.”

Romans 15:22–16:9

Paul planned on visiting and ministering in Rome, and then he hoped they would help him on his way to Spain to be able to minister there. He had high-hopes and so should we. I’m not sure if Paul ever made it to Spain back then, but his letters made it to the ends of the earth, and over the ages of time. He didn’t go to Rome quite as he expected, but he did make it there as he had always been, a prisoner of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15 ends with Paul’s request that the people join in prayer for him, for his protection, for his service, for those journeys of joy, and refreshing times of fellowship in the future…with the church at Rome. How important it is that we fight on our knees that we pray, pray, pray!

As Paul closes his letter to the Romans in chapter 16 he begins with the commendation of Phoebe. This is an insightful section of Scripture because it clearly communicates the fact that women can have a prominent place in the church, not as pastors (1 Timothy 2:12) but definitely as deacons. Phoebe is referred to as a “servant of the church in Cenchrea.” The Greek word translated servant is diakonos which is the origin of our word deacon. Paul instructs the church at Rome to receive her and assist her because she has been a helper to many.

It’s surprising to see how many people Paul knows and greets – who are there at the church in Rome. Numerous names of people like Priscilla and Aquilla who risked their necks for Paul, as well as other laborers, fellow Jews, prisoners, and even notable apostles (small a) who were in Christ before him. It’s obvious, these were people he loved.

Psalm 25:16-22 

Beautiful prayers when the troubles of our heart have enlarged (Psalm 25:17). It can be when we’re going through something personally, or even when we’re going through hard times nationally (Psalm 25:22).

May God Himself turn to us, look on us, forgive us and bring us out of distress.

It’s hard to imagine a time when I’m 100% blameless, we all fail in one way or another, so I found it interesting to read:

Psalm 25:18 (NKJV) “Look on my affliction and my pain, and forgive all my sins.”

It’s not just the enemy, sometimes it’s me, my failures. I don’t just need God to fight for me, I need Him to forgive me. How about you?

Let’s pray as David prayed, may God consider our enemies, for there are many demons who hate us with cruel hatred.

O Lord, we trust You, believe in You, pray to You, and wait on You.

Proverbs 20:16-18

Proverbs 20:16 (NKJV) “Take the garment of one who is surety for a stranger, and hold it as a pledge when it is for a seductress.”

Bible Knowledge Commentary explains, “This verse is repeated verbatim in Proverbs 27:13. A debtor’s outer garment could be taken by a creditor as collateral to guarantee that the debtor would pay (Exodus 22:26). Here a creditor is commanded to take the garment of a person who co-signs for a stranger, especially if the stranger is a wayward woman.”

Proverbs 20:17 (NKJV) “Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel.”

Consequences of deception – at first he’s filled with fresh baked garlic bread he bought with the money he stole, but then the day comes…what goes around comes around. His mouth is filled with gravel probably has something to do with the gravel in the grave.

Proverbs 20:18 (NKJV) Plans are established by counsel; by wise counsel wage war.

It’s good to have a good plan. There’s a ton of truth in that maxim, “If you fail to plan you plan to fail.” But it’s going to be very difficult to have good plans, if you don’t surround yourself with good counselors who you allow to speak into your life. After all, it’s not just a playground we play in, it’s a battleground we war in – therefore, “…by wise counsel wage war.”

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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