By Stephanie Parker
(If you don't have the Bible Study book to follow along, grab one on Amazon or at Lifeway!)
There were so many great take-aways from today’s lesson that I don’t even know where to start! So I will just touch on three of them!
#1 We MUST think about, invest in, and pray for the next generation:
Hezekiah made an about face in the way he led his people. He chose to live for God, unlike his father Ahaz. There was one thing that Beth Moore didn’t mention in today’s lesson that struck me as interesting. In both places where King Hezekiah was introduced, his mother, Abija, was mentioned (2 Kings 18:2, 2 Chronicles 29:1). It got me thinking what kind of influence she might have had on him. So I did a little research on her. At the time, God’s people were divided into two separate kingdoms. King Ahaz was king of the tribe of Judah and King Zechariah was the king of the tribe of Israel. The two kingdoms were enemies and yet, King Zechariah’s daughter, Abija, somehow ended up getting married off to King Ahaz. King Ahaz and Abija were Hezekiah’s parents. Abija’s father, Zechariah, and her husband, Ahaz, worshiped false gods and experienced incredible turmoil in their reigns because of their abandonment of the one true God. Abija’s dad, Zechariah, ended up brutally assassinated and her husband, Ahaz, sacrificed his sons to idols. We don’t know if Ahaz sacrificed any of Abija’s children or if she was there to witness the murder of her own father but both of those things had to have left an impression on her. She had to have seen that what they were doing was NOT working. I wonder if she poured her heart and life into making sure her son would be different, that he would honor God unlike her father and husband had.
Can you trace your faithfulness in God back to any people in your life? My father was raised in a Christian home but chose to walk away from God for a time. He remembers coming home drunk many nights and witnessing his mother on her knees in fervent prayer for him. My father returned to the Lord years later and then poured his love for Christ into me. My faith is directly linked to the faith and prayers of my grandmother. I’m so thankful for the faith of my forefathers.
If you don’t have a legacy of faith in your family line, YOU can be the one to start it as Abijah may have done for her son! Your faithfulness to God may affect generations upon generations!
#2 God’s hand always unifies but sin divides: Under the reign of Ahaz, division and disorder became the hallmark of his time on the throne. King Ahaz, “had brought about a lack of restraint in Judah and was very unfaithful to the Lord” (2 Chronicles 28:19). When Hezekiah decided to destroy the false gods and put the one true God on his rightful throne, unity and peace were the result. “The hand of God was also on Judah to give them ONE HEART to do what the king and princes commanded by the word of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 30:12). Hezekiah’s faithfulness resulted in unity. It also resulted in joy! “So there was great joy in Jerusalem, because there was nothing like this in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel” (2 Chronicles 30: 26).
Can you think of another nation that started as “One Nation Under God?” The founding fathers of our country were unified through Christ and made God the capstone. We have since, intentionally tried to push God out of our nation. The results are similar to those seen during the reign of Ahaz: disorder and division. I wonder what would happen if we started fervently praying for the kind of revival Judah experienced under the reign of Hezekiah? “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance” (Psalm 33:12)
#3 We have to be careful that we don’t turn God’s blessings into curses: In one of the most amazing passages that speaks of the power of prayer and God’s great mercy, Hezekiah prays for God to extend his life. God answers his prayer and gives him an extra 15 years! “’This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.’ Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, ‘Remember, LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: ‘Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city’” (Isaiah 38: 1-6).
Unfortunately, Hezekiah may have been better off allowing God to take him when it was his time. Hezekiah distorted his own prayer into pride. He assumed that HIS actions and HIS faithfulness changed his fate instead of the great mercy of God. He then went even further and arrogantly flaunted God’s blessings to the people of Babylon who would eventually use the intel Hezekiah freely offered to defeat Judah and steal all the wealth God had blessed him with.
Beth Moore asks a poignant question, “How do we also tend to flaunt our treasures to the godless, enjoying their favor and approval?”
I can think of a few ways. We often share God’s blessings, or our achievements accomplished with our God given talents, on social media or with unbelievers as if God had nothing to do with them. We take credit where it’s simply not due. So how do we guard against letting these things get to our heads and lead us astray? We have to be diligent in prayer and fully aware of the attacks of enemy in this regard. The best way to fight this tendency is with God’s Word. We also have to be intentional about giving God the glory every chance we get. I often pray these verses over my heart when I feel pride creeping in:
“Who has given so much to God, that God should repay him?” For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen” (Romans 11:35).
“For who makes you so superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not” (1 Corinthians 4:7)?
“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness” (2 Cor 11:30).
“Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord: for it is not the one who commends himself who is approved but the one whom the Lord commends” (2 Cor 10:17-18).
“Jesus answered, ‘My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him’” (John 7:16-18).
Thank you for the gifts and blessings and mercy that you’ve so richly extended to me. Please show me any areas where I think more highly of myself than I ought to and destroy my pride so that my life can reflect your glory and not my own! Please also give me wisdom and discernment as I pour into the lives of my children. I pray that you will bless the generations that follow me so that they might honor and glorify your name and do great things for your Kingdom! And finally God, bring revival to our nation so that we can be one nation under God once again. Put men and women in leadership that will destroy all the idols and high places we have set up so that we can put you on your rightful throne. Amen
Stephanie Parker has three main loves: God, her husband, Brett and her kids! When Stephanie created the Zipadee-Zip in an effort to solve her daughter, Charlotte's, sleep issues, she never imagined that it would become a business. She is incredibly grateful to God for how Sleepingbaby.com has grown and how it has enabled other families to get the restful sleep they need. Stephanie's husband, Brett Parker assumed the role of CEO which has allowed Stephanie to focus on what she loves which is the creative side of the company, like product and print development. After the Zipadee-Zip was featured on Shark Tank, Stephanie went on to create the book Shepherd's Treasure, a Christian alternative to Elf on the Shelf. In her free time, Stephanie loves to spend time with her family and friends. Her hobbies include acting, singing, painting, learning and speaking foreign languages and going on adventures with her family! You will find her all summer waterskiing, fishing and laughing with her family on the weekends.