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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

II Kings 18:3

And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did.

For further study - II Kings 18:1-12

Have you ever heard someone refer to the book of Hezekiah in the Bible? I often say, " in Hezekiah 3:16," in jest with people. Today, we are not in the book of Hezekiah, but II Kings, which is the record of Hezekiah as King of Judah, the revival under Hezekiah and the victory in Gaza for this King of Judah is recorded.

After the reign of King Solomon, I Kings 11, the Twelve Tribes of Israel divided into a Northern and a Southern “kingdom”. The ten tribes who went to the north were known as “Israel”. The two tribes in the south were “Judah”.

There were a number of Kings over Judah until the Babylonian captivity and Hezekiah was one of the greatest. He was great, not because he was a military genius or an astute politician, he was both wise in military activity, verse 8, and adept in the political arena. But Hezekiah's greatness came because, "he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord," verse 3.

The result of Hezekiah's "right living" led to a “revival” among the Jewish nation. The children of Israel had been misusing the "brazen serpent" that God had given the Jewish people for salvation, Numbers 21:5-9. This idolatrous activity took place all the way to the days of Hezekiah, over a thousand years after the brazen serpent in the wilderness wanderings.

The Jews were not "looking to live" on the brazen serpent but instead they were "burning incense" to the serpent. Hezekiah broke the brazen serpent into pieces to stop this idolatry. Hezekiah also removed the "high places," broke the images set up there, and cut down the groves, which all were symbolic of idolatrous worship.

Revival had broken out in Judah and it started with their King and worked its way down to the people. In contrast, this account reveals the defeat of the ten tribes in the north, Israel, by Shalmaneser, King of Assyria. They were defeated because they did not obey the voice of the Lord and transgressed the Mosaic Covenant, verses 9-12.

Before we conclude our devotional thoughts for today, please notice Hezekiah's victory over the Philistines in Gaza. The "Gaza" in this passage is the same as the "Gaza Strip" in modern times. God did give Judah, King Hezekiah, this piece of real estate almost 2,700 years ago.

Let me hasten to remind you that the Philistines of Biblical times are not the Palestinians of today. The Palestinians of today come from the line of Esau, Jacob's twin brother. (see my audio series Esau and the Palestinians)

It is so interesting that God gave the Jews victory over their enemies that were headquartered in Gaza. What goes around, comes around and will continue to do so in the future. Obadiah 14-18 tells of the victory that the Jews will have over the present residents of Gaza at the time of the return of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

That time is quickly approaching, the stage is being set for Obadiah’s prophecy to be fulfilled. But remember, seven years before Jesus Christ returns He will shout and each of us you are Christians will be “caught up” to meet Him in the “air” and it could be today - keep looking up.

PRAYER THOT: Help me, dear Lord, to be like King Hezekiah and to do that which is right in Your sight as I await the “shout” to join You in the “air”.