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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 can have short memories. Have you ever forgotten to say thank you to a good waiter or waitress? Have you forgotten to send a thank you card for a gift? If it was possible, have you thanked the person or persons who were the most influential in your life? Have you ever thanked your pastor or Sunday School teacher for prayerfully preparing their sermons or lessons and being used of God to meet your spiritual needs? If a doctor, fireman, or soldier saved your life, did you thank him? If a person forgave your debt, did you thank him?

Sometimes people are shown great kindness by God. Besides salvation (which is the kindest thing God could ever do for us), people receive other special blessings from God. One of these is physical healing. Physical healing does not always depend on a person's faith, however, 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 you have cried out to God for physical healing but he has not healed you, perhaps God's answer to Paul is the same for you.

In today's Bible reading King Hezekiah of Judah also experiences suffering. Hezekiah is plagued by a boil. He moans pitifully in His pain, and yet the Bible says Hezekiah 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 now plagued by a boil that would have terminated his life.

We do not know why God allows the righteous to suffer, but Hezekiah said he benefited from the experience. Have you benefited from a trial? 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 benefit did suffering have for Hezekiah? Not all benefits are the same. Perhaps the benefit for Hezekiah was a realization that he had sinned.

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

After Isaiah tells the king he will die, Hezekiah turns to the LORD for mercy and physical healing. He is shown special healing grace by God, and in addition, God informs him that Sennacherib will not enter into Jerusalem (Isaiah 38:6). God gives Hezekiah a miraculous sign and extends his life fifteen years. The sign is a reversing of time - making a shadow on palatial stairs go backward. How does God 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 God heals Hezekiah, he remembers God's kindness by composing a song of praise. In it he commits himself to walking 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 becomes unusually 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 his riches in the kingdom. Isaiah says, “… 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, probably 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., 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 (what we do should do when we receive unusual grace)

•  We should give sincere thanks to God and His servants for whatever grace has been shown to us.

•  Healing does not always depend on our faith but on the grace of God.

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

•  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.

Today's Bible Memory Verses

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, (Titus 2:11-13, NIV)

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