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
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 — “Therefore we do not loose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Something to Smile About
When Peter was 16, he finally got his driver’s license. To celebrate the special day, the whole family went out to the driveway and climbed into the car to enjoy his first official drive. However, dad went to the back seat, where he sat right behind his son. When Peter saw his dad, he said, “Dad, you must be fed up of the front seat after teaching me how to drive all these days, right?” “Nope!” came the quick reply from the dad. “I’m going to sit back here and kick the back of your seat while you drive, just like you’ve been doing to me for the last sixteen years!”
Think About It
The Christian’s advantage
There is not a person in the world who can live totally above sin. Paul told us in Romans 3:23 that “All have sinned” and in John 1:8 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Everyone makes mistakes and falls a little short of what he would like to be!
This is why we have Jesus. When we sin and fall down He is there to help. If we could live perfect lives, there would be no need for Christ. In First John 1:7 we find these words: “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His son cleanses us from all sin.” This is a promise given only to those who walk in the light or those who are Christians.
Christians as well as non-Christians make mistakes, but the Christian has an advantage because Jesus will forgive him when he repents. The non- Christians have no one to forgive him and will continue to be without a savior until he becomes a child of God!
The unfaithful Christian is also without the benefit of Christ’s blood until he repents, and so the best thing for one to do is get right with God and stay right. You will make mistakes but as long as you are willing to genuinely repent and to really try, you will enjoy the full benefit of the Lord’s blood. – Brock Kendall Nettleton church of Christ Jonesboro, AR