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Hezekiah’s Sickness

In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.” 2Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord3“Remember now, O Lord, I implore you, how I have walked before you in faithfulness with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4Before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: 5“Turn back, and say to Hezekiah prince of my people, Thus says the Lord, the God of your ancestor David: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; indeed, I will heal you; on the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord6I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David’s sake.” 7Then Isaiah said, “Bring a lump of figs. Let them take it and apply it to the boil, so that he may recover.” 8Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What shall be the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the Lord on the third day?” 9Isaiah said, “This is the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing that he has promised: the shadow has now advanced ten intervals; shall it retreat ten intervals?” 10Hezekiah answered, “It is normal for the shadow to lengthen ten intervals; rather let the shadow retreat ten intervals.” 11The prophet Isaiah cried to the Lord; and he brought the shadow back the ten intervals, by which the sun had declined on the dial of Ahaz. (2 Kings 20:1-11, NRSV)

Would you like to know when you are going to die?

Hezekiah was told to get his affairs in order for he was going to die. But then he prayed to the Lord and the Lord heard him and lengthened his days 15 more years.

Can we pray to the Lord and ask for more time? Will we get it? God changes God’s mind, but only when it still works in God’s plan.

We can not say that we are not good enough for God to give us more, or that we are not worthy, only God can determine that and if it is in the plan. So know that God hears you and loves you and is looking out for you.

Are you following after God?

 

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Naaman Healed of Leprosy

Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. 2Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3She said to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” 4So Naaman went in and told his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had said. 5And the king of Aram said, “Go then, and I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.” He went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten sets of garments. 6He brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you my servant Naaman, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” 7When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.” 8But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha’s house. 10Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.” 11But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, “I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! 12Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?” He turned and went away in a rage. 13But his servants approached and said to him, “Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean. (2 Kings 5:1-14, NRSV)

This is a great passage because people get angry because of assumptions.

The king of Israel is mad because he thinks the king of Aram is picking a fight with him because he heard there was a prophet of God in Israel that could heal his general. And then Naama is mad because what he is told to do is too easy and why wouldn’t the prophet come out for me, doesn’t he know who I am?

And yet Elisha told Naaman what to do and Naaman’s servant tells him if it were something hard you would have done it without question, so why not do this? So he did and he is cured.

How often do we make things worse than they should be by assuming or not wanting to do what is simple?

 

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The Kingdom Divided

Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. 2When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of it (for he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), then Jeroboam returned from Egypt. 3And they sent and called him; and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and said to Rehoboam, 4“Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke that he placed on us, and we will serve you.” 5He said to them, “Go away for three days, then come again to me.” So the people went away. 6Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the older men who had attended his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?” 7They answered him, “If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to them when you answer them, then they will be your servants forever.” 8But he disregarded the advice that the older men gave him, and consulted with the young men who had grown up with him and now attended him. 9He said to them, “What do you advise that we answer this people who have said to me, ‘Lighten the yoke that your father put on us’?” 10The young men who had grown up with him said to him, “Thus you should say to this people who spoke to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you must lighten it for us’; thus you should say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins. 11Now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.’” 12So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had said, “Come to me again the third day.” 13The king answered the people harshly. He disregarded the advice that the older men had given him 14and spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.” 15So the king did not listen to the people, because it was a turn of affairs brought about by the Lord that he might fulfill his word, which the Lord had spoken by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam son of Nebat. 16When all Israel saw that the king would not listen to them, the people answered the king, “What share do we have in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel! Look now to your own house, O David.” So Israel went away to their tents. 17But Rehoboam reigned over the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah. 25Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and resided there; he went out from there and built Penuel. 26Then Jeroboam said to himself, “Now the kingdom may well revert to the house of David. 27If this people continues to go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, the heart of this people will turn again to their master, King Rehoboam of Judah; they will kill me and return to King Rehoboam of Judah.” 28So the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold. He said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Here are your gods, Oisrael, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” 29He set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. (1 Kings 12:1-17, 25-29, NRSV)

Who do we listen to for counsel? Who helps us understand what we need to do?

Is it better to lighten or tighten?

Today is the celebration of the Reformation, and in reforming the church who do we listen to? Those who want it to be the way it always was or those that want everything to change?

Is one better than the other? Does God work in and through all people, so all people should be listened to and heard in their needs and how things should happen. And just because everyone gets a say doesn’t mean that their idea is the best thing for the people or the world.

The kingdom is divided because people are not listening to each other or to what God is calling them to. In and through all of this, God is still faithful to us, but we divide ourselves because we will not hear or work with each other.

If we want to truly reform the church we should start by stop thinking our ways are always right and listen to those around us.

Hear what others are saying and allow communication to happen. And from there decide what is best for the people.

 
 

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Moses and the Burning Bush

Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” 4When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. 7Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, 8and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. 10So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” 11But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 12He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.” 13But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’“ 15God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’: This is my name forever, and this my title for all generations. (Exodus 3:1-15, NRSV)

I AM has sent me.

How many of us would be that bold to go somewhere where we know we would not be welcomed and say I am here because I AM sent me? Or maybe better yet, I am here because God sent me?

God does sen us places, and God does call us today. If we would only listen for the call, we would hear it.

But if we heard it would we go?

Moses was sent back to Egypt where he had run from because he killed an Egyptian soldier. He had done something very bad and was probably fearing for his life. But God said he needed to go. And he went.

How many of us would have?

What would you have done?

 

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First Service

“The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists of listening to them. Just as love of God begins with listening to his word, so the beginning of love for our brothers and sisters is learning to listen to them”-Dietrich Bonhoeffer-Life together

How many of us listen to each other?  Really listen.  We might hear what someone else is saying to us, but do we hear them, or do we think we know what they said?

Most of us will hear 3 – 4 words of someone speaking to us and then start formulating what we are going to say.  We will hear where a sentence starts and then begin working on our come back, what we will respond with. In doing this, you are no longer listening, but are paying attention to yourself.  This is one of the first things I work on with couples that I am working through premarital counseling with.  Communication is the basis for every relationship, and if you are not communicating there is no basis for that relationship. This is why we pray, to communicate with God.  Part of this should be silence to listen for what God has to say to us.  We need to listen not only to get to know the other person, but we need to listen, because that is what we have to do in order to communicate.  In order to know how we need to respond we have to listen, and hear what is said to us. Then and only then can we respond with a response that is one that will build the relationship. It may not always be what the other person wants to hear, but it will build the relationship if it is spoken in truth and love after listening and hearing what was said. If we listen and hear, then we will get to know more about the person and grow deeper in relation to them.

That is what Bonhoeffer tells us in the quote above.  We owe it to others to listen to them. We need to hear them and to love them by being quiet and not formulating a response while they are talking.  To hear them as we hear His word.

So the next time you are listening, listen and hear. Grow in relation to others.

 

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The God of Your Father

Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” 4When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. (Exodus 3:1-6, NRSV)

What would you do if you saw a Bush burning but it wasn’t being consumed?

And then as you got closer to it you heard a voice calling your name from it?

I would probably run away screaming and not continue closer and take my shoes off. I would be scared.

But Moses approaches and listens to God’s calling.

But we are all actually called to the Bush. To remove our shoes and to walk on the holy ground that God has placed before us.

Sometimes God has to go to the extreme to get our attention and make sure we are listening.

Are you ready to walk on holy ground and listen to God?

 

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Solomon’s Great Wisdom

God gave Solomon very great wisdom, discernment, and breadth of understanding as vast as the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east, and all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than anyone else, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, children of Mahol; his fame spread throughout all the surrounding nations. He composed three thousand proverbs, and his songs numbered a thousand and five. He would speak of trees, from the cedar that is in the Lebanon to the hyssop that grows in the wall; he would speak of animals, and birds, and reptiles, and fish. People came from all the nations to hear the wisdom of Solomon; they came from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom. (1 Kings 4:29-34, NRSV)

Have you ever known someone so wise that you went to hear them? You just loved to listen to the talk?

I had a few seminary professors like this. I would seek them out for wisdom and still do today.

God-given wisdom is a gift we should all seek out and listen to in our lives.

 

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