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April 29 Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 20-22
“I have heard thy prayer.”
2 Kings 20:5
Hezekiah’s prayer did not cause God to alter his purpose. Rather, it was the very means by which God accomplished his purpose of grace for his elect. Wicked as he was, Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh, was one of God’s elect (2 Chronicles 33:12-13); but Manasseh would never have been born had Hezekiah not prayed and been spared fifteen years. And Josiah, Manasseh’s grandson, Hezekiah’s great grandson, was a direct ancestor of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:10-11).
Never was there a king in Israel or in Judah more loyal, more godly, more thoroughly consecrated to God than Josiah. He destroyed the idols his father had built. He established the worship of God alone in Judah. More importantly, it was through Josiah’s descendants that the Lord Jesus Christ came as the Messiah and held rightful title to the throne of Israel.
God never makes a mistake. Providence never makes a wrong term. God is always accomplishing his purpose of grace toward his elect. He gave Hezekiah the fifteen years he wanted (or thought he wanted), because it was his purpose to save Manasseh, Josiah, and you (child of God), and me through Hezekiah’s distant, distant Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God!
The favorites of heaven are exposed in common with all others to the humiliation of the grave. These bodies of flesh must die. These tabernacles of clay must return to the earth. But when believers drop their robe of flesh, all that lies before us is delightful! — “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord!” — “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints!” With the unbelieving, it is not so. Our dear Redeemer has turned our deathbeds into beds of peace, and hope, and anticipation. By his death, he overcame death. By his finished salvation, he delivered us who through fear of death were all our lifetime subject to bondage. He who is God our Savior, the great I AM, is the Resurrection and the Life; and believing in him we shall never die!
When we exchange by the grave the outer courts of God’s house for the inner temple of his glory, we shall see our Savior as he is. We shall awake in his likeness and be with him forever! Yes, we must and shall leave the inhabitants of the world when we drop off this earthly tabernacle. But can it be a matter of regret to exchange this world for the upper, to exchange earth for heaven, to leave the company of evil men for the company of angels and the spirits of just men made perfect, to exchange mortality for immortality? Will any blood-bought, heaven-born soul think of the everlasting bliss of perfect conformity to Christ, perfect communion with Christ, and perfect consecration to Christ with sorrow, regret, or hesitation? Let it not be so with me. Let it not be so with you.
Manasseh stands before us as a marvelous monument to mercy. Manasseh tells us that there is forgiveness with God that he may be feared. Yet, when we look at Amon his son, hardened in rebellion and unbelief, we are reminded that grace does not run in blood lines. Salvation does not come by family connections. Salvation is the gift of God’s free, sovereign, distinguishing grace in Christ. We have been born again, “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” — “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” — “Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.”
When he was but a child, Josiah sought the Lord. When he was just sixteen years old, “while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father.” The young king walked with God. When he was just twenty years old, he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of idolatry. O God of all grace, give our nations such rulers again! Give your church and kingdom in this world such rulers, such faithful pastors again!
Blessed Lord Jesus, make me such a man as this young man Josiah was! Make my heart tender before you; graciously compel me to humble myself before you, and bow down my heart in the dust before you in the acknowledgement and confession of my sin. Grant that your precious blood and perfect righteousness may be my constant and everlasting hiding place. — “Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress!”