Day 107 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Second Kings and Psalms.
2 Kings 20 – The events recorded in these few verses are quite amazing. Hezekiah was sick, and the Lord sent Isaiah the prophet to deliver a message of death: “you shall die; you shall not recover.” The king quickly responded with prayer, and then the Lord answered that prayer: “Behold, I will heal you.” Yes, the Lord answers prayer. But that is not the whole story.
Even before Isaiah delivered the first prophetic word of death, the Lord certainly knew that He would heal Hezekiah from his sickness. This was His plan all along. But if this was the plan, then why send the first message about death? Why not just send the message of healing? The answer to these questions, at least according to the biblical text, is that the Lord wanted to provoke Hezekiah to prayer, the expression of dependence and the orientation of biblical hope.
When we encounter suffering and sickness in life, the Lord is not punishing but rather provoking His people to prayer, to communion with the living God. Therefore, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2–4). Do not forget that the grace of the Lord is present is every aspect of life, even in our suffering and sickness.
How will you be reminded to trust God’s plan, even when things don’t look or feel good?
2 Kings 21 & 22 – After two generations of gross wickedness (chapter 21), a new king arrived on the scene and began to repair the house of the Lord (22:3–7). In the midst of this repair work, the high priest “found” the Book of the Law of the Lord. Can you imagine this—God’s people living without God’s covenant word? It is no wonder, then, that Judah’s condition had become worse than that of the nations previously expelled from the land (21:9). As such, judgment was coming, and coming quickly.
But though judgment was coming, it was not too late to repent of wickedness and seek the favor of the Lord. Having encountered the Word of God, King Josiah repented and humbled himself before the Lord, tearing his clothes and weeping.
We are reminded that though judgment is still coming for unrepented evil—and for more than merely the tribe of Judah in the final judgment—yet there is hope. We can be assured that the Lord, who has displayed His forgiving nature in this passage, will continue to look in mercy upon the humble and repentant. He hears prayer and delivers those who turn to Him in faith. Consider the marvelous promise of the Lord: “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word” (Isaiah 66:2). Such a promise is rooted in the very character of God. For He is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6).
It’s God’s character, not ours, that we can trust in. How does this lead you to worship?
Psalm 107 – Although this Psalm begins the fifth and final book of the Psalter, it continues the themes of the despicable sinfulness of God’s people along with the gracious and restorative mercy of God that are also described in the narrative depictions of Psalms 105 and 106.
The opening verses announce the overarching message of the psalm: because God’s goodness and steadfast love endures forever, those redeemed by the Lord, wherever they may be (i.e., in their homeland or in exile), give thanks to Him and look to Him for future deliverance and restoration. The Psalm then focuses on four groupings (the “some” of vv. 4, 10, 17, 23) of God’s people who, in their respective situations of distress and need, look to God for help. Each group’s affliction differs, but each calls upon God for deliverance (vv. 6, 13, 19, 28), and God hears and answers their humble cries for help. Each, then, is encouraged to offer a response of thanksgiving to God (vv. 8, 15, 21, 31), expressing the praise and worth of God in light of His gracious and powerful deliverance.
God’s faithfulness to His own people, to hear and help in times of distress, is the repeated theme of this Psalm. As God’s people learn that He “raises up the needy out of affliction,” they will begin to “consider the steadfast love of the Lord.” There is such good news here; although God’s people are feeble, needy, afflicted, and often sinful, yet His steadfast love never ceases. The grace we see here prepares us to understand its expression and fulfillment in Jesus, by whom God has once and for all answered the cry of the needy. The steadfast love of the Lord becomes flesh-and-blood reality, before our very eyes, in Jesus.
Can you identify with one or more of the groups highlighted in this Psalm?
How do your needs lead you to Jesus as the answer?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
All links you need to be a part of this are here – Thru the Bible in 2018.