We’re in the home stretch here! Thanks for sticking with me; hope this has been helpful to your Christian life. If you want to get these devotionals next year (aka, this Sunday), YOU WILL HAVE TO RE-SUBSCRIBE. You can do that here: https://www.calvary-bible.org/blog/start-nt17.
If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: 2 Chronicles 32, Revelation 18, Zechariah 14, John 17Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can’t do all the readings today, read 2 Chronicles 32.
Hezekiah honored the Lord from his heart, led Judah to honor and seek the Lord, and God blessed the nation with spiritual renewal. That did not mean, however, that Hezekiah had it easy. Here in chapter 32 he had to deal with a significant military threat from Sennacherib king of Assyria. The Assyrians had built a powerful army and were intent on subjugating as many other nations as possible to their control. In verse 1, Sennacherib picked off some of the smaller fortified cities in Judah, then set his sights on defeating Jerusalem. Remember that David chose Jerusalem to be his capital because it was built on a high hill and surrounded by other mountains which made it difficult to attack successfully. Hezekiah did what he could to prepare Jerusalem for Sennacherib’s attack. He blocked off the springs of water outside the city so it wouldn’t be easy for the Assyrian army to camp there indefinitely (vv. 2-4). He also fixed the broken sections of Jerusalem’s wall and built some towers to improve surveillance around the city (v. 5a-b). He manufactured “large numbers of weapons and shields” (v. 5d) and built an outer wall and “reinforced the terraces of the City of David” (v. 5c).
[NOTE: I wrote a couple of paragraphs about the “City of David,” then decided that information really wasn’t relevant for a devotional. I included those graphs at the very end of this devotional, after my usual conclusion, if you care to read them.]
Hezekiah also prepared his army for the attack (vv. 7-8) and held fast against the propaganda war that Sennacherib waged (vv. 9-19). Most importantly, he prayed. He and Isaiah the great prophet waged war on their knees in this moment of crisis (v. 20) and God honored them by miraculously delivering Judah from Sennacherib (vv. 21-23). Later, when he contracted a fatal illness, God honored his faith and his prayers by healing him (v. 24).
What an amazing life this man led, yet because he was a man he was not immune from sin. He had many victories and much success (vv. 27-29) but he also struggled with pride (vv. 25-26). This temptation follows many people who achieve everything, or most things, they want in life. We forget how much God and others contribute to our success and we start thinking that we have all the answers and deserve everything we’ve gotten. God hates pride and those who succumb to its temptation usually find themselves humbled in some way before him. The ultimate test of pride is whether one is repentant or not when God deals a blow to their pride. Hezekiah did repent (v. 26) and God was merciful to him to a degree (v. 26b). His story reminds us to be careful about our thoughts when things go well for us. If you’ve had a great year in 2016, I am happy for you and wish you even better things in 2017 but remember to thank and praise God rather than taking too much credit in your heart. God loves humility and rewards the humble but the proud he usually brings to humility.
Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we’ll talk scripture again tomorrow.
Let’s talk about that phrase, “The City of David” for a second. Sometimes this phrase is used to describe Jerusalem generally but, in this context and most of the time, it means something more specific. When David conquered the Jebusites and took Jerusalem from them, it was more of a garrison--a fortress--than a city. David moved right into that fortress and inhabited it but outside that fortress there were still Jebusites who lived in the open fields farming the land and using it for pasture. When David angered the Lord and an angel threatened to destroy Jerusalem, David went out of the fortress called Jerusalem and bought a field from a Jebusite named Araunah. There David sacrificed an offering to God and, since he owned that land now, he dedicated it to be the site of the new temple that Solomon would build. See 2 Samuel 24 and 2 Chronicles 3:1.
So Solomon expanded Jerusalem beyond the original fortress that David took from the Jebusites and made it into a real city. The original fortress was still a walled garrison within the city of Jerusalem and THAT is what is meant by the “City of David”--the original fortress that the Jebusites built and that David took to be his capital city.