Friday, September 23, 2016

SEPTEMBER 22 "HOW BADLY DO YOU WANT THEIR APPROVAL"

Hezekiah has just come off a great experience and victory with God. Hezekiah was told by Isaiah that he was going to die, "to put his house in order", but yet Hezekiah turns his face against the wall and begins to cry and petition God for his life.  God speaks to Isaiah, tells him to go back to Hezekiah and tell him He has heard his prayers and will add 15 years to his life. Today, however, is a different day and a different story. A not so desperate Hezekiah. He is visited by some dignitaries from a place he would least have expected. Sometimes the people that dislike us the most are the people we want to like us the most. It's amazing to see how often people fall into this trap of wanting the popular kids at school, or the in crowd, to so desperately like them. Sometimes in order to gain favor with these unrighteous, but popular people, many of us did things we were ashamed of later or that went against our conscience. There is a tendency in every one of us (the people of God included) to want to be liked by the powerful, inflectional and popular. Hezekiah is mesmerized by these powerful men, even though they are the heathens of all heathens. These are men, from a nation that opposes everything the God of Israel is for. They are an immoral, ungodly, perverse people and nation, but they are also a powerful and well respected one too. Just like the ungodly today. The ungodly, immoral, unclean celebrates of today are not looked down upon, but rather, looked up to. Nothing has changed much! Hezekiah does not seek God this time, he is enamored by this entourage and flattered that they have come to visit him, just the lowly King of Israel and he shows them all the treasuries of God. Little does Hezekiah know, they will one day come back and attack Israel and take away all those treasuries. God confronts Hezekiah, through Isaiah, "what did these men say and where were they from?".  Isaiah is going to have Hezekiah incriminate himself here, "they are from Babylon". He gets Hezekiah to confess, that he knew where they were from and from there Isaiah begins to pronounce the judgement that will now follow. The question to ask ourselves is, when the enemies of God come around us, flattering and schmoozing with us, how do we respond. Are we so enamored by them, like the rest of the world that we just fall down and worship (so to speak) or do we not worship at their altar and not desire their approval. Many Christian celebrities and athletes that do truly have a genuine conversion experience, never make it, because they so desire the approval of the rich, mighty and powerful of this world. It is the Hezekiah effect in them and it lives in each and every one of us, if we will be honest. The difference between them perhaps, and the rest of us, is we fight it, resist it and stand our grand. Read Psalm 1, "blessed is he that does not stand in the counsel of the ungodly or sit in the seat of scoffers". When we yearn so desperately for their approval, we will constantly fall and be tripped up and if we desire it so much, we may trade in, a genuine salvation experience with God, for the approval of the ungodly and immoral and sad as that may be, it happens more often than we would like to admit.