Hezekiah's illness and recovery!

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Isaiah 38New Living Translation (NLT)

Hezekiah’s Sickness and Recovery

38 About that time Hezekiah became deathly ill, and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to visit him. He gave the king this message: “This is what the Lordsays: ‘Set your affairs in order, for you are going to die. You will not recover from this illness.’”
When Hezekiah heard this, he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, O Lord, how I have always been faithful to you and have served you single-mindedly, always doing what pleases you.” Then he broke down and wept bitterly.
Then this message came to Isaiah from the Lord: “Go back to Hezekiah and tell him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will add fifteen years to your life,and I will rescue you and this city from the king of Assyria. Yes, I will defend this city.
“‘And this is the sign from the Lord to prove that he will do as he promised: I will cause the sun’s shadow to move ten steps backward on the sundial[a] of Ahaz!’” So the shadow on the sundial moved backward ten steps.

A. The mercy of God to Hezekiah.

1. (1) Isaiah’s announcement to Hezekiah.

In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.’”

a. In those days: This happened at the time of the Assyrian invasion of Judah, because Jerusalem had not been delivered from the Assyrian threat yet (Isaiah 38:6). The events of this chapter are also recorded in 2 Kings 20:1-11.

i. “Interpreters agree that the events described in chapters 38 and 39 preceded the invasion of 701 B.C. . . Many date these events in 703 B.C., but the evidence more strongly suggests a date of about 712 B.C.” (Wolf)

b. Was sick and near death: We are not told how Hezekiah became sick. It may have been through something obvious to all, or it may have been through something known only to God. However Hezekiah became sick, it was certainly permitted by the LORD.

c. Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live: God was remarkably kind to Hezekiah, telling him that his death was near. Not all people are given the time to set your house in order.

i. We know from comparing 2 Kings 18:2 with 2 Kings 20:6, that Hezekiah was 39 years old when he learned he would soon die.

2. (2-3) Hezekiah’s prayer.

Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the LORD, and said, “Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

a. Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall: This shows how earnest Hezekiah was in his prayer. He directed his prayer in privacy to God, and not to any man.

b. Remember now, O LORD: To our ears, Hezekiah’s prayer might almost sound ungodly. In it, his focus is on self-justification and his own merits. It is pretty much as if Hezekiah prayed, “LORD, I’ve been such a good boy and You aren’t being fair to me. Remember what a good boy I’ve been and rescue me.”

i. But under the Old Covenant, this was a valid principle on which to approach God. Passages like Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 show that under the Old Covenant, blesssing and cursing was sent by God on the basis of obedience or disobedience. On that principle, David could write in Psalm 15: LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart. (Psalm 15:1-2)

ii. But under the New Covenant, we are blessed on the principle of faith in Jesus (Galatians 3:13-14). Hezekiah’s principle of prayer isn’t fitting for a Christian today. We pray in the name of Jesus (John 16:23-24), not in the name of who we are or what we have done.

iii. “We come across similar pleas again and again in the prayers of God’s children of old. The Psalms abound with them. But we do not find them in the New Testament. The Church bases its pleas on Christ’s righteousness.” (Bultema)

c. And Hezekiah wept bitterly: Why was Hezekiah so undone at the prospect of death? Many Christians today would say, “Take me home, LORD!” But Hezekiah lived under the Old Covenant, and at that time there was not a confident assurance of the glory in the life beyond. Instead, Jesus brought life and immortality came to light through the gospel (2 Timothy 1:10). Also, under the Old Covenant Hezekiah would have regarded this as evidence that God was very displeased with him.

3. (4-5) Isaiah brings God’s answer to Hezekiah’s prayer.

And the word of the LORD came to Isaiah, saying, “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years.”’”

a. I will add to your days fifteen years: In response to Hezekiah’s prayer, God granted Hezekiah fifteen years more.

i. Because Hezekiah recovered, was God’s word (You shall die and not live, Isaiah 38:1) proved false? No; first, Hezekiah did in fact die, just not as soon as God first announced. Second, when God announces judgment it is almost always an invitation to repent and to receive mercy.

b. I have heard your prayer: Hezekiah’s prayer was important. By all indications, if Hezekiah had not made his passionate prayer, then his life would not have been extended. Prayer matters!

i. In fact, God gave two gifts to Hezekiah. First, He gave the gift of an extended life. Second, He gave the gift of knowing he only had fifteen years left. If he were wise, this would still give King Hezekiah the motivation to walk right with God and to set his house in order.

4. (6) The promise of deliverance from the Assyrian threat.

“I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city.”

a. This promise is in accord with the LORD’s previous prophecies of deliverance, and dates this chapter as being before God destroyed the Assyrian army (Isaiah 37:36-37).

b. The connection of the two promises indicates that one would confirm the other. When Hezekiah recovered his health, he could know that God would also deliver him from the Assyrians.

5. (7-8) A sign to confirm the promise.

“And this is the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing which He has spoken: Behold, I will bring the shadow on the sundial, which has gone down with the sun on the sundial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward.” So the sun returned ten degrees on the dial by which it had gone down.

a. This is the sign . . . that the LORD will do this thing which He has spoken: God showed even more mercy to Hezekiah. God was under no obligation to give this sign. In fact, God would have been justified in saying, “Hey Hezekiah, I said it and you believe it. How dare you not take My word for true?” But in real love, God gave Hezekiah more than he needed or deserved.

i. God shows the same mercy to us. It should be enough for God to simply say to us, “I love you.” But God did so much to demonstrate His love to us (John 3:16, Romans 5:8).

b. Behold, I will bring the shadow of the sundial . . . ten degrees backward: God promised to do something completely miraculous for the confirming sign. And it happened just as God promised: So the sun returned ten degrees on the dial by which it had gone down.

i. This was a wonderfully appropriate sign for Hezekiah. By bringing the shadow of the sundial move backward, it gave more time in a day - just as God gave Hezekiah more time.

ii. How was this miracle accomplished? We simply don’t know. God could have simply “moved the sun back.” Or, He may have simply provided the miraculous appearance of it on the sundial of Ahaz. It doesn’t really matter how God did it; He has miraculous resources and ways we know nothing about.

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Sing to the Lord and thank Him

for He is awesome, powerful and merciful, swift to forgive and slow to anger. In Psalm 147 v 3 we read that 'He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.'

The Story of Psalm 147

This psalm tells us something about God’s love and his power. Here, power does not only mean that he rules everything. It also means that he is very, very strong. It is the second of the 5 *Hallelujah Psalms, 146-150. "*Hallelujah" means "*praise the *LORD". This means "tell the *LORD that he is very great". In verse 1, "*praises" are words that say how great somebody is. "*LORD" is the *covenant name for God. A *covenant is when two people (or groups of people) agree. Here, God agrees to love and give help to his people. His people agree to love and obey God. In verse 5 is another word, "*Lord". This is not the same Hebrew word as "*LORD". Hebrew is the language that the *Jews spoke. They wrote the psalms in Hebrew. "*Lord" translates a Hebrew word that means "master" or "someone with authority".
There are three parts in this psalm:
  ·   verses 1 - 6: God’s power in Israel and Babylon and in the skies above;
  ·   verses 7 - 11: God’s power on the earth with plants and animals;
  ·   verses 12 - 20: God’s power in giving his people what they need.
In the Greek Bible, (verses 1-11) make Psalm 146 and verses 12-20 Psalm 147. This Greek Bible makes Psalms 9 and 10 into one psalm. All the numbers from 10 to 146 are one less than in our Bibles. The *Jews translated their Hebrew Bible into Greek about 200 years before Jesus came to the earth.
We do not know who wrote Psalm 147. But many Bible students think that it was after the *exile. The note on verses 2 and 3 explains the *exile. The *Jews used Psalm 147 in the new *temple (house of God) in Jerusalem. Maybe Nehemiah or one of his friends wrote Psalm 147.

What Psalm 147 means

Verses 2 and 3 tell us that God is powerful among the countries of the world. God let the Babylonians beat his people that lived near Jerusalem. This happened about 600 years before Jesus came to the earth. The Babylonians destroyed the city and took the people away to Babylon. Babylon was a country east of Jerusalem. They made them live there for 70 years. They were exiles, (they lived away from their own country). This happened because God’s people did not love him nor obey him. But after 70 years, God destroyed Babylon and brought his people home. He built Jerusalem again and made his people feel happy again. Some of them had broken hearts. This is a way to say that they felt very, very sad (or depressed). Other people had injuries. 
Verse 6 tells us about poor people and *wicked people. "*Wicked" means "very, very bad". Perhaps the *psalmist meant the people of Babylon. God threw them to the ground. This means that he destroyed them. He did this when he sent the Persian army to fight the Babylonian army. But God lifted up the poor people. Perhaps they were the *Jewish people. He gave them help to go home from Babylon.
Verse 7 starts the next part of the psalm. The harp usually makes quiet music, but it can be loud.
Verse 8: In the Greek Bible, there is a bit more in this verse. At the end, it says ‘He gives plants for men to use’. Many English translations put this extra bit in.
Verse 9: A raven is a big, black bird. In this verse, God makes sure that other people, animals or birds feed themselves or their young. God does not do it himself. The *psalmist says that God really did it! This is because it is part of God’s great plan. The *psalmist is the person that wrote the psalm.
Verse 11: "In awe" means that you love somebody that you are a bit afraid of! People that are "in awe" of God obey him. Also, they *trust him, (or believe that he will do what he has promised to do).
Verses 12 - 14 start the last part of the psalm. God gives his people a city to live in, Jerusalem. Jerusalem is also called Zion. He gives them a safe country to live in. That is what safe *borders means. He gives his people good food. All this happened after the *exile. Psalm 149 in this set of psalms explains what the *exile was. Bible students think that the *psalmist wrote Psalm 147 after the *exile. It was a psalm for the new *temple. The *temple in Jerusalem was the house of God. 
Verses 15 - 18 tell us that God rules the earth as well as the people in it. "Frost" is very little bits of ice. It falls on plants and buildings in very cold weather. Hail is larger bits of ice. It falls like rain or snow. "Icy" means "very, very cold". In verse 18, the weather becomes warm again. Ice becomes water, and the water runs away. Again, God made the rules that the weather must obey. When it is cold, water changes to ice. When it gets warm, ice changes to water. 
Verses 19 - 20 end the psalm. They tell us that only the *Jewish people knew his rules and *laws. "*Laws" is another word for "rules". This is not true now, because everybody with a Bible knows God’s rules and *laws. These rules and *laws are not only about what is right and wrong. They are also about what happens in the world.
Word List
bandage ~ a piece of cloth that you put on a *wound.
border ~ edge of a country.
broken hearts ~ a way to say that someone is very, very sad.
covenant ~ two people have agreed what each should do (here, God and his people). Look in Psalm 120 about the covenant.
exile ~ away from your own country.
frost ~ cold white powder like snow.
hail ~ ice in rain.
hallelujah ~ say that the *LORD is great. (Jah is *Hebrew for *LORD.)
harp ~ a *musical instrument.
heart ~ part of the body. *Jews believed that you thought in your heart.
Hebrew ~ the language that the Jews spoke; they wrote the Psalms in Hebrew.
icy ~ very, very cold.
in awe ~ a bit afraid of someone that you love.
injury ~ a place on your body. Someone has hit you, or cut you with a knife.
Jew ~ a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.
Jewish ~ a word that describes a *Jew or anything to do with a *Jew.
laws ~ the rules in a country. In Psalm 147, God’s rules.
LORD ~ the *covenant name for God (in a *covenant you agree with someone).
musical instrument ~ something that makes music when you hit it (cymbals, drum), blow in it (flute, trumpet, horn, shofar) or touch it in a quiet way (harp, lyre). Many of these are in Psalm 150 in Book 5 of The Psalms of David.
pleasant ~ nice; what we like to do.
power ~ See The Story of Psalm 147.
praise ~ to say how great someone is; or, words that say how great someone is.
psalmist ~ the person that wrote a psalm (or psalms).
punish ~ hurt someone because they have not obeyed the rules.
raven ~ a big, black bird.
temple ~ a place where people meet to worship God.
trust ~ believe that someone (usually God in the psalms) will be kind to you.
wicked ~ very, very bad.
wound ~ mark on the body. Someone hit it or cut it.
Have a blessed evening. N.
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I am the light of the world!

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 8:12 (KJV)

John 8:12 (CJB) Yeshua spoke to them again: "I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light which gives life."

John 8:12 (NIV) When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

John 8:12 (NLT) Jesus, the Light of the World Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”


Who goes to heaven and who goes to hell?

Because sin is a deceiver, many have been misled into thinking that they can save themselves by their own good works. 
In a recent survey in three cities of America, the question was raised: Who goes to heaven and who goes to hell?

The typical answer in every city was: 
those who are good go to heaven and those who are bad go to hell.

But the Bible clearly teaches that “by observing the law [trying to be good], no one will be justified [declared righteous]” (Galatians 2:16). Paul repeats the same statement in Romans 3:20, and then adds, “Through the law we become conscious of sin.”

The Jews of Christ’s day made the tragic mistake of believing that they could be saved by keeping the law alone. For this reason, in the beginning of his ministry, Jesus invited these sincere Jews who desperately tried to work their way to heaven, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened [very discouraged], and I will give you rest” [Matthew 11:28].

Let us depend on Jesus's shared blood, the word of God and the Full help of the Holy Spirit, these are what the grace of God is all about.


1. God’s grace brings salvation to all people (2:11).

When Paul writes, “For the grace of God has appeared,” he is referring to the embodiment of grace in the person of Jesus Christ, who was “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). It is not that God’s grace is missing from the Old Testament. No one was saved in the Old Testament apart from God’s grace. But as John 1:17 states the contrast, “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” God rightly could have sent His Son to condemn us and judge us. But instead (John 3:17), “For God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

2. God’s grace trains us who are saved in godliness (2:12-14a).
The word “instructing” means, “child-training.” It includes teaching, but also, correcting and disciplining. It is a process that begins at salvation and continues until we stand before the Lord. 

But, note that grace does not mean, “hang loose and live as sloppily as you please.” Rather, grace trains, disciplines, and instructs us in godly living. 

Paul mentions three ways that grace trains us:

A. GRACE TRAINS US TO DENY UNGODLINESS AND WORLDLY DESIRES (2:12A). means, living in a self-controlled manner, not yielding to various passions and impulses.

B. GRACE TRAINS US TO LIVE SENSIBLY, RIGHTEOUSLY, AND GODLY IN THIS PRESENT AGE (2:12B). This refers to a life of integrity and uprightness in your dealings with others. It means conforming to God’s standards of conduct, as revealed in the commandments of His Word.

(3). GRACE TRAINS US TO LIVE GODLY.This refers to holiness and devotion to God, beginning on the heart level. It means to live a God-ward life, knowing that He examines your heart. You confess sinful thoughts to Him and live in the love and fear of God. As Paul expressed his concern (2 Cor. 11:3), “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”

The forward look is toward the second coming of Jesus Christ. The backward look is toward the cross and its implications on our lives.

God’s grace instructs us to look “for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.”
If your focus is set on the hope of Christ’s return, you will purify your life from every known sin (1 John 3:2-3).

“Who” refers back to “our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” None other than He “gave Himself for us”! If that thought doesn’t grip your heart, you’re in deep spiritual trouble. Paul shows that this past grace that was shown to us produces godliness in us.


Benefit cuts push people to foodbanks

The Employment minister Priti Patel told the House of Commons that she did not accept claims that the increase in sanctions had anything to do with the rise in foodbanks.
The opposition MPs suggest that the Government has cracked down too hard on the welfare system and pushed people into hunger.
The Trussell Trust says that more than 1 million food parcels were handed out in 2014, an increase of 19% on to the previous year.

        The Bishop of Truro and the Rt Revd Tim Thornton found that about of 1/3 of the referrals to foodbanks were prompted by delays and errors in benefits (News, 12/12/14). Their report recommends allowing Jobcentre Plus staff to use their discretion over whether to impose a sanction or not. 
The latest wave of cuts will slash £12 billion a year from social-security spending with tax credits for working families to be cut significantly. The Gvt is considering altering the criteria by which child poverty is judged. 
      The Archbishop of York is in favour of the Living Wage, currently set at £2.35 more per hour than the minimum wage noting that many firms that use it notice improved productivity and staff loyalty.