Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | August 20, 2015

Leading us to Christ

Today’s devotion comes from 2 Kings Chapter 18.  Here is a link to this chapter – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Kings%2018&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“1 Now it came about in the third year of Hoshea, the son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah became king.  2 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem;  and his mother’s name was Abi the daughter of Zechariah.  3 He did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done.  4 He removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah.  He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it;  and it was called Nehushtan.  5 He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel;  so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among those who were before him.  6 For he clung to the Lord;  he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the Lord had commanded Moses.

And the Lord was with him;  wherever he went he prospered.  And he rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him.  8 He defeated the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city.” 2 Kings Chapter 18:  Verses 1-8.

——————————————–

Today’s Scripture above and the following Scriptures lead us to Christ.  Here is a summary. 

First of all, Hezekiah’s prosperity in today’s Scripture captured our attention and desire.  We learn that because Hezekiah clung to the LORD and kept His commandments, he prospered.

Second, we more generally read about the man who prospers in whatever he does, because he meditates on the law of the LORD day and night.

Third, we read about the warning of death and adversity if we do not keep God’s commandments.

Fourth, we realize that before us is put the simple choice between prosperity and death and adversity.  It makes absolutely no sense to choose death and adversity by not keeping God’s commandments.

Fifth, we begin to realize that as much sense as it is to choose prosperity over death and adversity, we need help to obey God.

Sixth, we receive the hope that the Lord will “circumcise” our heart and the heart of our descendants, to love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul, so that we may live.

Seventh, likewise, we receive the hope that the commandment is not too difficult for us, nor out of our reach, furthermore leading us to faith in God as compared to our own wisdom and willpower to obey God.

Eighth, we learn the purpose of the strict preaching of the commandments through the Heidelberg Catechism.

Ninth, we see in Romans 10:5-10 similar language as Deuteronomy 30:11-14 which emphasizes the righteousness that comes from faith in Christ as compared to the righteousness that comes from the law and our own ability to perform it.

Tenth, we finally arrive to Christ and the stunning summary of Who Christ is and what He has done for us.

So, now, after this summary, let us read these Scriptures.    

“2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.”  Psalm 1:2-3.

“So keep the words of this covenant to do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.”  Deuteronomy 29:9.

“You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name.  You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, for the Lord your God in the midst of you is a jealous God;  otherwise the anger of the Lord your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth.

“You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah.  You should diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and His testimonies and His statutes which He has commanded you.  You shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may be well with you and that you may go in and possess the good land which the Lord swore to give your fathers, by driving out all your enemies from before you, as the Lord has spoken.”  Deuteronomy 6:13-19.

“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity;  in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it.”  Deuteronomy 30:15-16.

“Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.  The Lord your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you.  And you shall again obey the Lord, and observe all His commandments which I command you today.  Then the Lord your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground, for the Lord will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers;  if you obey the Lord your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.

“For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach.  It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’  Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’  But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.”  Deuteronomy 30:6-14.

Q. 115.  Why will God then have the ten commandments so strictly preached, since no man in this life can keep them?

 A.  First, that all our lifetime we may learn more and more to know our sinful nature, and thus become the more earnest in seeking the remission of sin and righteousness in Christ;  likewise, that we constantly endeavor, and pray to God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, that we may become more and more conformable to the image of God, till we arrive at the perfection proposed to us in a life to come.  Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 44.

“For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness.  But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).”  But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;  for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.  For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”  Romans 10:5-10.

“For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;  and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;  having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.  When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us;  and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”  Colossians 2:9-14.

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