II Chronicles 31-32
These chapters mark the end of Hezekiah’s reign signified by great acts of a faithfulness to God and yet, a lapse into pride at the end of Hezekiah’s life. In chapter 31 the author goes out of his way to show how the people respond to Hezekiah’s institutions with great generosity. The text repeats the idea several times, “And they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything” (31:5). Hezekiah was a remarkable king, so why this influx of pride in chapter 32? The text mentions that Hezekiah was sick and at the point of death (32:24). In his distress Hezekiah prays and the Lord gives him a sign, but v.25 explains that Hezekiah did not respond appropriately to God’s sign, rather his pride flared. Although wars and idols and kings did not sway Hezekiah’s faithfulness, for reasons ungiven, sickness increased his pride. Thankfully and unlike other kings, Hezekiah was able to humble himself. Going back to the beginning of chapter 32, the taunting of Sennacherib the king of Assyria is particulary relevant to the motif of American idealism. The language, “for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to deliver his people from my hand or from the hand of my fathers. How much less will your God deliver you out of my hand” (32:15) is exceptionally poignant. Sennacherib makes an argument of causes; nothing has stopped me in the past, why do you think your god could stop me now? Life can feel that way, like God is absent, and then all of the sudden, God delivers and Sennacherib is destroyed.
Reflect: There are two points to reflect on: The pride and humbling of Hezekiah, and the taunting of Sennacherib. First the pride and humbling of Hezekiah was due specifically to disease. There are many temptations in life, but when health is removed, our idols can become most powerful. Consider how you act when you are unwell. Do you use illness, sickness, or disease, as an excuse to sin? Talk about this with Jesus. Second, the language of Sennacherib relates remarkably to modern times. Modern man looks at time chronologically and temporally, seeing evil nations rise and asking the question, “Where is God?? We learn through Sennacherib that this way of thinking is wrong, that just because it was true then, doesn’t mean that God won’t act now. The New Testament talks about God’s presence in this way, that he is ever present, that he will act when he chooses to act. Take some time and pray that God might give you this perspective of his presence, and removal from you the temporal perspective of mankind. Pray for patience to wait on the Lord.
2 Peter 3:9 - "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
Psalm 27:14 - "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
- Rev. Joseph Bianco
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This blog is part of the ministry of City Reformed Presbyterian Church. Unless otherwise noted, the entries are written by Matt Koerber. This is part of a project that our church is doing as we read through the narrative sections of Scripture between early January and Easter 2020. New entries will be scheduled to drop automatically at 5:00 am on the scheduled day.