Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday, 29 May 2015: 2 Kings 19-21, Matthew 15:21-39 ~ Elizabeth

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Kings 19-21; Matthew 15:21-39

Through Isaiah, the Lord comforts Hezekiah and promises to defeat the mocking Assyrians with a mere word. Do not mock God or misuse His name! He regards words greatly and will answer you according to your words. Though His Word of rebuke has deadly force, His Word of comfort has life-giving force, as He demonstrated at creation and in the Gospel of His Son, our King. The Lord shakes the Assyrian’s confidence with a report about the Egyptians coming to Judah’s aid. Today, have confidence in God’s Word, though scoffers and critics may despise it. What the Lord promises, He performs and works salvation for all who trust in Him. Placing Sennacherib’s words before the Lord, Hezekiah asks the Lord to distinguish Himself from the idols of the nations. The Lord mockingly explains for Hezekiah how He planned for the rise and fall of Sennacherib to fulfill His purposes. When hard times disturb you, take comfort in the truth that all the intrigues of the nations and politicians are subject to the Lord’s plans for His creation and Church. The Lord responded to David, Hezekiah’s ancestor and forefather of Jesus, our Savior. He will likewise respond to our prayers.
The Lord heeds Hezekiah’s prayer and heals him. At times, people wonder whether prayer really matters to God, as He already knows all things and what will happen. This passage removes any excuse for holding your tongue in the hour of need. Call on the Lord, as He invites you to do, and trust, like faithful Hezekiah, that the Lord indeed hears and answers for His mercy’s sake, which He has revealed to us in Christ. Hezekiah displays unusual callousness in a spiritual matter, gladly accepting a prophecy condemning his descendants.

Ironically, faithful Hezekiah leaves his throne to the worst king in Judah’s history, Manasseh, who had 55 years to thoroughly corrupt the people. Make parenthood and family among your highest priorities, by which you may serve not only this generation, but generations to come. The Lord makes you and your family the object of His love and mercy in giving His one and only Son for you.

In our Matthew reading today, we meet a Canaanite woman, a descendant of the OT race that Israel was ordered to exterminate because of their idol worship. This Gentile woman addressed Jesus in the same way as two Jewish blind men. In contrast to the Pharisees who were spiritually blind, she was not. When Jesus remained silent, making to response to the woman’s cry for mercy, the disciples begged Him to get rid of her. Jesus reminded His disciples that His mission was limited to the people of Israel. Jesus answered the mother with a pithy statement expressing a general truth or rule of conduct. Because of the proverbial nature of His statement, He may not be calling her a dog. In fact, He used the term referring to a house pet, rather than the more derogatory term. This astute woman matched Jesus’ maxim with one of her own: Pets get the scraps that fall from the table. “O woman, great is your faith!” Second time Jesus commended the faith of a Gentile. IN contrast, Jesus repeatedly chided His disciples for their lack of faith. This persistent Canaanite woman gains Jesus’ praise for believing that He will help her sick daughter. In time of need, we often either fail to pray with such determination or only ask hesitantly. Instead, we ought to “pray without ceasing”. Jesus hears all prayers offered in His name, and He will answer in His own time and way as is best for us. Therefore, we can pray with confidence. 

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage:  2 Kings 22-23; Matthew 16


TammyIsBlessed said...

It's sad to see a decline in Hezekiah's faith at the end of his reign - and perhaps, not as surprising to see the evil of his son, as he grew up during that latter portion. His indifference to the judgment on his children is likely indicative of his indifference to their spiritual lives as well. We see a different Hezekiah in Chapter 20 than we had Chapter 19. We need to remember that we have never "made it" in the Christian life, and always need to be alert for temptation.

The faith of the Canaanite woman reminds us to be persistent in prayer. She knew the needed Jesus, she knew she was not worthy of His help, but she persisted in asking for it - and Jesus delayed in order to strengthen her faith. Are we that persistent?

Conrad said...

I thought the same thing after reading our passage in Matthew. God already knows our needs but He wants us to ask Him in prayer. And just like the Canaanite woman, we ought to be persistent in our prayers. A great reminder for me!

Pamela said...

God answered the prayers of Hezekiah and extended his life by 15 years which allowed his son to be born who would reign for 55 years in direct opposition to God. It makes me think of how I pray and what I am asking for. Do I selfishly ask for things that I want or that I think would be good? Or do I pray God's will over a situation believing and having faith that He knows better than I do?