“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Why did God leave Hezekiah?

“Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that He might know all that was in his heart.” (2Chron. 32:31). Why did God leave Hezekiah?

“Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up.” (2Chron. 32:25).

Hezekiah had left God. Its not God’s plan to ever give up on us. He works day and night to save us. He wants us for eternity. But if we will persist in neglecting Him or in not responding to His promptings, (Hey, wake up! Here I am!) then He finally leaves.

But why does He? I thought He would never leave me nor forsake me?

1.) He must. We are no longer able to hear Him call to us. It is a physical law that prevents Him from communicating to us and keeping us near Him. We are deaf. There is nothing else He can do for us.

2.) He desires to leave. He doesn’t want to stay if we don’t want Him around. When we’ve cluttered our thoughts with this world and placed it all above Him; when we’ve spent our time pleasing ourselves, gratifying self, feeding self, He is of too pure a character to share the territory of our heart and too meek to complete. So He bows out.

3.) He should. He must leave us, He desires to, and He should. He should depart because of His loyalty to the freedom of choice. We must serve Him only and always because we want to. God has never overstepped this bound. The long movement of restoring Eden is due to His never forcing us to return to Him. He has had some success stories, people who allowed Him to restore them to Eden and give them again the Holy Spirit. But He wants more than a few individuals scattered here and there; He wants a multitude, which no man can number, to surround Him and whom I can indwell. A great convocation of love.

But the state of heart where other-centeredness is its truth has not yet become pervasive among His professed people. “There remaineth … a rest to the people of God.” (Heb. 4:9).

There are two realities. One reality is a new kid on the block, a new experiment to rival the old-school original. This new experiment is sin. Sin is the reality of self. It’s thinking I can’t serve my Creator and glorify Him because of what others might think of ME. ME. I is my focus. I must dress nicely and act right for ME, to ensure MY acceptance; to please others without destroying their self-centeredness because that would hurt them and they would resent ME and reject ME.

But there is another reality—the original from eons in the infinite past. So it is well-founded—well-proven. This original says, “Happiness comes from self-forgetfulness, self-sacrifice, living oblivious to self.”

Self-sacrifice is the victim of self-interest. From its inception, self-interest has proven itself the predator of self-forgetfulness. Christ, in the light of His Father’s loving, holy presence, had self thrust into oblivion. Self thrust into oblivion will always be the prey of self-serving. Humility will always be offered up to pride—unless God steps in to protect, which He does in His own timing and according to His plan.

If He has someone willing enough to be an offering and there are some present who could be swayed to leave the service or indulgence of self by the exhibition of self-sacrifice, then He will temporarily lift His protection over His elect, and join His self-denying servant in the fires of sacrifice. Together They will become burnt offerings, as the creature strives to hang on to his Father and Friend, and the Creator strives to keep His son or daughter aware that He is near and infinitely sympathetic and glorified.

These two realties co-exist—not on friendly terms, but by necessity.

Sin was an aberration introduced by a hate-filled rebel. Loving-kindness had always been. And the God of righteousness and love must permit the incursion of sin, once created by the enemy, until He can wisely deal with it and destroy it without destroying sinners who love Him and seek His help to be removed from sin.

This explains why Satan was permitted to continue his existence. The originator of the new experiment of sin must be allowed to come into the heart and mind and body when God is forced to leave those He loves but who lose their love for Him. There must be an active principal player who destroys, and destroys immediately. This is only to help an unfallen universe and a fallen Adamic race to see what is better—which do they prefer—self-sacrifice and self-denial or self-gratification and self-exaltation?

This whole world is in a school and no one graduates—not in this life. The great Master Teacher is trying to train us and to strengthen our faith in Him whenever He must depart in accordance with the laws of choice, the physical laws, and the law of His hatred of the presence of sin.

His departure feels cruel; but our departure from Him is equally cruel to Him. But in all His cruelty and scrourgings, His only motive is not to destroy men’s lives but to save them. “In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them: in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old.” (Is. 63:9).

“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” (Is. 45:7).

Even in the evil that comes in as soon as He leaves, He only permits it because He love us and wants to develop our resolve to never part again. He doesn’t completely abandon us. Romans 11 brings to us insight to His purposes and hope of His great mercy toward us. It speaks of Him casting away, eyes being darkened, stumbling and falling, a being bowed down and a diminishing. But the blindness is in part until a certain time, and then salvation returns. All this havoc and pain in order for our Redeemer to have mercy upon us. (Rom. 11: 2,10-12,25,26,32).

Let us learn our lessons of dependence on Christ. Let us learn to keep Him in all our thoughts, trusting in Him, giving Him glory, losing sight of self in love for the Master and Lamb of God, the original burnt offering since the foundation of our sinful world.

The visit of the ambassadors to Hezekiah was a test of his gratitude and devotion. . . . Had Hezekiah improved the opportunity given him to bear witness to the power, the goodness, the compassion, of the God of Israel, the report of the ambassadors would have been as light piercing darkness. But he magnified himself above the Lord of hosts. He "rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up.” . . .

The story of Hezekiah's failure to prove true to his trust . . . is fraught with an important lesson for all. Far more than we do, we need to speak of the precious chapters in our experience, of the mercy and loving-kindness of God, of the matchless depths of the Saviour's love. When mind and heart are filled with the love of God, it will not be difficult to impart that which enters into the spiritual life. Great thoughts, noble aspirations, clear perceptions of truth, unselfish purposes, yearnings for piety and holiness, will find expression in words that reveal the character of the heart treasure.

Those with whom we associate day by day need our help, our guidance. They may be in such a condition of mind that a word spoken in season will be as a nail in a sure place. Tomorrow some of these souls may be where we can never reach them again. What is our influence over these fellow travelers?

What have your friends and acquaintances seen in your house? Are you, instead of revealing the treasures of the grace of Christ, displaying those things that will perish with the using? Or do you, to those with whom you are brought in contact, communicate some new thought of Christ's character and work? . . . O that those for whom God has done marvelous things would show forth His praises, and tell of His mighty works. But how often those for whom God works are like Hezekiah—forgetful of the Giver of all their blessings.
Courage and Conflict, p. 241.


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