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Psalms 150:6
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Amen. This is a great Psalm indeed.

As we celebrate our country's freedom this fourth of July let us all give thanks for this freedom. Give thanks to all those who have fought to maintain our freedom and way of living. I praise God for our rights and religious freedom, so that we can publically worship and keep spreading the word and love of Jesus Christ to others.

HAPPY 4th of July to all
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For me, this is the most incredible statement given what had happened beforehand in Hezekiah's attitude to his wealth:

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16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, "Hear the word of the LORD : 17 The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the LORD. 18 And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood, that will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon."

19 "The word of the LORD you have spoken is good," Hezekiah replied. For he thought, "Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?"

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I was just surprised by his response, expecting him to be shocked, and upset at God's judgement, yet instead he turns round and incredibly sees that God is being merciful and he can view it in a positive manner. I wonder how many of us could do that if God determined to remove our wealth - I'm on benefit only income so am living on lean once more but have learnt to be content regardless, as God has always provided for me throughout my years of plenty or lean, in as long as I have been faithful in tithing and providing him his due in gratitude.

Romayne,

I too was shocked by Hezekiah's response. It seemed selfish - 'it's all good as long as peace and security in my lifetime is secured'.

[Aside: Reminds me of politicians today who never seem to act with vision of the future, but only react to what is going on today.]

Hezekiah prayed to God for Jerusalem when under attack, and he went to God about his illness and impending death. Yet, Hezekiah did not drop to his knees and pray right then and there to God asking how to avert such a "coming" disaster. No repentance, no praying, no concern for the nation - instead - 'my lifetime and legacy will be secure - cool!'.

The signs of this selfish nature seem to be indicated in the reading:

- Hezekiah needed a "sign"? Why? Was Isaiah not a prophet of the "Lord". Had the true prophets of the Lord not proven themselves over time? Was God's Word not good enough for Hezekiah?

- I found in 2Kings20 seven uses of personal pronouns in vs 13 and 15 - "his, my, I". Hezekiah had a chance to testify to the glory of God, and instead chose to show them "his" possessions.
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Babylon - King's son

Berodach-Baladan: His presence shows that this was more than a courtesy call. This was an attempt to bring the kingdom of Judah on to the side of the Babylonians against the Assyrians.

i. “According to Josephus (Ant. X.2.2.) the purpose of the visit was to secure Hezekiah as an ally against an anti-Assyrian coalition.” (Wiseman)

ii. “The real reason of the visit was political; Babylon desired to throw off the yoke of Assyria. What nation was more likely to help them than the one at the hands of which Assyria had been so completely defeated? Babylon sought alliance with Judah against Assyria.” (Morgan)

And Hezekiah was pleased with them: We can imagine that this was flattering for King Hezekiah. After all, Judah was a lowly nation with little power, and Babylon was a junior superpower. To receive this notice and recognition from the king of Babylon must have really made Hezekiah feel he was important.

“It was not spiritual pride, as with his great-grandfather Uzziah; but worldly pride – ‘the pride of life,’ we might say. It was his precious things, his armor, his treasures, his house, his dominion, etc., that he showed the ambassadors from Babylon.” (Knapp)

Missing opportunity, in that he had a great opportunity to testify to the Babylonian envoys about the greatness of God and the Lord’s blessing on Judah. Instead, he glorified himself.

“Why did he not show these learned heathen God’s house? ‘Every whit’ of which showeth ‘His glory’ (Psalm 29:9, margin). There he could have explained to them the meaning of the brazen altar, and the sacrifices offered thereon; and who can tell what the results might not have been in the souls of these idolaters?” (Knapp)

They have seen all that is in my house: There is the flavor that Hezekiah was proud to tell Isaiah this. He was like a small-town boy who was awed by the attention of a big-city man. “Isaiah, you should have seen how impressed those Babylonians were by all I have. They really know we are something here in Judah!” Hezekiah’s pride and inflated ego seemed to make him blind.
http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/1220.htm
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It seems to me that while Hezekiah was the "best of the best" since David - he was still a king that started out great and ended with a "whimper"

David, Solomon, Hezekiah are all just examples that none of us are good enough on our own. No matter all the good things we do, our lives are ultimately not comprable to God's holiness.

Ultimately (no matter how good we are) we (spiritually) hang ourselves with the rope (free will) we are given.

That is why we needed a Savior, a Redeemer to help bridge the gap between mankind and God.


Acts 21:29

(They had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with Paul and assumed that Paul had brought him into the temple area.) NIV

This would be highly unlikely:

It was absolutely prohibited for Gentiles to go beyond the designated “Court of the Gentiles” in the temple grounds. Signs were posted which read (in both Greek and Latin): “No foreigner may enter within the barricade which surrounds the temple and enclosure. Any one who is caught trespassing will bear personal responsibility for his ensuing death.” The Romans were so sensitive to this that they authorized the Jews to execute anyone that offended in this way, even if the offender was a Roman citizen. - David Guzik

The reason the Roman guards heard and responded so quickly was the adjacent nature of their garrison to the Temple.

From the Tower of Antonia, at the northwest corner of the temple mount, more than 500 Roman soldiers were stationed only two flights of stairs from the court of the Gentiles. - ibid.

2Kings19

God’s word to the King of Assyria and his representatives (parts that struck me)

Who is it you have insulted and blasphemed?
Against whom have you raised your voice
and lifted your eyes in pride?
Against the Holy One of Israel! - NIV

This really hit me, and should be asked to every person that blasphemes, mocks, jokes, and denigrates God.

Of course, the problem for most is they do not know the answer to the first question.

'Have you not heard?
Long ago I ordained it.
In days of old I planned it;
now I have brought it to pass,...NIV

As good a picture of the soverign God as there is...

'But I know where you stay
and when you come and go
and how you rage against me.

Because you rage against me
and your insolence has reached my ears,
I will put my hook in your nose
and my bit in your mouth,
and I will make you return
by the way you came.' NIV

There wasn't and there will not be any escape (no place to hide) when God's judgment comes.

This was an especially dramatic statement, because this is exactly how the Assryians cruelly marched those whom they forced to relocate out of their conquered lands. They lined up the captives, and drove a large fishhook through the lip or the nose of each captive, strung them all together and marched them. God said, “I’m going to do the same thing to you.” - David Guzik

i. “The Assyrian practice of leading foreign princes captive with a ring or hook in the nose is depicted on Esarhaddon’s stela at Zenjirli showing him holding Tirhakah of Egypt and Ba’alu of Tyre.” (Wiseman)

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