Daily D – 2 Kings 20:2-3 | Isaiah 65:24
2 Kings 20:2, 3 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
Isaiah 65:24 “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”
Do you give God a reason to answer your prayers? Do you ask for what will honor God and serve others?
King Hezekiah was sick to the point of death. Isaiah delivered the bad news:
2 Kings 20:1
This is not the kind of message a person hopes for who says, “I wish I could hear directly from God.” Having heard this message, “Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, . . . And Hezekiah wept bitterly.”
Before Isaiah could leave the palace complex, God sent him back to Hezekiah with an answer to his prayer, a remedy for his disease, and a promise of peace and protection. (See verses 4-6.) God even gave Hezekiah a sign as a down payment (verses 9-11).
God gave Hezekiah fifteen extra years of life. If you know the story, you know what happened next and what happened later as a result of that. Hezekiah behaved unwisely and then callously received the consequences since they would be carried out during the time of his descendants. Here is how Isaiah records Hezekiah’s thinking:
For he thought, “Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?”
If God told you today, “You have fifteen years of life left,” how would you respond? How would you maximize this gift of knowledge? If you are thirty years old, fifteen years does not sound all that exciting. It sounds better if you are seventy. The older you are, the more positive it is.
What God-honoring, others-serving goals could you set if you knew you had a hard and fast fifteen years of life left?
The truth is, we cannot plan strategically that far into the future. To do so would be to make assumptions that would certainly prove false. Here is an easy example: What will your iPhone do fifteen years from now? Here’s a better question: What will take the place of the iPhone?
Since fifteen years is too far of a mind stretch for us, what about ten? Still too far for precision, isn’t it? Think back ten or fifteen years from today. Could you have predicted with great accuracy where you live, what you do, and who you have become?
What if you were to break down a year into four seasons like God did? What if you had one major goal in each season? What if you had four supporting activities during that season to help you accomplish that goal? What if you did this season after season for the next fifteen years? That is sixty seasons of success.
Even if you do not accomplish every goal, even if you do not succeed in everything you attempt, you will most certainly make progress. Isn’t that a win?
A new month began yesterday. It is the second month of the third quarter of the year. What if you made a trial run out of this seasonal success idea and came up with a goal to accomplish by September 30?
What if you came up with something you could do daily to move you toward that goal? Add to this something you could do weekly. Add to this something you could do once this month and once in September? What one other thing could help you stay focused on your big goal?
The best way to live fifteen years is to take it a day at a time. Daily progress fills fifteen years with the kind of life most people never achieve in multiplied decades. Live a focused life that honors God and serves others, and no matter how much time you have left, you will live wisely and well. You will help people see how good God is. You will experience the good life.
I will lean into this season of success so that others may see how good God is.
Our Father, thank you for not telling me how many years I have left. What a gift that is! Empower me to live this day, and every day for the rest of my life, with a focus on knowing and experiencing you and helping others do the same. Strengthen me to accomplish this day those things which will help people see how good you are. Lead me forward toward the goal of this season which will provide a testimony of your grace, mercy, kindness, and joy. Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”