Toward the end of the year, we begin to focus on the “new.” We enjoy giving and receiving “new” presents, and we look forward to the hope of a “new” year. A blank calendar page represents fresh opportunity, but what will we do with it?
Hezekiah was known as a man who received renewed opportunity from the Lord. A godly king, Hezekiah destroyed the idols in Judah (2 Kings 18:4) and trusted God (2 Kings 18:5-6).
When Assyria came knocking on the door threatening to destroy Jerusalem, Hezekiah prayed (2 Kings 19:15-19), and God spared Judah. When Hezekiah fell ill, and God told him that he would not survive, Hezekiah again went to the Lord in earnest prayer, and God extended his life by 15 years (2 Kings 20:1-6). Two challenges in Hezekiah’s day were overcome by going to God in prayer. The nation now had renewed hope, and Hezekiah especially should have been filled with new enthusiasm for the future after God spared his life.
However, when a third challenge presents itself, Hezekiah seems to display resignation and selfishness. Isaiah reveals to him that Babylon would soon come and take away the wealth of Judah, as well as Hezekiah’s own descendants (2 Kings 20:16-18). Instead of meeting this challenge with more prayer, Hezekiah says, “The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good!” and “Will there not be peace and truth at least in my days?” (2 Kings 20:19). Hezekiah was given new opportunities, but he was content to live with his personal blessings, and gave no prayer for the future generations.
As Christians, we have been cleansed by the blood of Christ, and walk in newness of life. We’ve had our lives extended eternally! But what about the lost around us? What about future generations? Will we be content with our own salvation, and give no thought, prayer, or action for the salvation of others?
What will we do with the new?
Matt Clifton Judsonia church of Christ, Judsonia, AR
Scripture of the Week
“The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; He is their stronghold in time of trouble.” — Psalm 37:39
Smile – God likes humor
POWER OF SCRIPTURE
The story has been told of a South Sea islander who proudly displayed the Bible to a G.I. during World War II. “We’ve outgrown that sort of thing,” the soldier said. The native smiled back and said, “It’s a good thing we haven’t. If it were not for this Book, you’d have been a meal by now!” – San Augustine church of Christ San Augustine, TX
Think About It
Do You Believe This?
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?’” (John 11:25-26)
When life is filled with good things and an easy life, keeping your faith poses little challenge; but when life is hard and painful, keeping of faith demands effort. We choose to believe in God and in Christ. The apostles and early evangelists proclaimed how Jesus fulfilled the Messianic prophecies and was raised from the dead. They suffered for their preaching, but they would not take back their solid testimony that Jesus was Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36).
We know the God who loves us, but we do not know what the future may bring. A fickle faith will not sustain us when the storms of life come crashing down. A fickle faith will not keep us strong and faithful to the truth, when others follow false religion. This is why we must continue to build our faith in God and in what He teaches.
If we do not believe what God says, we do not believe God. Jesus asked Martha if she believed what He promised. Martha confessed her faith, which included believing what He claimed about His coming into the world and life after death.
Because God gave us reasons to believe, we can confidently confess our faith in Christ. Because He arose from the dead, we can have confidence our sins are forgiven through His blood and we have a home with Him in eternity. ~~ Phil Sanders