2 Kings 18:13–19:37, Ephesians 2:1–3:21, Proverbs 8:19–26

Today's Reading

November 27: When Hezekiah Gave Away the Farm

Today's Devotional Reading


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2 Kings 18:13–19:37

LEB

Sennacherib of Assyria Invades Judah

13 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all of the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 14 So Hezekiah king of Judah sent word to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong. Withdraw from me. What you impose on me I will bear.” So the king of Assyria imposed on Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15 Then Hezekiah gave all of the silver found in the temple of Yahweh and in the storerooms of the house of the king. 16 At that time, Hezekiah cut off the doors of the temple of Yahweh and the doorposts which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and he gave them to the king of Assyria. 17 So the king of Assyria sent the commander in chief, the chief eunuch, and the chief advisor from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem with a heavy army. They went up and came to Jerusalem, then they went up and came and stood at the aqueduct of the upper pool which is on the main road of the washer’s field. 18 Then they called to the king, so Eliakim the son of Hilkiah who was over the palace, Shebna the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, came out to them.

Assyrians Advise against Trust in Yahweh

19 Then the chief advisor said to them, “Please say to Hezekiah: ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: “What is this confidence that you trust? 20 You think only a word of lips, ‘I have advice and power for the war.’ Now, on whom do you trust that you have rebelled against me? 21 Now, look! You rely on the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt, which when a man leans on it, it goes into his hand and pierces it! So is Pharaoh the king of Egypt for all who are trusting on him! 22 But if you say to me, ‘On Yahweh our God we trust,’ is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah removed, and he had said to Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘In the presence of this altar you shall bow down only in Jerusalem?’ 23 So then, please make a wager with my lord, with the king of Assyria, and I will give to you a thousand horses if you are able on your part to put riders on them. 24 How can you repulse a single captain among the least of the servants of my master ? Yet you rely for yourself on Egypt for chariots and horsemen! 25 Have I now come up against this place without Yahweh to destroy it? Yahweh has said to me, ‘Go up against this land and destroy it!’ ” ’ ”

26 Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah and Shebna and Joah said to the chief commander, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we are understanding, but you must not speak Judean with us in the ears of the people who are on the wall.” 27 The chief commander said to them, “Is it solely to your master and to you my master has sent me to speak these words? Is it not for the men who sit on the wall to eat their feces and to drink their urine with you?”

28 Then the chief commander stood and called with a great voice in Judean, and he spoke and said, “Hear the word of the king, the great king of Assyria! 29 Thus says the king, ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to rescue you from my hand. 30 Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in Yahweh, saying, “Certainly Yahweh will rescue us, and this city shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria!” ’ 31 Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria, ‘Make with me a treaty of peace and come out to me that each may eat from his vine and each from his fig tree, and each may drink water from his cistern! 32 Until I come and take you to a land like your land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees, olive oil, and honey, that you may live and not die! You must not listen to Hezekiah, for he has misled you by saying, “Yahweh will deliver us!” 33 Did the gods of each of the nations ever rescue the land from the hand of the king of Assyria? 34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? For did they rescue Samaria from my hand? 35 Who among all of the gods of the countries have rescued their countries from my hand that Yahweh should rescue Jerusalem from my hand?’ ”

36 The people were silent, and they did not answer him a word, for the command of that king was saying, “You shall not answer him.” 37 Eliakim the son of Hilkiah who was over the palace, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder came to Hezekiah with torn clothes, and they told him the words of the chief commander.

Isaiah Sends Encouragement to Hezekiah

19 It happened that when King Hezekiah heard, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went to the temple of Yahweh. He sent Eliakim who was over the palace, Shebna the secretary, the elders, and the priests, all clothed in sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz. They said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah, ‘A day of distress, rebuke, and disgrace is this day, for the children are about to be born , but there is no strength to bear them. Perhaps Yahweh your God will hear all of the words of the chief commander whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to insult the living God, and he will rebuke the words that Yahweh your God has heard. Therefore lift up a prayer for the remainder who are left.’ ” So the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, and Isaiah said to them, “Thus you must say to your master, ‘Thus says Yahweh, “You must not be afraid because the face of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. Look, I am putting in him a spirit. He will hear a rumor and return to his land. Then I will cause him to fall by the sword in his land.” ’ ”

The Assyrians Defy God

When the chief commander returned, he found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah, for he had heard that he had departed from Lachish. He heard about Tirhakah, the king of Cush, saying, “Look, he has set out to fight with you,” so he again sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, 10 “Thus you shall say to Hezekiah the king of Judah, ‘Let not your God whom you are trusting deceive you, by his saying, “Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria!” 11 Look, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the lands, by utterly destroying them, and shall you be delivered? 12 Did the gods of the nations that my predecessors destroyed deliver them? Not Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, nor the children of Eden who were in Tel Assar. 13 Where are the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?’ ”

Hezekiah Prays to Yahweh

14 Hezekiah took the letters from the hand of the messengers and read them. Then he went up to the temple of Yahweh, and Hezekiah spread them out before the presence of Yahweh. 15 Then Hezekiah prayed before the face of Yahweh and said, “O Yahweh, God of Israel who lives above the cherubim. You are God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the world; you have made the heavens and the earth. 16 Incline your ears and hear; open, O Yahweh, your eyes and see and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to insult the living God. 17 Truly, O Yahweh, the kings of Assyria have utterly destroyed the nations and their land. 18 He has hurled their gods in the fire because they are not gods, but the work of the hands of a human made of wood and stone, so they destroyed them. 19 So then, O Yahweh our God, rescue us, please, from his hand, that all of the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Yahweh, you alone are God!”

Isaiah Brings a Prophetic Response

20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus says Yahweh the God of Israel, ‘What you have prayed to me about Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard. 21 This is the word that Yahweh has spoken concerning him:

She despises you, she scorns you,

the virgin daughter of Zion.

Behind you the daughter of Jerusalem

shakes her head.

22 Whom have you mocked and reviled?

And against whom have you have raised your voice

and have haughtily lifted your eyes?

Against the Holy One of Israel!

23 By the hand of your messengers you have mocked the Lord,

and you have said,

‘With my many chariots I have gone up

to the height of the mountains.

To the remote areas of Lebanon,

I have felled the tallest of its cedars,

the choicest of its cypresses.

I have entered the place of overnight lodging.

Even to the edge of forest of its fertile land.

24 I dug wells and I drank foreign water,

and I dried up with the sole of my steps

all the canals of Egypt.’

25 Have you not heard?

From long ago I have determined it,

from the days of old I have planned it,

and now I am bringing it to pass.

It shall be turned into a pile of rocks;

fortified cities are ruined.

26 Their inhabitants, short of hand, shall be dismayed;

and they shall be ashamed.

They have become green plants of the open field,

and tender grass,

green grass of the roof

and blight before the standing grain.

27 Your sitting, your going out, and your coming in I know,

and your raging against me.

28 Because you are raging against me,

and your arrogance has come up in my ears,

I will put my nose ring in your nose

and my bridle in your mouth.

And I will turn you back

on the way that you have come.

29 “ ‘This will be the sign for you: Eat the volunteer plants for the year, and in the second year, the volunteer plants that spring up from that. But in the third year, sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 30 The remainder of the house of Judah that survives will again take root below and bear fruit above. 31 For from Jerusalem a remnant shall go out and survivors from Mount Zion; the zeal of Yahweh will do this.

32 “ ‘Therefore thus says Yahweh to the king of Assyria, “He shall not come to this city, nor shall he shoot an arrow there, ...


Ephesians 2:1–3:21

LEB

Made Alive in Christ

2 And you, although you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all formerly lived in the desires of our flesh, doing the will of the flesh and of the mind, and we were children of wrath by nature, as also the rest of them were.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, and we being dead in trespasses, he made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved), and raised us together and seated us together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, in order that he might show in the coming ages the surpassing riches of his grace in kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are his creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, so that we may walk in them.

Jewish and Gentile Believers United in Christ

11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, the so-called uncircumcision by the so-called circumcision in the flesh, made by hands, 12 that you were at that time apart from Christ, alienated from the citizenship of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, not having hope, and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you, the ones who once were far away, have become near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of the partition, the enmity, in his flesh, 15 invalidating the law of commandments in ordinances, in order that he might create the two in himself into one new man, thus making peace, 16 and might reconcile both in one body to God through the cross, killing the enmity in himself.17 And coming, he proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to the ones who were near, 18 because through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 Consequently, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens of the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,21 in whom the whole building, joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are built up together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

The Mystery of Christ Revealed

3 On account of this I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles —if indeed you have heard about the stewardship of God’s grace given to me for you. According to revelation the mystery was made known to me, just as I wrote beforehand in brief, so that you may be able when you read to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ (which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit): that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, and fellow members of the body, and fellow sharers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, of which I became a servant, according to the gift of God’s grace given to me, according to the working of his power.

To me, the least of all the saints, was given this grace: to proclaim the good news of the fathomless riches of Christ to the Gentiles, and to enlighten everyone as to what is the administration of the mystery hidden from the ages by God, who created all things, 10 in order that the many-sided wisdom of God might be made known now to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places through the church, 11 according to the purpose of the ages which he carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access in confidence through faith in him.13 Therefore I ask you not to be discouraged at my afflictions on behalf of you, which are your glory.

Prayer for Spiritual Strength

14 On account of this, I bend my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that he may grant you according to the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith (you having been firmly rooted and established in love), 18 in order that you may be strong enough to grasp together with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, in order that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

20 Now to the one who is able to do beyond all measure more than all that we ask or think, according to the power that is at work in us, 21 to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.


Proverbs 8:19–26

LEB

19 My fruit is better than gold, even refined gold,

and my yield than choice silver.

20 In the way of righteousness I walk,

in the midst of paths of justice,

21 in order to endow those who love me with wealth,

and I will fill their treasuries.

Wisdom at Creation

22 “Yahweh created me, the first of his ways,

before his acts of old .

23 From eternity, I was set up from the first,

from the beginning of the earth.

24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth,

when there were no springs of abounding water.

25 Before mountains had been shaped,

before hills, I was brought forth.

26 When he had not yet made earth and fields,

or the first dust of the world,


November 27: When Hezekiah Gave Away the Farm

Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional


After the announcement that Hezekiah “did right in the eyes of Yahweh,” the next description comes as a surprise: “At that time, Hezekiah cut off the doors of the temple of Yahweh and the doorposts which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and he gave them to the king of Assyria” (2 Kgs 18:3, 16).

For a moment Hezekiah was a strong king over Israel—he abolished idolatry and refused to obey the king of Assyria (2 Kgs 18:4, 7). As 2 Kings 18:6 describes, “He held on to Yahweh; he did not depart from following him, and he kept his commands that Yahweh had commanded Moses.” But Hezekiah did not possess fortitude (see 2 Kgs 18:13–18). In an attempt to gain peace, he gave away not only treasures, but even pieces of Yahweh’s temple itself (2 Kgs 18:15–16).

We’ve all been in situations where it’s tempting to do anything for peace. Perhaps we’ve even compromised our ethics or values in these moments. But no matter the situation, giving away the farm like Hezekiah did is never the answer. Politicians often talk about “peace at all costs,” but our world is full of dilemmas that don’t allow for that option.

When desperate situations arise, we must have fortitude. We must seek solace in God and His will instead of giving in. If we make a decision based on the circumstances, it will be the wrong one. If we make our decisions based on prayer, we will make the correct moves.

Hezekiah could have relied on God when Sennacherib came knocking on his door and knocking down the cities of Judah, but he didn’t. He paid a high price for his decision; the cost was his relationship with Yahweh. Even death is preferable to that.

Sometimes our decisions are more important than we realize because they may involve our relationship with God. We must let that relationship drive our decision-making. Rather than being distracted by fear, anxiety, pressure, or even concern for anyone else, we must focus on God and His will; He alone will look out for us and others. We must give Him the opportunity to act.

What decisions do you need God’s intercession for?


John D. Barry is the publisher for Logos Bible Software, editor-in-chief of Bible Study Magazine, general editor of Faithlife Study Bible, and editor of Lexham Bible Dictionary. He is the author of The Resurrected Servant in Isaiah and the coauthor of Mary: Devoted to God's Plan.


Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional

Author: John D. Barry & Rebecca Van Noord

Publisher: Lexham Press

Publication Date: 2012

This 365-day devotional walks you through the Bible in a year, following a custom reading plan that delves into the stories of the Bible from five unique perspectives.


Ephesians 2:10

Verse of the Day bible.faithlife.com