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Friday, July 15, 2016

Spiritual Madness (2 Kings 20:18-19)

 "And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood, that will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon." "The word of the LORD you have spoken is good," Hezekiah replied. For he thought, "Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?"

Daniel, one of the captives taken to Babylon, was born into the royal family and was of noble birth (Dan. 1:3, 6). That he is a eunuch is probable since the master of the eunuchs, Ashpenaz, is in charge of Daniel (I wonder how closely Daniel was related to Hezekiah since they were both from the tribe of Judah).  Hezekiah's statement reveals a proud narcissistic man, a man whose only concern is himself and his own welfare. He apparently gives no thought to how his decision will effect the lives of his descendants. 

How can someone who began so well end so poorly? Hezekiah experienced God's intervention on his behalf when God killed 185,000 of the opposing army. He also experienced God's intervention in nature when God caused the sun to go back 10 steps. His experiences made him cocky. So cocky, that when the Babylonian king's son heard about Hezekiah's healing and the sun going backwards, he came to visit Hezekiah and Hezekiah "showed them all that was in his storehouses." Confronted by Isaiah for his prideful foolishness he does not repent but rejoices that he, at least, will not experience captivity by the Babylonians.

What prompts a person to live in blatant disregard for the consequences of his actions upon others? All of Hezekiah's problems may stem from one thing: not once, after experiencing God's intervention in his life, in any of his conversations with Isaiah does he express any gratitude. It doesn't appear that he thanks the Lord for His intervention on his behalf with the Assyrian army, nor does he express gratitude to the Lord for his healing. Instead he shows off his possessions as if they are his to show off. Never mind that his showing off whets the appetites of the Babylonians for these possessions.

Ingratitude is spiritual madness; it is the ugly monster that rears its head in those whose proud hearts refuse to acknowledge God. An ungrateful person doesn't care that others suffer as a result of their actions. Ingratitude leads to further spiritual madness as seen in Romans 1:21ff. It only takes a moment for the heart to deviate from gratefulness.

Questions for today's Chronological reading:
Isaiah 37:14-38:22
  • What is the basis of Hezekiah's prayer in chapter 37?
  • Why does the LORD answer his prayer?
  • What is it about the Assyrians that provokes the LORD to move against them?
  • How does the LORD view the Assyrian army?
  • What is the basis of Hezekiah's prayer regarding his sickness in chapter 38? How does this prayer differ from the one in chapter 37?
  • Describe the difference in Hezekiah's demeanor/attitude before and after he was healed.
2 Kings 20:1-19; 2 Chronicles 32:24-31; Isaiah 39:1-8
  • Why does Hezekiah ask for a sign or proof that he would be healed?
  • Why does the LORD avert His wrath during the days of Hezekiah?
  • What does this teach you about God?
  • What seems to be Hezekiah's greatest concern?
  • Why does the LORD test Hezekiah?
Turning truth into prayer
Thank the Lord for His goodness, answered prayer, provisions, family, freedom, etc. Ask the Lord to help you guard your heart against ingratitude.