2 Chronicles 30:1-31:21; Romans 15:1-22; Psalm 25:1-15; Proverbs 20:13-15
There are days when I read Scripture and it doesn't seem at all like four different sections of a book, but rather one long interconnected story woven through thousands of years. And really, that is how Scripture should always feel, because that is what it truly is. Well, today it was easy for me to see it as that complete narrative story.
One of the connections I see so strong is between the psalms and the stories about all the different kings and rulers of Israel we have been reading about recently in Kings and Chronicles. I am sure all the kings had access to the prayers, psalms, and poetry that King David composed during his lifetime. I wonder how many of them read over them (or had it read to them). It seems like Hezekiah must have gained comfort through the words of David in Psalm 25:4-5: "Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." As Hezekiah was trying to carry out the proper way to celebrate the Passover, he probably made a similar plea to the Lord. His prayer in 2 Chronicles 31:18 echoes this desire to please God as he prays, "May the Lord, who is good, pardon everyone who sets his heart on seeking God-the Lord, the God of his fathers-even if he is not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary." He is wanting so much to head in the right direction, the right ways of God.
What a breath of fresh air Hezekiah is! So many of the kings seem like they are bent on evil, or at least only halfheartedly following God. But Hezekiah goes out of his way to try to reinstate a practice of holiness and adoration and thanksgiving to the Lord. He calls those around him into it. He makes life harder by trying to do the right thing. He calls them to sacrifice and giving. He calls for unity and joy in following the Lord.
Again, I hear echoes of this desire in our Romans reading from Paul. "May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 15:5-6). Like Hezekiah, Paul is calling this next generation of believers to follow God in unity as they seek and pursue him and his ways. He is calling them to "become an offering acceptable to God" (vs. 16).
Show us your ways, O Lord. Guide us. Lead us. This is still our prayer today. This is still our desire, our petition, our plea. We want to follow you, God. We don't always know how. We might be going about it all wrong, but please, show us the right way. Guide us. Correct us. We want to glorify you.
- Mary Matthias
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