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flowers for mom July 13 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): 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, and even adults have short memories. Have any of us ever forgotten to say thank you to a good waiter or waitress? Have we forgotten to send a thank you card for a gift? If it was possible, have we thanked the person or persons who were the most influential in our life? Have we ever thanked our pastor or Sunday School teacher for prayerfully preparing their sermons or lessons and being used of God to meet our spiritual needs? If a doctor, fireman, or soldier saved our life, did we thank him? If a person forgave our debt, did we express our appreciation?

Sometimes people are shown great kindness by God. Besides salvation (which is the kindest thing He could ever do for us), people receive other special blessings from Him. One of these is physical healing. Physical healing doesn't always depend on a person's faith but on the grace of God. The Apostle Paul had faith in God. Paul, however, was not healed from his thorn in the flesh (perhaps his poor eyesight), although 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 we have cried out to God for physical healing but He has not healed us, perhaps God's answer to Paul is the same for some of us.

In today's Bible reading King Hezekiah of Judah also experiences suffering. Hezekiah suffers greatly from a boil, and yet the Bible says he is a righteous man. He led the people in a revival. Then they made a covenant with God. They got rid of idolatry. The Levites opened up the temple doors (which were locked by his father), cleared out all the idols and accumulated junk, purified everything in the temple and put all the furniture and articles of the temple in their proper places. They then dedicated 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 is plagued by a boil which would have terminated his life.

We do not know why God allows the righteous to suffer, but Hezekiah said he profited from the experience. 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 advantage did suffering have for Hezekiah? Not all benefits are the same. Perhaps the sickness was profitable for Hezekiah because by it he realized he had sinned.

How did he sin? After he led the nation in restoration and worship of the one true God of the universe, King Hezekiah failed in his 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 the king's attention.

After Isaiah tells the king he will die, Hezekiah cries to the LORD for mercy and physical healing. The LORD is gracious and heals him. In addition, God informs him that Sennacherib will not enter into Jerusalem (Isaiah 38:6). He then gives Hezekiah a miraculous sign to confirm that he will be healed and extends the king's life for fifteen years. The sign is a reversing of time—making a shadow on palatial stairs go backward. How does the LORD do this? We are not told from the Scriptures or given any clues. Some suggest that He reverses the rotation of the earth or that light is refracted, but we do not know and it remains a mystery.

After the LORD heals Hezekiah, the king remembers God's kindness by composing a song of praise. In it he commits himself to walk humbly before the LORD the rest of his days. His humility is soon tested, for God's miraculous healing brings Hezekiah fame. He becomes a wonder, a hero. He is also rich and successful, and this is noticed by the surrounding nations. Babylonian emissaries come to Hezekiah (possibly to forge an alliance with him and other nations against Assyria). Hezekiah is flattered by their attention and becomes proud. He foolishly shows them all the riches in the kingdom.

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 prophesies that Babylon will come back and conquer Jerusalem, eager to spoil Hezekiah of his riches. As God promised, however, He will still protect Jerusalem from an Assyrian invasion (probably by Sennacherib in 701 B.C. according to The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the O.T., edited 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

How should we remember God's kindness?

•  Give sincere thanks to the LORD and His servants for whatever grace is shown to us.

•  Healing does not always depend on our faith but on the grace of God. Thank Him for His healing or His sustaining grace.

•  Grace is undeserved favor. We should not become proud as if we can do anything to deserve it.

•  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.

Focus Verses

(Titus 2:11-13, NIV) 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.

praying hands Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

Please send your comments to mtbiblestudies@gmail.com

A Look Ahead: Trials and our proper response to them lead us to Maturity and Awareness.

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