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Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 199: No "buts" this time

Today's Reading: 2 Kings 18:1-8; 2 Chronicles 29-31; Psalm 48

Hezekiah, whose name means "Jehovah is my strength," is hailed as the greatest king of all time.

He began with spiritual reform. Priest and all Levitical descendants were ordered to consecrate themselves. All pagan and idolatrous icons were thrown into a burning land fill called the Kidron Valley, which later becomes the symbolic place of the final judgment, where only lepers live. The temple was restored; praise, sacrifices and offerings was reinstated. Passover was celebrated.

He then denounces a dependence upon any outside source. He abandons treaties made in fear with Assyria, claiming God and God alone to be the protector and defender of the people.

Then he breaks the "but" cycle. Previous kings began reform but for some reason couldn't follow through with the entire cleansing process. They "did right in the sight of the LORD, but..." they always left one closet of the kingdom in disarray. Hezekiah chops down the Ashera poles and rids the kingdom of all idolatry.

Such a cleansing was so pleasing to God that God re-engaged with the people of Israel.

I wise woman once told me, "It's the 'buts' that kill you."

I think its time for the church and God's people to remove "but" from our language. Our hesistation is killing us. Our incomplete devotion keeps us weak.

Thank you, Hezekiah, for your witness to us in all times and places.

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