HEY SIBLINGS! Gather around the Word with me!
Today’s readings are 2 Kings 18-19
FINALLY! Today we see a righteous king rise up and do what is wholly right in the eyes of YHWH!
Before we dive into that, I want to take a moment and put a little thought in your mind for you to ruminate over:
Think of how much we’ve learned about the Father in just the past few months of reading:
- Our history as believers
- The patterns of our YHWH
- What pleases Him and displeases Him
- His decrees
- His character
Where did we learn this?
In the most neglected part of the Bible.
Just something to stick in your back pocket.
Now, let us joyfully read a wonderful passage together:
In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah, king of Israel, Hezekiah the son of Ahaz, king of Judah, began to reign. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi the daughter of Zechariah. 3 And he did what was right in the eyes of YHWH, according to all that David his father had done. 4 He removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan). 5 He trusted in YHWH, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him. 6 For he held fast to YHWH. He did not depart from following him, but kept the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses. 7 And the Lord was with him; wherever he went out, he prospered. 2 Kings 18:1-7
WOOHOO! I feel like we should all take a moment to stand up and clap after reading that!
Other things to notice in our reading today:
While Hezekiah attended to spiritual duties first and foremost, he also quickly got to work making sure his kingdom was ready for the inevitable war that was coming- he prepared spiritually and physically.
2 Kings 16:7-9 shows us that Hezekia’s father, Achaz, essentially made a deal with the King of Assyria which allowed him (Assyria) control over Judah in exchange for allowing Achaz to retain his title.
2 Kings 18:7 When Hezekiah came onto the scene, he let the king of Assyria know right skippy like that he was not that type of king, no more tribute would be paid, and he (Hezekiah) had every intention of ruling his own kingdom. This went over with Assyria about as well as you’d expect.
2 Kings 18:12 Shema is used twice in this verse with regards to God’s people. Remember, when we are called to Shema, to Hear and Do or Hear and Obey (same meaning). So this verse could also be translated as “Because they did not shema the voice of YHWH their God but transgressed His covenant, even all that Moses the servant of YHWH commanded, they did not Shema.” We can hear YHWH’s word and know YHWH’s word all day long, but doing YHWH’s word is another story entirely.
To paraphrase James, even the demons know YHWH’s word but those who hear it and don’t do it are living out a dead faith.
2 Kings 18:13 makes a LOT more sense if you read what Hezekiah was doing behind the scenes, which can be found in 2 Chronicles 32. You’ll see that part of what we see happening in 2 Kings is actually buying time while they prepared. I strongly encourage you to read 2 Chronicles 32.
2Kings 18:25 Moreover, is it without YHWH that I have come up against this place to destroy it? YHWH said to me, “Go up against this land and destroy it.”’
Oh man. I would not want to be that commander after what he just said. Did he actually just claim that YHWH, using his personal name even (so there is no room for doubt), had sent him and spoke to him and that he was following His orders?
This is so bad. He just misused the personal name of the Father and credited his own actions and evil to YHWH. It is at this point that I would make sure I wasn’t anywhere near him….
This reminds me of that moment in Numbers 16 when Korah came and said to Moses essentially, “what makes you so special? Every one of us is at least your equal and holy in our own right” and Moses immediately knew the gravity of the sin they had committed in saying and thinking that and fell flat on his face before YHWH.
What if some of the Israelites had of believed him though? What if this took place today, if someone came and said that they had been sent by YHWH to destroy and remove God’s people from Israel?
How would we know if they were truly sent of YHWH or not?
Well, there is this handy dandy book that gives us a way to test such things.
First of all, Israel is a special case, a special people, and a special land. The Father tells us that. He has made His plans and intention clear and anything that speaks or goes against those plans is not of Him.
But what of other instances of people claiming to speak for Him or have a message from Him or come in His name?
There are many passages throughout the Bible that are of help in discerning such things but I’m going to focus on a few today.
Let’s see what YHWH and Messiah have to say about how to test if something is of YHWH and then let’s see how Paul views Believers who keep a skeptical eye on anyone who claims to be a prophet:
The first verse I want to reference is well known and generally referred to as “The Deuteronomy 13 test”.
“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. Deut 13:1-4 13
This is both a warning and a test. First it lets us know that people will come and perform miraculous signs that seem to be of God or at least rival what He could do. This is the warning part.
Secondly, a test. If these people then try to lead you away from following YHWH, contradict His word, or try to get you to serve other gods (beware that other gods can be disguised as many things we would not think of as gods), this is a test to see if you will remain faithful to YHWH.
Next is another great test from Deuteronomy.
When a prophet speaks in the name of YHWH, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that YHWH has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him. Deut 18:22
A VERY important principle can be found here which will rule out 100% of all prophets not sent by God, and therefore every self proclaimed “prophet” I’ve personally ever heard in our time.
A Prophet who is truly speaking in the name of the Lord will have a 100% batting average. They will never be wrong. If a “prophet” says something will come to pass and it does not, they are not of YHWH. Plain and simple.
Now let’s move on Messiah Himself, (the Word in living flesh, see John 1:1)and see what His test is:
So then, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do likewise will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever practices and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:19
Anyone who breaks the Father’s commandments – and this is key here, and teaches others to do likewise — Notice this isn’t saying you have to be perfect. We can do all within our own power to be obedient and still falter, but if someone breaks one of YHWH’s commandments AND teach others that it is okay to do so as well, that person is not representing YHWH.
And now lets see how a person of YHWH will respond to someone fact checking them with Scripture:
11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11
How would a person of YHWH respond to someone searching Scripture to see if what they say is true?
Paul describes those people as noble!
No one who is of YHWH will ever discourage searching Scripture.
This applies to churches, denominations, pastors, teachers, friends, “prophets” etc. If anyone ever discourages you from searching Scripture, that person is not representing YHWH.
They may think they are, and they may have been or may be at some point in their lives, but at that moment, according to God’s word, they are not representing Him.
I want to end this day’s notes with a reminder: Anytime someone gives you a verse, take a chapter. I include myself in this! And anytime you hear someone quoting a verse that seems out of line with the patterns of YHWH and the commandments that you know to be from YHWH, go to that verse and read the ones before and after it, so that you can put it back into context and see the original intent. Verses, pulled out of context, can be easily twisted. And now we understand that YHWH didn’t give us Bibles so that someone else could read them for us.
Our reading today ends with the Father singlehandedly striking down 185,000 Assyrians for their treachery. The world can rage all it wants but we can hold tight to our inheritance of shalom. When we follow Him, He fights for us.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!