Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hezekiah - Sennacherib the Bully

By Mary Vee
II Chronicles 32

From the Journals of Hezekiah

Photo Courtesy
A few days after we finished rebuilding Jerusalem and preparing for war, I received a message from Sennacherib, king of Assyria. Like I've said before, this man is a bully. 

He sent his supreme commander, his chief officer, and his field commander with a large army to deliver the message. Did he really have to send that many people?

I sent my officers out to meet with them.

The field commander from Assyria delivered this message:

"Tell Hezekiah this is what the great king of Assyria said: 'What makes you think you can be so confident? You say you have strategy and military strength, but your words mean nothing. Who are you depending on to give you the power to rebel against me? Look. You are depending on Egypt to save you.

"And if you say to me, 'We are depending on the Lord our God'--isn't he the one whose altars you removed? Didn't you say to Judah and Jerusalem, "You must worship before this altar in Jerusalem"? 

"When you say, 'The Lord our God will save us from the hand of the king of Assyria,' you are  misleading your people. You want them to die of hunger and thirst.

"Don't you know what my fathers and I have done to all the peoples of other lands? Did the god of those nations deliver them from my hand? Were any of the gods from other lands able to save their country from me?

"Listen to my advice, people of Jerusalem. Don't let Hezekiah deceive you and mislead you like this. Don't believe him because no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to deliver you from my hand! I'll give you a chance. Make a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria. I'll give you two thousand horses, that is, if you can put riders on them. Hah.

"How can you turn me down by depending on Egypt for chariots and horsemen? You know I have come to attack and destroy this land without any word from your God. The Lord himself told me to march against this country and destroy it." This ended his message.

My officials were quite concerned. The Assyrian messengers shouted their words loud enough for our soldiers on the walls to hear. The words sounded right, even though they were wrong. We didn't know how many of our soldiers would surrender to that bully Sennacherib.

My officials, Eliakim and Shebna and my field commander, Joah said to the Assyrian officials, "Please speak to your men in Aramaic since we understand it. Don't speak in Hebrew in the hearing of the people on the wall."

Do you think they spoke quieter?  Come back next time to see what happened.


1.  Who was the bully?
2.  Who did the bully pick on?
3.  This bully lied. He said ___________ could not help them because no other god had helped any other land.
4.  Why did Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah ask the Assyrians to speak in Aramaic instead of Hebrew?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Hudson Taylor- The Perfect Field and the Perfect Price

By Mary Vee
Year: April 1879 
Hudson Taylor: age 46

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

Photo Courtesy

So many of the China Inland Missionaries had worked for years without a rest. I don't mean a break from their work, I mean a rest.

A break usually means sailing back to England, which is not an easy journey and takes three months, speaking at many churches to raise more support, going to people's homes and telling them about China, and more. The breaks can make a missionary more tired than the regular work in the country where they serve God.

A rest is going to some place where no one expects you to do anything. You can sleep in, take a nap in the middle of the day, go for a walk in the fresh air and not have to be anywhere. 

The Moores served in Zhenjiang and desperately needed a rest. I heard about their need and traveled to Zhenjiang to speak with them. I saw all their work and how tired they were. "I want you to go to Yantai where we've set up a place to rest. When you feel better, come back." 

I don't think I've seen happier faces. The Moores left a week later for Yantai.

I went on to Yangzhou and saw our missionaries needed a new orphanage. I helped to draw up plans, organize supplies and hire workers. To save money, I worked with the builders. The summer heat made working difficult, but we kept going. The work wore me down. I lost weight and became ill with dysentery again. 

You know where I went, right? Yes. Yantai. 

Charles Judd greeted me when I stepped off the boat in Yantai and showed me what he had been working on while I was gone. "I found the perfect piece of land to build our own buildings," said Charles.

"We need to be careful," I said. "If the seller figures out how much we want the land he will increase the price so high we won't be able to buy it."

They walked to the field. I agreed with Charles that it would be the perfect piece of land. While we stood there, the owner came to us. "Do you want to buy this field?"

We weren't sure what to say. If we said yes he might raise the price. We stood there not answering him.

He said again, "Do you want to buy this field?"

I decided to answer him. It did't mean that we had to buy the field. "We are thinking about buying some property."

"Then please buy mine."

The man looked desperate to have money. He gave us a reasonable price and we bought his land right then, without delays in paperwork. 

We walked around the field and found a gully with fresh water running down beside it. 

The neighboring farmers saw us walking on the land and walked out to meet us. "Will you buy our land, too?"

We bought all of the land at a very fair price. God has helped us start this new ministry. The next step: build.

J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China--Inland China!
So Very Blessed by God

Research resources: J. Hudson Taylor, An Autobiography by J. Hudson Taylor; It is Not Death to Die, a new biography of Hudson Taylor by Jim Cromarty; Hudson Taylor Founder, China Inland Mission by Vance Christie; J. Hudson Taylor, A Man in Christ, by Roger Steer, and Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by Dr.and Mrs. Howard Taylor

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Hezekiah- Using Water to Win a War

By Mary Vee
II Chronicles 32

From the Journals of Hezekiah

Photo Courtesy
The king of Assyria invaded Judah. He attacked several of our fortified cities and threatened Jerusalem. Sennacherib, king of Assyria wanted these cities for himself.

When I heard he planned to attack Jerusalem, I called together my officials and military staff.

"Gentlemen, I have an idea. Let's block off the water from the springs outside the city. If Sennacherib doesn't have water for his army, he will have to leave. And why should he have access to our water?"

The men agreed with me. And we went to work.

We called for a large force of men to help. Together we blocked all the springs and the stream that flowed through the land outside the city. 

We moved our workforce to the city walls. Night and day we worked to repair broken areas where the enemy could get through. We built new towers for watch keepers. Next, for added protection, we built a second city wall outside the first one. The men put supports on the terraces while another group made a large number of weapons and shields.

I appointed military officers over the people and called them all together in the city square near the gate after we finished our work and said: "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of  the vast Assyria army. There is a greater power with us than with him. The king os Assyria only has the arm of flesh, but we have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles."

All the people cheered with these words.

We were ready to see what God would do for us.

1.  What king invaded Judah?
2.  What country was he king of?
3.  What did king Hezekiah choose to do first?
4.  What did he do second? (what did he fix)
5.  What did Hezekiah order third?
6.  What did Hezekiah have made fourth (it was a second one)?
7.  What did Hezekiah make to protect themselves?
8.  What encouraging words did Hezekiah say to the people?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hezekiah-The Good, Bad, and Selfish

By Mary Vee
II Chronicles 32

From the Journals of Hezekiah

Photo Courtesy
The people of Jerusalem, Judah, and I spent several days repenting of our pride.  God decided not to punish us during my life time.

I needed to lead the city and country back to dedicating our lives to God and taking care of what He has given us.

The Lord had bless us with riches. Before this time I hadn't done anything with the wealth for God. That will change.

The countries around us respected me and so did the people. We received more wealth from them. I built treasuries for the silver, gold, precious stones, spices, shields and other valuables. I also made buildings to store the harvest of grain, wine, and oil. I had stalls built for various kinds of cattle and pens for the flocks. We built villages and added to the number of flocks and herds. All these things God had given were stored in safe places until they were needed.

We used the wealth to feed the people and for improving the city. The west side of Jerusalem didn't have enough water. We started a building project to block the upper outlet of the Gihon spring and channeled the water down to the west side where the people needed it.

The Lord helped me to succeed in all the projects I worked on during the added fifteen years of life He gave me.

I knew I must be doing things the way God wanted me to. We had peace and prosperity.

One day, messengers from Babylon brought letters and gifts from their king. They seemed so kind. The king said he had heard I was sick and wanted to send me a gift. I welcomed the messengers in and showed them around the palace. 

They seemed interested in what I said and asked me to tell them more. I showed them our storehouses, the silver, gold, spices, fine oil, armory and everything God had given us in our treasury. I had so much fun showing them the blessings from God.

After they left, the prophet Isaiah came to me. "What did those men say and where did they come from?"

He seemed unhappy. I didn't understand why. "They came from a distant land, Babylon."

Isaiah said, "What did they see in your palace?"

"I showed them everything God had given us. There is nothing among my treasures I didn't show them." I had no idea why he asked the questions.

Isaiah closed his eyes for a long time, then spoke. "Hear the word of the Lord. The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your fathers have stored up to this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. And some of your children will be taken away and forced to serve as slaves in the palace of the king of Babylon."

"Yes, but didn't God say there would be peace my whole lifetime?"

1.  What did Hezekiah do right?
2.  Where were the messengers from?
3.  What did they bring with them?
4.  What did Hezekiah show them?
5.  Why did Hezekiah show the men these things?
6.  What did the Prophet Isaiah tell Hezekiah?
7.  What do you think is wrong with what Hezekiah said at the end of this story?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Hudson Taylor- Yantai, A City of Rest

By Mary Vee
Year: April 1879 
Hudson Taylor: age 46

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

How Yantai looks today Photo Courtesy

God doesn't expect us to work--work--work. The Bible tells us God rested after making all of creation.

God likes to teach us what is right. He didn't need to rest after making creation, but He did, to show us resting after work is good.

Last time I wrote to you, I said I would tell you about the wonderful city of Yantai.

Let's see, I had been really ill, so sick I couldn't eat or walk. Jennie, my wife insisted we find a place for me to rest and get well. We had heard about Yantai but hadn't been there before. 

Yantai is in northern China, right on the ocean and has sandy beaches. Many foreign traders, Chinese, and missionaries go there for vacations. 

Our friends helped me to board a ship to travel to Yantai. My sickness grew worse while we sailed, but thanks to Jennie's prayers and a special tea she made we arrived in Yantai--and I was still alive!

The fresh air, good friends, and healthy food soon had me feeling better. Each day I grew stronger and thought, this would be a good place for missionaries to come for a rest. Maybe more missionaries would stay in China if only they could rest from their work at times. 

I walked on the beach one day and thought, wouldn't it be nice to build a school for the missionary children here? And we could also build a hospital. This is the perfect place for sick missionaries and Chinese people to come and get well, too.

I rented a small building to start the idea. As always, God's time was perfect as always. No sooner had I paid the money to use the building when I received a letter from one of our best missionaries, Charles and Elizabeth Judd. They had sold all their belongings and planned to return to England. Elizabeth had become very sick. Charles thought she would die. They wanted to go back to England to help her get well.

I wrote him right away and told him about Chefoo in Yantai and asked if they would be willing to come here and let us help Elizabeth get well. It has helped me get well so it should help her. Soon the Judds moved to the small house I rented. 

I turned all my ideas over to Charles Judd: to start a missionary school, hospital, and resort for missionaries to rest. He loved the ideas and started work right away. 

J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China--Inland China!
So Very Blessed by God

Research resources: J. Hudson Taylor, An Autobiography by J. Hudson Taylor; It is Not Death to Die, a new biography of Hudson Taylor by Jim Cromarty; Hudson Taylor Founder, China Inland Mission by Vance Christie; J. Hudson Taylor, A Man in Christ, by Roger Steer, and Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by Dr.and Mrs. Howard Taylor

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hezekiah- Pride and Punishment

By Mary Vee
II Chronicles 32

From the Journals of Hezekiah

Photo Courtesy
God had healed my terrible illness. I felt so much better.

The people in Judah seemed happy. We had everything we needed. 

I went about my work, enjoying the people, doing my kingly business. All the reports I received said the country was doing well. 

We ate, had celebrations, did our chores.
I felt really good about it. Yep, I was a great king.

One day the prophet Isaiah came to my chambers. He couldn't have any bad messages. Everyone in the country seemed happy and no one had attacked us. I was doing a great job.

"King Hezekiah, You have been wicked."

I couldn't believe my ears. I have not been wicked. "What do you mean?"

"You have been prideful in your heart. You have not shown God thankfulness for what He has given to you. Instead you take all the credit yourself, calling yourself a great king. Therefore the Lord's wrath is on you and Jerusalem and Judah."

I could hardly speak. I thought about what I had been doing since the Lord healed me from my illness. Isaiah spoke the truth. I have been full of pride. I dropped to my knees. "You are right. I have been full of pride. Please forgive me."

These words would not be enough, I knew right away. I ran out of the palace and to the temple where I could call all the people of Jerusalem together. "People of Jerusalem and Judah, I am guilty of pride. I have been calling myself a great king because of how well things are here in our city and country. 

"I am not the one who has kept us safe and prosperous. It was the Lord, the Almighty God. I ask you to join me in repenting of our ways and asking the Lord to forgive us."

The people joined me. We all put on sackcloth and repented. Cries of sorrow and tears flowed. We prayed to God, asking for His forgiveness.

While I still sat in sorrow, the prophet Isaiah came to me. "The Lord has a message for you. He has seen your repentance and the tears of the people. He has decided to hold off the punishment while you still live."

"I will change and work to serve the Lord in all my ways."

1.  What happened in Judah after Hezekiah was healed?
2.  What did Hezekiah do wrong?
3.  Who told him?
4.  What did Hezekiah do about it?
5.  What did the people of Jerusalem and Judah do?
6.  What did God say after Hezekiah led the people to the right answer?
7.  What did Hezekiah decide to do?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hezekiah-A Thankful Heart for Fifteen More Years

By Mary Vee
Isaiah 38

From the Journals of Hezekiah

Photo Courtesy
I didn't deserve God's mercy.

He healed me from a disease that nearly killed me. 

During all the days I have ruled Judah, I have tried to obey God. I'm not perfect, which means I made mistakes, but I kept trying my best. 

God rewarded my devotion to Him by letting me live fifteen years more.

This is my thanksgiving praise to God:

I said,
“In the prime of my life
I shall go to the gates of Sheol;
I am deprived of the remainder of my years.”

 I said,
“I shall not see the Lord,
The Lord in the land of the living;
I shall observe man no more among the inhabitants of the world.

 My life span is gone,
Taken from me like a shepherd’s tent;
I have cut off my life like a weaver.
He cuts me off from the loom;
From day until night You make an end of me.

 I have considered until morning—
Like a lion,
So He breaks all my bones;
From day until night You make an end of me.

 Like a crane or a swallow, so I chattered;
I mourned like a dove;
My eyes fail from looking upward.
Lord, I am oppressed;
Undertake for me!
 “What shall I say?
He has both spoken to me,
And He Himself has done it.
I shall walk carefully all my years
In the bitterness of my soul.

 O Lord, by these things men live;
And in all these things is the life of my spirit;
So You will restore me and make me live.

 Indeed it was for my own peace
That I had great bitterness;
But You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption,
For You have cast all my sins behind Your back.

 For Sheol cannot thank You,
Death cannot praise You;
Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your truth.

 The living, the living man, he shall praise You,
As I do this day;
The father shall make known Your truth to the children.
 “The Lord was ready to save me;
And we will sing with stringed instruments
All the days of our life, in the house of the Lord.”

1.  Who was Hezekiah?
2.  What problem did Hezekiah have?
3.  Who healed him?
4.  How many more years did God give him?
5.  What did Hezekiah do next?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hudson Taylor- God's Way of Healing

By Mary Vee
Year: April 1879 
Hudson Taylor: age 46

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

Photo Courtesy

China Inland Mission needed someone with a strong faith in Christ and a belief that God would supply all our needs to be in charge. Not many people wanted this job. And the few who did were missing important skills.

Although I had the funds to leave for China now, I needed someone who could do my job in England before I left. 

Has someone offered to help you with a job, or say they will do the work for you? You come back later and see the job is done wrong or so different you have fix it or you get in trouble? Yes, this is how I feel. But sometimes a person asks to help and they do a great job. This is what I want. Please pray that God shows me the right person to do my work in England.

God answered! He sent Benjamin Broomhall to take over the job as secretary, which is a huge job and Theodore Howard as advisor. John McCarthy took over China's Millions magazine.

I felt much better knowing the work in England will be done well by these men. I bought my ticket for China, packed my bags, and set sail with other missionaries. 

Passenger ships were not the cleanest. I tried to do what I could to stay healthy but still became sick. That's when I discovered I didn't have my medicine trunk. Somehow it was never put on the ship. I prayed, asking God to please heal me.

Our ship stopped in Hong Kong for supplies. The crew also brought on board a bag of mail sent from the England office. In the stack of mail was a letter from my sweet wife, Jennie. Reading her words helped me more than medicine.

Jennie heard I left England. She found other people to take care of the women and children's home and traveled to Shanghai to meet me. She arrived a month early but didn't sit around waiting for me arrive. She found work helping wherever office people needed her.

I landed in Shanghai in April and went straight to the mission office. The building seemed too small for all the missionaries we have now. We needed a bigger building to let new missionaries rest, learn the language, and train before going to their work in the villages.

We prayed and asked God to supply our needs. And knew He would at the right time.

The trip, a terrible sickness called dysentery, and all the work waiting for me seemed too much for me. Jennie said I looked really sick and told me we needed to go somewhere to let me rest and get well. And she was right. With the summer heat coming in a month, I needed to be in good health.

We went to a beautiful place call Yantai. Look for the red arrow pointing to Yantai on the map.

Hah, it was all God's plan. Wait till next time when I can share what God did in Yantai!

J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China--Inland China!
So Very Blessed by God

Research resources: J. Hudson Taylor, An Autobiography by J. Hudson Taylor; It is Not Death to Die, a new biography of Hudson Taylor by Jim Cromarty; Hudson Taylor Founder, China Inland Mission by Vance Christie; J. Hudson Taylor, A Man in Christ, by Roger Steer, and Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by Dr.and Mrs. Howard Taylor

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hezekiah's Wish for More Time Granted

By Mary Vee
II Kings 18-20

From the Journals of Hezekiah

Photo Courtesy
Assyria was a bully. It was a big, powerful, kingdom with an unstoppable army.

I didn't want Judah to serve Assyria and chose to rebel against their king by not sending him the money he demanded.

During this time, I led the army into battle against the Philistines as far as Gaza and the land surrounding it, winning the battles for the Lord.

I had been king of Judah for fourteen years when Sennacherib, king of Assyria attacked and captured some of our cities. 

To save the people, I sent a message to Sennacherib: "I have done wrong. Remove your army and I will pay whatever you demand of me."

Sennacherib demanded three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. I took gold and silver from the temple and from the royal palace and gave it to the scoundrel. 

Some days later, I became ill. The sickness was so bad, I knew I would die. 

The prophet Isaiah came to my chamber and said, "This is what the Lord says: Take care of everything in your house because you are going to die. You will not recover from this disease."

The news upset me terribly. I turned to the wall and prayed: "Remember, O Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes." I couldn't speak anymore and wept as I never had before.

Isaiah left the room. 

It only seemed a short time before he came back to my bedside and said, "God told me to tell you this message, 'This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord. I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.'"

Isaiah ordered the servants to prepare a mixture of figs. They did and put the medicine on my boils. 

I wasn't sure if this mixture would really work. "Isaiah, what will be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the Lord on the third day from now?"

Isaiah seemed pleased with my question. "This is the Lord's sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: Choose one of these: shall the shadow go forward ten steps or shall it go back ten steps?"

To me the answer seemed clear. "It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps. Have it go back ten steps."

Right before me, Isaiah prayed to the Lord and asked that the shadow go back ten steps. The Lord instantly made the shadow go back the ten steps it had already moved down on the stairway of Ahaz.

Just like God said, I was well in three days. Praise God.

1.  Who attacked Judah?
2.  What did Hezekiah, king of Judah do about it?
3.  What happened to Hezekiah?
4.  Who visited Hezekiah with a message from God?
5.  What was the message?
6.  What did Hezekiah do about it?
7.  What did Hezekiah ask for 10 forward or 10 back? Why?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Worship Only God

By Mary Vee
II Kings 17

From the Journals of Isaiah

To remind you what is happening, Hoshea, king of Israel made Shalmaneser, king of Assyria angry. 

Shalmaneser put Hoshea in jail, conquered the land of Israel (not Judah), and dragged the people off to Assyria to be servants.

To keep wild animals from taking over the Israelite land, Shalmaneser brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim to live in the Israelite homes. 

These Assyrian people took over the businesses and everything in the the Israelite towns. They even brought their gods with them to worship. 

The problem now became that no one, not even one person remained in the land who still worshiped God. Even though there were people living in the towns, God allowed lions to come into the homes. They killed some of the people.

A messenger took the news to Shalmaneser. He said, "The people you sent to live in the towns in Samaria, Israel do not know what the god of that country wants. He has sent lions, which are killing them off because the people do not know what he wants."

"Hurry," Shalmaneser said. "Take one of the Israelite priests back to Samaria Israel to live. Have him teach the people I sent what needs to be don to please the god of the land."

The servants obeyed and brought an Israelite priest to Bethel to live. He taught the people how to worship the Lord.

Unfortunately, the new people not only worshiped the Lord, the one true God, but they also worshiped their own gods. Men from Babylon worshipped Succoth Benoth. The men from Cuthah worshiped Nergal. The men from Hamath worshiped Ashima. The Avvites worshiped Nibhaz an Tartak. The men from Sepharvites offered their children to their god Adrammelech.

So, although they worshiped the Lord, they also worshipped these other gods. What kind of worship is that? 

God said, "Do not worship any other gods or bow down to them, serve them or sacrifice to them. Bu the Lord who brought you up out of Egypt with mighty power and outstretched arm, is the one you must worship. To him you shall bow down and to him offer sacrifices. Always keep his commands. Do not worship other gods. Rather, worship the Lord your God. It is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies. 

But they would not listen.

1.  Hoshea was king of ________________
2.  Where was he taken?
3.  Who took over the Israelite land?
4.  Where were the Israelite people taken and what did they have to do?
5.  Why did lions come?
6.  Did the new people worship the Lord?
7.  What did they do wrong?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Hudson Taylor-God Used Breath to Save Her Life

By Mary Vee
Year: April 1879 
Hudson Taylor: age 46

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

I missed my wife, Jennie so much and couldn't wait to join her in China. A few months ago, she went with a few other missionaries to help the sick and starving women and children.

In order to raise the funds for me to sail to China and continue the missionary work there,  I went to many prayer meetings and church services here in England.

While attending one prayer meeting, a nurse ran into the room carrying a baby girl. 

"Help. Please. Someone help!"

The little girl suffered from a terrible case of croup and had stopped breathing. She looked dead in the arms of the nurse.

I didn't have any of my medical equipment with me, but I didn't need any of it at that moment. The little girl was in God's hands.

I grabbed the child, lay her down, and breathed into her mouth. Again and again I blew air into her lungs, waiting for the child to breathe on her own. 

I heard those standing around me praying to God to save the little girl's life while I worked to help her.

I blew air into her mouth again and pulled my head away. The sweet little thing took in a breath all by herself and cried. It was the most wonderful sound. God had restored this little one to her family. 

Praying is an important part of ministry, but so is our work. We can't just sit around in the name of praying. God also expects us to act. On this night, God put those who needed to pray and those who needed to act in the same room. What a blessing this was for all of us to see.

The funds came for me to sail to China over the next few months. Praise God for His blessings. 

J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China--Inland China!
So Very Blessed by God 

Research resources: J. Hudson Taylor, An Autobiography by J. Hudson Taylor; It is Not Death to Die, a new biography of Hudson Taylor by Jim Cromarty; Hudson Taylor Founder, China Inland Mission by Vance Christie; J. Hudson Taylor, A Man in Christ, by Roger Steer, and Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by Dr.and Mrs. Howard Taylor

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Hoshea Wouldn't Listen To God

By Mary Vee
II Kings 17

From the Journals of Isaiah

Photo Courtesy
As one of the prophets in Israel, God gave me the job to warn the kings when they made bad choices. 

Hoshea was king of Israel. He led the people to worship many gods and to not obey the laws God had given them. 

During Hoshea's time, the people of Israel had to pay Assyria money to keep them from attacking.

Making the king of Assyria angry would not be a wise move. Assyria had a strong and powerful army, riches, and could easily win a battle against Israel. 

After years of paying money to Assyria, Hoshea decided to stop giving them anything.

When the money didn't arrive, Shalmanesser, king of Assyria had his soldiers spy on Hoshea. They came back with this report: "He is a traitor. Hoshea sent messengers to Egypt asking for their protection against us. He also paid them money. The money that should have been sent to us."

Shalmanesser became very angry. "Capture Hoshea and throw him in prison." 

While the king sat in prison, Shalmanesser ordered his army to march against Israel. For three years Assyria attacked Israel. They battled in every part of Israel's land and won.

Shalmanesser's army took the Israelite people as prisoners and sent them to be servants in Halah, Gozan, and cities of the Medes.

God told me this happened because the Israelites had sinned against Him. They worshipped gods that weren't real instead of the true God who saved them from Egypt and the power of Pharaoh. 

God had sent them many warnings to turn from their evil ways. To obey God's commands. I wasn't the only prophet He sent to tell them.

The people wouldn't listen to the warnings. They insisted their way was good.

The only way to make them stop, and to hopefully help them understand what they did wrong, was to take everything away from them. 

1.  Hoshea was king of ________________
2.  What did he lead the people to do?
3.  Israel had to pay money to ____________ to keep them from attacking.
4.  One year, Hoshea decided to _____________
5.  Who did Hoshea ask for help?
6.  What did Shalmanesser, king of Assyria do?
7.  What could Hoshea have done to stop all of this from happening?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Man Who Loved God More Than Himself

By Mary Vee
Isaiah 22

From the Journals of Isaiah

Photo Courtesy
In the palace of Hezekiah, king of Judah, there was a servant name Shebna. 

Shebna had a high position, he was a steward. 

Hezekiah trusted Shebna, gave him many important tasks, and put him in charge of the palace.

While doing these important jobs, Shebna became selfish. He wanted people to know exactly how important he was, and he wanted everyone to remember him forever.

God gave him his wish, but not exactly the way he wanted.

Shebna ordered the workers who served him to cut out a grave in the high place. The servants did special chiseling to make the grave look important. 

With such a grave, everyone in all of Judah would see his resting place after he died and always remember how important he was.

Hah. God did not agree with this plan. Only God is to be remembered in this way. Shebna had disgraced Hezekiah's palace by doing this. Hezekiah, the king who had honored God's name and served Him with his whole heart.

I told Hezekiah what God said. Hezekiah called Shebna in and fired him. Shebna lost all the riches and power, and the special burial place he ordered his workers to make.

How did God give Shebna his wish? This story is recorded in the book Isaiah for everyone to read and know. Yes Shebna is remembered, but not the way he wanted. 

Hezekiah appointed Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah to take Shebna's place. Eliakim loved God and worked hard to honor God. Eliakim wore the special robe and sash that once belonged to Shebna. All of Shebna's authority now belonged to Eliakim, a man who truly loved God more than himself.

1.  What job did Shebna have?
2.  What did he do wrong and why was that wrong?
3.  What  was important to Shebna?
4.  How did God give Shebna his wish?
5.  Who did God give Shebna's job to?
6.  Why did God give this man Shebna's job?