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Week 3 April 2024, Devotion Part 1

He said, “What have they seen in your house?”  2 Kings 20:15

King David fasted and wept before the Lord, hoping He would relent and spare the life of his innocent child, conceived in the act of adultery with Bathsheba. God stuck to His guns. What happens when He does change His mind? How are His interests served when the deathbed miraculously leads to childbed by way of a sanctified marriage bed? Illustrious King Hezekiah makes for an interesting case study. It mostly proves that God has much good reason to exercise His own will.  Still, if we prefer our own, His holy sovereignty allows for stunning reversals and rescues according to His amazing grace.

Hezekiah succeeded his vacillating father Ahaz to the throne of Judah. A God-fearing ruler, he held down God’s fort courageously during a period of history when powerful Assyria mowed down her challengers with the signature scythe of terrifying cruelty. Hezekiah pushed for vital national reforms. He took down the “high places” of Baal and centralized worship of Israel’s Covenant God in Jerusalem. The king had not yet produced an heir when he fell mortally ill. Isaiah the prophet arrived with the Lord’s instruction to set his house in order, stating firmly, “You shall not recover.”  (Part 1 of 2)

Comment: So, the Isaiah very dear to my mature Christian heart, drops in to drop a bombshell.  It reminds me of some of my AHA! moments that turned into a series of OH NO! ones decades ago.  A respected Christian author had referred me to a publishing house that was enthusiastic about my manuscript up for grabs, and with much hoopla rushed it into print.  Within months they went belly up, taking a chunk of the money I had loaned them with it, and leaving me with stacks of unsold books that I donated to YWAM.  Nearly 20 years later, a copy fell into the hands of a nationally known speaker and writer, who fell in love with it. She came to see me, saying she was eager to put my  devotional into the hands of her readers. We really connected over lunch, when I proposed to revise and update it. Cheered on by her and clearly led by the Lord, I happily threw myself into the work and when I had 3 months worth of good revised and much new content, I sent it to her.  Astoundingly, there was no response – as in zero –   neither then nor ever after that.   As I had routinely done for many years, I spent solitary days at our mountain cabin to worship and wait on the Lord, who had consistently loved and matured me in marvelous ways.  In late March 2008 I picked up a yellowed, “complete and unabridged” copy of John Bunyon’s devotional classic, THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS at the Twin Peaks thrift shop. I got no farther than his “apologia,” a defense for writing an unconventional allegorical tale.  Neither hell nor the Church of England could keep him from putting his evangelical witness in print in 1678; the book is sold worldwide to this day.  Not surprisingly, the Holy Spirit used this to rekindle my desire to persevere and 2 years after that odd rejection by deafening silence, I was ready to plunge back into the rewriting of my Songs in the Night” - with loud fireworks of pure joy.  Boom, boom!  A few short days later,  I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.  In 2013 I repeated the drill at stage 2 with surgery, chemo, and radiation.  A few years later I gave a copy of my book to the always kind Dr Beard, chief of oncology.  When I saw him for my latest 6-month checkup, he stayed to chat as if I were more friend than patient, and told me in parting, “I love reading from your book.” 

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Wow, that is a pretty big OOPS! for Hezekiah to make. In my home, no such treasure room exists, but such treasures as I have are a precious gift from God. I know who has blessed me!

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