Wednesday, March 01, 2023

2023.03.01 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Kings 18:1–8

Read 2 Kings 18:1–8

Questions from the Scripture text: In what year of which king’s reign, did which other king, where, begin to reign (2 Kings 18:1)? How old was he (2 Kings 18:2)? How long did he reign? Who was his mother? What did he do (2 Kings 18:3)? In Whose sight? According to what who had done? What did he remove (2 Kings 18:4)? What did he cut down? What did he break in pieces? What had who done to it until that day? What had they called it? Whom did Hezekiah trust (2 Kings 18:5)? To what extent? What is this trusting called (2 Kings 18:6)? From what does someone who “holds fast” to Yahweh not depart? What does he keep? Who was with him (2 Kings 18:7)? Where did he prosper? Against whom did he rebel? Whom did he subdue (2 Kings 18:8)? How far? 

What does the initial summation of Hezekiah’s reign teach us? 2 Kings 18:1–8 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eight verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that although we all fail much, there is a walking with the Lord in overall principle that marks those whom the Lord is saving. 

A glowing summary. Hezekiah receives quite the commendation here. He receives not only a “did what was right in the sight of Yahweh” but even the “according to all that his father David had done” (2 Kings 18:3). Like David, “he removed the high places (2 Kings 18:4a). Indeed, he does better than David, because Nehushtan (an Egyptian name) had long since gone from instrument-of-God to idol-of-Israel during the time of David, but it wasn’t until Hezekiah that its use for worship was eliminated (verse 4b). 

Hezekiah’s faith is very instructive to us for what a saint looks like on earth. A saint trusts in Yahweh (2 Kings 18:5) as both God over all, and covenant God (“God of Israel”).  A saint holds fast to Yahweh (2 Kings 18:6). A saint follows Yahweh. A saint keeps Yahweh’s commandments. A saint knows the presence of Yahweh. A saint knows the prospering of Yahweh. In particular, we do all of these to/with the Lord Jesus, by the Holy Spirit, as beloved children of the Father.

A governing summary. We are going to read of a couple significant failures of king Hezekiah. Toward the beginning of his reign, he is going to give Assyria all of the silver of the house of Yahweh and the gold off of the doors and pillars of the temple of Yahweh. Toward the end, he is going to foolishly show off to the Babylonians and demonstrate a disregard for his descendants.

So, it is helpful to us to read this extremely positive summary of Hezekiah and his reign. It reminds us that the Lord is patient with His imperfect saints. This doesn’t excuse our sin, but it does enables us to think and deal gently with ourselves and others. For, the true repentance that He does give us is real, despite its imperfections; and, we must not fail observe and appreciate this work of His grace. 

And for some believers, though glaring imperfections exist, yet they may be exemplary saints. The governing, over-arching summary of a believer’s life may be of how the work of grace in his life differentiated him even from many in the church.

A gracious summary. By reminding us that our governing view of a believer’s life is to consider His gracious work above all, the Lord is gracious to us. He graciously gives us reason to be gentle in how we think of others and ourselves. By giving His grace due glory, we may be patient and even-handed with where they fall short. 

He graciously gives us reason to be hopeful in how we think of ourselves and other believers. Though we may have fallen spectacularly, and may feel even now the potential that would still fall, yet His grace is the greater story of the believer’s life, and this gives us reason to hope as we pray for them and serve them—and reason to hope as we ourselves pursue holiness. 

He graciously gives us reason to be vigorous in pursuit of holiness. If God’s gracious work in us is the main story of our lives, and if there are some beliers about whom Scripture teaches us to see this as a more consistent and more completed work, then this should be great motivation for us to seek that consistency and maturity. Do we not desire that others would be more encouraged by an account of His work in our lives? Do we not desire to give more occasion for His praise? Then let us pursue integrity, consistency, and maturity of holiness with all that we are!

When you think about your own trusting, holding fast to, following, obeying, and walking with the Lord, what would you say have been positive and negative highlights so far? How is this helping you to praise God for what He has already done? How is this helping you to pursue more of His work in you? 

Sample prayer: Lord, thank You for Your merciful and powerful work in the life of Hezekiah. And thank You for teaching us, through Your summary of His life and reign, to focus upon Your gracious work in the life. Forgive us for how our many stumblings and remaining sin have often detracted from the display of Your grace in us. Forgive us for when we have not pursued holiness and maturity, because we have so little desired Your grace to be glorified in us. And forgive us for when we have seen our stumblings or other saints’ stumblings as a bigger story than Your grace in our lives. Work in us by Your Spirit to correct these things we ask, through Jesus Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH433 “Amazing Grace”

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