Monday, June 30, 2014

Hudson Taylor-The Humble Leader Watched Them

By Mary Vee
Year: April 1878 
Hudson Taylor: age 45

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

Jennie, my wife, wrote me this letter from China:

"Oh, Hudson, I am so very thankful for the one thousand pounds given to our group to use for the needy here in China. I've never seen so many hungry people.

The rains hadn't come in a long time. Men and women ate whatever they could find. They had no money to buy food. 

Their bodies didn't have the strength to fight off the fever spreading from one person to another. The other women missionaries and I and worked long hours to do our best,

We rejoiced when the rains came for the crops. I didn't stop to think about all the bugs that would come with the rain. The bugs brought new diseases, terrible ones.

So many children were left without parents. I set up an orphanage for the boys and girls. The women and I fed them, gave them a place to rest and medicine, we taught them Bible stories and other lessons. Their sweet smiles made me so happy. 

Once the orphanage ran smoothly, I opened a home for women who had no where to go. We taught them job skills.

You know George Easton. He found clothing for the people, five hundred pieces of clothing! And when George King heard the children didn't have clothes, he sent one thousand, four hundred sets of clothes suitable for the boys and girls.

I didn't escape coming down with cholera. Suffering with the disease didn't bother me half so much as not being able to carry on the work while I lay in bed.  

You know how Chinese leaders were angry when we came to China. I simply must tell you, Hudson, they have been very kind this time. One of our missionaries ladies died from the terrible disease going around. Little did we know the Chinese official heard the news. He told other officials. One senior Chinese official came to us and said, 'there must be something in a faith which causes the foreign gentlemen to come to China and freely risk their lives, and even give up their for the people of China.'

His words made me so happy. Truly the love of God can be seen in the devoted, loving lives of the the missionaries here in China. 

Your Loving,

I received another letter, this time from Alexander Wylie a missionary with another group. He said, "Among the earliest volunteer workers in China were those from your China Inland Mission. There is one person of such noble character that I think everyone ought to know. I mean the conduct of the heroic lady Mrs. Taylor."

I wasn't surprised. Jennie is such a giving woman, totally dedicated to God.

Hearing that the Chinese leader humbled himself to be grateful for a foreign missionary who was also a woman, this truly blessed my heart. Maybe, someday, he too will see God's love for him.

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, June 28, 2014

Isaiah-Caution When All Goes Well

By Mary Vee
II Chronicles 31, Isaiah 22, 28, 33

From the Journals of Isaiah

Photo Courtesy
King Hezekiah did a good job bringing God's people back to worship. He did what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God. In everything that he tried to do in the service of God's temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he asked God and worked wholeheartedly.

Because of this, he and Judah have prospered.

Still, God gave me messages to warn the people. Prosperity tends to make men and women think they will always have blessings. And they will, if they continue to obey the laws of God and worship Him. But, if the people spend all their time enjoying the good things God has given them and forget to worship the God who gave them those things, they will receive a punishment.

God spoke to me and told me that Israel would turn from worshiping Him. They would spend all their time with the good things they have. 

Because God loves His people, He sent me to warn them. To give them a chance to change. Even though He knows what they will do in the future.

I went to the city and villages warning the people of what would happen to them. The people would not listen. Sometimes I felt like I didn't say the words right. But God told me the people chose by themselves to turn away from Him and not me. 

From Isaiah 22

And you looked in that day to the weapons in the Palace of the Forest;
You saw that the City of David had many breaches in its defenses;
You stored up water in the Lower Pool.
You counted the buildings in Jerusalem and tore down houses to strengthen the wall.
You build a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the Old Pool,
  but you did not look to the One who made it, 
or have regard for the One who planned it long ago.

The Lord, the Lord Almighty called you on that day to weep and to wail,
to tear out your hair and put on sackcloth.
But see, there is joy and revelry, killing of cattle and of sheep,
eating of meat and drinking of wine!
"Let us eat and drink," you say, 
"for tomorrow we die!"

After the warnings, the Lord gave the people these encouraging words, because He loves them: The Lord will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge. The fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.

I only wish the people would listen to God's warning.

1.  What kind of king was Hezekiah?
2.  What reward did God give the people for following Him?
3.  What warning did Isaiah the prophet give the people?
4.  What encouragement did God give the people?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hezekiah-My Brothers Encouraged to Do Good

By Mary Vee
II Chronicles 31

From the Journals of Hezekiah

I have never witness anything more inspiring in my life.

All of Judah an many of our brothers from Israel had celebrated the Passover. We had not done so during my entire life. 

The songs of praise, the celebration to our great God, had such a thrill to our souls we chose to carry on the celebration for a second week. 

At the end of the celebration the men felt a strong desire to go to the towns of Judah. They smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. They destroyed the high places and the altars throughout Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh. Everything that dedicated worship to false gods had been destroyed. 

When we finished, everyone returned to their own towns and to their own property. There was a different smell in the air. A fresh, sweet scent. 

I did the research to find out how to restart worship at the temple the way God had instructed. I assigned the priests and Levites into groups, some had the assignment of offering the burnt offerings, fellowship offerings, others had to minister, to give thanks and to sing praises at the gates of the Lord's dwelling. 

Hearing the praise singing is so striking to me. I hadn't grown up hearing this music, and never knew how such praise could touch our hearts. I too felt blessed and chose to contribute from my own possession for the morning and evening burnt offerings and for the burnt offerings on the Sabbaths, New Moons, and appointed feasts like they we'd been instructed to do in the Law of the Lord.

The prop living in Jerusalem hadn't given to the priests in a very long time. This was my father's doing. He taught them to worship false gods. Now that we are worshiping the God of Israel, I have instructed the people living in Jerusalem to give to the priests and Levites. Their money would allow the these men to dedicate their time to the work of God and not have to worry about growing their own food or earning money to support their families.

Do you know what happened! You can't see my happy spirit, but I am laughing with joy as I tell you this report. As soon as I sent the order to the people to give to the priests and Levites, the families gave the first of their grain, new wine, oil and honey, and all that the fields produced.

They brought a great amount, a gift of everything they owned. The men of Israel and Judah who lived in the towns of Judah also brought gifts of their herds and flocks and a gift of the holy things dedicated to the Lord their God. They piled all these gifts in huge heaps. 

The gifts started arriving in the third month and finish din the seventh month. I and my officials went to the place. We praised the Lord and blessed the people of Israel for their loving gifts. This truly is how to praise God for all He has done.

I went to the chief priest Zadok and asks him about the gifts. Zadok answered, "Since the people began to bring their gifts to the temple of the Lord, we have had enough to eat and plenty to spare, because the Lord has blessed his people. Look see the great amount left over?"

Who could ask for anything more? 

1.  What inspired the people?
2.  What did the people go do?
3.  Hezekiah learned what to tell the Levites and priests. What did he command them to do?
4.  What did Hezekiah commend the people to do?
5.  What happened when the people did what Hezekiah asked?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hudson Taylor-God Asked Jennie to Go by Herself

By Mary Vee
Year: April 1878 
Hudson Taylor: age 45

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

Photo Courtesy
Jennie, my wife, will be telling the story this time.

"Hudson told me the news about the starving women and children in northern, China. Many tried to flee the area and needed homes and food. 

I wanted to set sail right away!

But Hudson was right. I needed to ask God if He wanted me to go. I can't help but think this bubbly feeling in my heart is His message saying I should go. 

I spent hours on my knees, and every other available moment seeking God's will. A few ladies told me they thought I should stay here. They said I had an obligation to take care of my children. 

They were right. I do have this obligation. But for this short time, I believe God has raised someone else to watch them while I go to China. Hudson said a woman missionary needed to do this work. The Chinese women wouldn't trust a foreign man who came to help them.

It seemed God had placed in my heart to ask him for a sign, kind of like Gideon did in the Bible. I thought for a few minutes what would be best to ask for the sign and decided I needed a set of clothes and money to help those in need. Fifty was a lot of money to ask God for, but it would be a good amount to share with quite a few Chinese.

So, I asked God for the new set of clothes and the fifty pounds. 

The next day, a friend called and said she wanted to give me a gift for my trip. I didn't know if God wanted me to go or not. Still, I invited her in. She gave me the exact amount of money to buy new clothes. 

My heart pattered like I had run five miles. Now I needed the answer to the second part of my prayer. Would God send fifty pounds? I prayed every day for five days. I began to wonder if maybe God wanted me to stay in England. 

There had been a stack of envelopes on the table. I looked through the pile to see if anyone had sent funds for the mission. It didn't look like it. I did see an envelope from Hudson's father. I opened it and found a check addressed to me for fifty pounds. 

I waved the check in the air and laughed. God said yes! God wants me to go to China.

I ran with the check to Hudson and told him this story. Just as I expected, a twinkle came to his eye. 'Just as I thought.' He said. 'Just as I thought.'

Ten days later, on May 2, I boarded a ship with seven other missionaries, three women, and four men. I waved good bye for now to my darling children and my treasured husband.

I can't wait to see what God has for me in China. 

"Dear Jesus, please take good care of Hudson and the children. Amen."

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, June 21, 2014

Hezekiah-There Had Not Been A Day Like This Since Solomon

By Mary Vee
II Chronicles 30

From the Journals of Hezekiah

I have never celebrated Passover. When my father was king, he would not allow it.

This year, though, we will celebrate Passover.

The city is alive with our brothers who have arrived from Israel, Ephraim, and Manasseh visiting for the Passover. 

The priests started the celebration with a sacrifice to the Lord.

There is a rule, though that everyone who joins the celebration must clean themselves as God had taught us to. Many of those who traveled from faraway did not have time to clean themselves before the ceremony started. 

To not discourage them, I prayed for them, saying, "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."

The Israelites who had journeyed to Jerusalem celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with us. This was so amazing. I wish you could have heard the great rejoicing while the Levites and priests sang to the Lord. Each of the seven days we celebrated at the temple and rejoiced to the songs and instruments of praise.

I encouraged the Levites to follow the law during the service of the Lord. They listened and did as the Lord asked, eating their assigned portion of meat and offering fellowship offerings and praises to the Lord, the God of our fathers.

Hah! We had such a wonderful time and our hearts were so full of joy everyone agreed we should continue the festival for another seven days. 

I provided thousands of sacrifices, the official did the same. Any priest who hadn't cleaned themselves according to God's law had time to do so. And they all did, willingly. The priests stood to bless the people, and God heard them for their prayers reached heaven, his holy dwelling place.

I have heard that since the days of Solomon, son of David king of Israel, there has been nothing like this celebration praising the Lord in Jerusalem. 

In a way I felt sad that the Israelites who lived before us had missed out on something so wonderful. But in another way, I'm glad the Almighty God can at last be honored as He should be.

1.  What had Hezekiah never celebrated before?
2.  Where all did the people come from to celebrate?
3.  Who started the celebration?
4.  Why did Hezekiah offer a special prayer for those who travelled?
5.  After the seven days of celebration, what did the people decide to do?
6.  What made Hezekiah feel sad?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hezekiah- Invited Everyone to the Best Party Ever

By Mary Vee
II Chronicles 30

From the Journals of Hezekiah

I am so excited. 

The service of the temple had restarted. What amazed me the most was how fast the people worked to get things done.

I immediately wrote letters to our brothers in Israel, in all of Judah, in Ephraim, and Manassah, inviting them to come to the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem to celebrate the Lord's Passover, the God of Israel.

I met with the assembly of men and together we decided to hold the Passover in the second month. Unfortunately we couldn't celebrate at the appointed time because not all of the priests had made themselves clean in time. Also, we needed more time for the rest of our brothers to arrive in Jerusalem.

I commanded couriers to go throughout Israel and Judah with my letters and ordered them to deliver the messages to the kings. This is the letter I wrote:

"People of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to those of you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria.

"Do not be like your fathers and brothers, who were unfaithful to the Lord, the God of their fathers, which brought punishment on them. Do not be stubborn as your fathers were. Submit to the Lord. Come to the sanctuary, which he has made clean forever. Serve the Lord your God so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. If you return to the Lord, then your brothers and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will come back to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him."

The curriers obeyed my command and went from town to town in Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as the sea of Zebulun, but the people made fun of them and wouldn't listen. There are some men from Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun, though, who humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 

In Judah, the hand of God was on our people. He helped us work together to carry out the orders following the word of the Lord to prepare for Passover.

As the large crowd of people arrived, we removed the altars in Jerusalem and cleared away the incense altar and thew these evil things in the Kidron Valley.

So many more wonderful things have happened. I'll tell you more next time.

1.  Why was Hezekiah excited?
2.  Why did Hezekiah write to Israel, Ephraim, Manasseh, and all Judea?
3.  Hezekiah tol the people to not be foolish like their fathers. What did he say God would do? He would ________ his _______ from_______ if you return to him.
4.  What happened to the curriers?
5.  What happened in Judah as they prepared?
6.  Where did they throw the evil incense altar and other altars?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Hudson Taylor-This Time I Stayed Home With the Children

By Mary Vee
Year: December 1877 and January 1878 
Hudson Taylor: age 45 and 46

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

Photo Courtesy
I had only a few cents left. 

A letter arrived from the office in England asking me to return home. There were some urgent matters that needed my attention. 

The missionaries had things under control here in China. I purchased a ticket and sailed on the next ship to England.

The time turned out to be a God-send. I arrived only a few days before Christmas. What a blessed time I had celebrating the birth of our Savior with my family.

In January, though, I read news reports of terrible flooding in northern China. The severe rain had washed away the top layer of soil. Farmers couldn't grow crops in the poor quality under soil for the new year. Thousands of people died from hunger. Thousands more died from diseases. There were many women and children in need of help.

As soon as I heard the news, I wrote to our missionaries giving them permission to take in as many orphans as they could and help the people in any other way possible.

I prayed, asking God to give us direction. There must be something we could do. No sooner had I said amen, then an idea came to me. My wife Jennie could go. The Chinese women would not accept help from foreign men, but they would listen to another woman. 

"Jennie," I called to her. "Would you consider going to China to help the women and children. We need orphanages set up and the women will need someone to listen to them. I am not the one to help this time. Would you pray?"

Her eyes lit up. Her mouth curved into a smile. But she didn't say yes, and for that I am very proud of her. Instead she said, "I'll pray about it and see what God wants me to do. I'd have to leave the children here and I must see that someone else takes over my other duties."

"I understand. Let me know."

She did pray. I saw her on her knees for many hours.

I didn't want to push her to give me an answer, but she didn't tell me any updates. A week later she told me the amazing story of what happened. I'll let her tell you in her own words  next week. 

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, June 14, 2014

Hezekiah: How Do You Get a Happy Heart?

By Mary Vee
II Chronicles 29

From the Journals of Hezekiah

Photo Courtesy
I couldn't believe the mess in the temple of the Lord. Why my father had shut the doors and not allowed worship there is beyond me.

Now that I am king, I will change all of that.

I had ordered the Levites and priests to clean and dedicate themselves and the temple to the Lord. 

Our fathers were unfaithful and did evil in the eyes of the Lord our God. Even I could see that. Our fathers had turned their faces away from the Lord's dwelling place and turned their backs on him. 

They had shut the doors of the portico and put out the lamps. They did not burn incense or present any burnt offerings at the sanctuary to the God of Israel. Unbelievable. How could they do this?

Now God's anger has fallen on those of us here in Judah and Jerusalem. God has allowed us to become something that other people laugh at and mock. No other people wanted anything to do with us. As a result, many of our people have been killed by those who hate us.

I called the Levites and priests for a meeting and said, "I intend to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel to try and turn his fierce anger away from us. The Lord has chosen you to do a job, to lead our people in worship of him. Don't neglect any of your work."

I was very happy to see the Levites and priests take my words seriously. They started their work immediately. 

Sixteen days later the Levites came to my chambers. One stepped forward and said, "King Hezekiah, we have done as you asked. We purified the temple of the Lord, the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the table for setting out the bread dedicated to the Lord, with all the necessary pieces that go on it. 

"We have prepared and dedicated to the Lord all the necessary pieces that King Ahaz had removed while he was unfaithful to the Lord. Those items are now in front of the Lord's altar."

Just as quick as the words were spoken, I felt a joy in my heart as if the Lord let me know we were pleasing Him.

The next morning I told the city officials to meet me at the temple of the Lord. We joined the priests, to present sacrifices to the Lord for a sin offering. This we did not just for ourselves, but for all the people of Israel.

The Levites who had been appointed to lead a praise time with cymbals, harps, and lyres just like king David was told to do by Gad and Nathan the prophets stood ready. 

I gave the order to start the sacrifice. As the priests offered the sacrifice, the Levites led singing to the Lord. Trumpets and other instruments of David played along. Everyone in the temple bowed in worship while the singers sang. What a glorious sound. We didn't stop until the sacrifice had been completed.

Even after the sacrifice stopped, the people continued to sing praises and bow in worship of the God of Israel. 

What amazed me the most was the sound of the people's voices. Here that haven't worshipped the one true God for so many years, thanks to my father. Yet they sang with such conviction, praising the Lord as he deserved.

So I said to them, "You have now dedicated yourselves to the Lord. Come and bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the temple of the Lord."

And they did! The people brought sacrifices and thank offerings and all who's hearts were willing brought other offerings.

I don't think my heart ever has felt this happy. 

1.  Why was the temple a mess?
2.  Who did Hezekiah ask to clean it up?
3.  Did the Levites and priests want to obey Hezekiah?
4.  Did the people want to obey Hezekiah?
5.  What did the people do after the temple was cleaned up?
6.  Why was Hezekiah's heart so happy?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Isaiah- Finally, A Good King is on the Throne

By Mary Vee
II Kings 16-18, II Chronicles 29

From the Journals of Isaiah

Photo Courtesy
Thankfully, king Ahaz's son was nothing like him.

After sixteen years of Ahaz turning the people of Judah away from worshiping the God of our fathers, I'm not sure how Hezekiah chose to do what was right. But he did, and I am thankful.

Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five-years old, after his father had died. The people chose not to honor Ahaz by burying him in the tombs of the kings of Israel. 

Zechariah, a priest who loved God and worshiped Him with all his heart, happened to be Hezekiah's grandfather. Young Hezekiah respected and loved his grandfather.

As soon as Hezekiah came to power, he got to work removing all the idols and places of sacrifice to false gods. He smashed the sacred stones for the false gods, cut down the Asherah poles that people worshipped, and broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made because the Israelites had been worshiping it as if it was a god.

Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He kept a strong faith in the Lord and did not ever stop following him. He kept the commands the Lord had given Moses.

As a result the Lord was with him. Hezekiah was successful in whatever he job he tried to do. 

After smashing the false gods, Hezekiah went to the temple of the Lord. He had only been king for one month and already did so much to bring the people back to worshiping God.

Hezekiah walked to the doors of the temple and ordered them to be unsealed. The doors were opened and found to be damaged. Hezekiah ordered the doors to be repaired.

The next day Hezekiah called for all the priests and Levites to meet with him in the square on the east side of the temple. Many of these men had been in hiding fearing what Ahaz would do to them, but when they learned Hezekiah had opened the temple doors they came. 

Hezekiah stood before the men. He held his hands high to gain their attention and spoke. "Listen to me, Levites. Clean yourselves, your clothes, your bodies, and your hearts. Then, cleanse the temple of the Lord, the God of your fathers, in the same way He commanded your fathers to do years ago.

"Remove everything that would offend the Lord our God." 

Come back next time to see what other good things Hezekiah, king of Israel did to show his love for God.

1.  How long had the evil king Ahaz reigned?
2.  Ahaz was  was/not given an honorable burial place. Which is correct?
3.  Who was Hezekiah's grandfather and what did his grandfather do?
4.  How was Hezekiah different from his father Ahaz?
5.  What good things did Hezekiah do?
6.  What did Hezekiah ask the levites and priests to do?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Hudson Taylor-The Servant Who Would Not Turn From Jesus

By Mary Vee
Year: December 1877 
Hudson Taylor: age 45

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

Photo Courtesy
There are many amazing stories to share about the work God has done in China. I could fill many books just telling all of them.

For now I will share one.

One day as I sat in one of our missions, I heard a lot of noise in the next apartment. The walls were really thin, and in one place there was a hole.

Curious what made the neighbors laugh, I looked through the hole and saw their servant telling them about a story he had heard. He then told the man and wife about the the Prodigal Son. Apparently he had heard one of the missionaries tell the story, was touched that God could love him so much then accepted Christ as his savior.

The neighbors laughed and mocked him for believing such a ridiculous story. They gave him several chances to give up this new teaching and return to the teachings honored by their house. When the servant refused, the family threw him out in the streets. 

This happened in February. The winters were cold and the winds brutal. The servant didn't know where to go. He tried to get another job but no one would hire him. He became quite hungry and sick from the cold. 

Days later, the neighbors searched for their servant in the streets. When they found him they said, "Please give up the crazy belief you have in the God of the missionaries."

He refused again. 

At long last the family said he could return to his job because they could find no one as kind and could serve their family as well as he. 

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, June 7, 2014

Isaiah-Ahaz Shut the Doors of the Temple

By Mary Vee
II Kings 16, II chronicles 28

From the Journals of Isaiah

Photo courtesy
King Ahaz was still afraid of Pekah, king of Israel and Rezin, king of Aram. And so he should be since he hasn't stopped worshiping the Baals.

Rather than ask God for help, he sent a message to the king of Assyria. He knew better than to side with that wicked and powerful king, but he did it anyway.

Along with the letter, Ahaz took silver and gold from the temple of the Lord and riches from the palace treasury and sent them with his note. 

In the note Ahaz said, "Please come save us from our enemy, the king of Aram and the king of Israel. I am your servant."

If only Ahaz would have been an honorable servant of the Lord, the powerful Sovereign God, he wouldn't have had problems. But, noooo. He didn't.

Tiglath-Pileser, king of Assyria accepted Ahaz's gifts then sent his army to attack king Rezin and captured his cities. The soldiers took the people of Aram to Kir to be slaves and killed their king. 

Pleased with the news, Ahaz traveled to Damascus to meet Tiglath-Pileser and to thank him for his help. While there Ahaz saw a magnificent altar which the people of Aram used to worship their gods. It was stunning.

Ahaz had one of his men draw a sketch of the altar and sent it to Uriah, one of his priests, along with this note. "Make me this same altar."

Sadly, Uriah followed the instructions and had the altar finished by the time king Ahaz returned to Jerusalem. Ahaz was impressed with Uriah's work. He offered sacrifices on the altar to the gods of Aram.

Let's think this through. If God was not pleased with Ahaz for worshiping the Baals, He definitely would not be happy to see Ahaz worshiping the gods from Aram. If only Ahaz would listen to my counsel.

But Ahaz said, "If I worship the gods of Aram, maybe their gods will protect us from their next attack."

Foolish man. Those very gods are what led to the downfall of Aram. Only God can help Judah.

Ahaz wanted no more offerings or worship to take place in the temple of the Lord. He removed all the important objects and shut the doors of the Lord's temple. In every town in Judah he set up places for the people to offer sacrifices to gods.

This angered the Lord, the God of his fathers. God is sure to punish Judah for Ahaz's choices.

1. Who was king Ahaz afraid of? ___________ and ___________
2. Who should king Ahaz have asked for help? _____________________
3. Who did king Ahaz ask to help protect Judah? _____________________
4. What did king Ahaz give this king for payment? ____________________
5. What happened to king Rezin and his people? ________________
6. What did Ahaz like so much he wanted one made for himself? ___________
7. When Ahaz came back home what doors did he close and not allow to be opened? ____

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Isaiah-Ahaz Made Bad Choices

By Mary Vee
II Kings 15, 16 and II Chronicles 28

From the Journals of Isaiah

Photo Courtesy
Ahaz did not do as God instructed. He continued to do things God specifically said not to do. Yes, he was twenty years old, but still, God had sent men to give him wise instruction and he ignored them. 

Ahaz, instead, chose to do the same bad things as our brothers living in Israel did. He made cast idols for worshiping the Baals, offered sacrifices in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, harmed children, he also offered sacrifices at the high places to the Baals and under every spreading tree.

The people of Judah for the most part listened to Ahaz and followed him in worshiping Baal.

Because Ahaz would not stop worshiping Baal, God allowed Pekah, king of Israel and Rezin, king of Aram to attack Judah. 

In one day, Pekah and Rezin killed one hundred and twenty thousand soldiers in Judah, because Judah had chosen not to worship the Lord, the God of their fathers. So many lives lost. How sad.

After the battle, the Israelite soldiers took many prisoners. These prisoners were their own brothers who lived in Judah! Not only did they take prisoners to become their slaves but they stole things from the people's homes and businesses.

But, God sent a prophet named Oded to Samaria, the place where the Israelite soldiers lived. Obed waited for the army to return. When they arrived he said, "I have a message for you from the Lord. 

"Because the Lord, the God of your fathers was angry with Judah for worshiping the Baals, he allowed you to conquer them. But you have done more damage than you should have. You killed your brothers in a terrible rage. 

"And now you intend to make the men and women of Judah and Jerusalem your slaves. Aren't you also guilty of sins against the Lord your God? Listen to me. Send back your fellow countrymen which you took as prisoners, for the Lord's fierce anger is on you."

The leaders listened to Oded's words and turned quickly to the rest of the army. The leaders said, "You must not bring those prisoners here or we will be guilty before the Lord. If you don't follow these orders you will add to our sin and guilt. Can't you see, our guilt is already great and God's fierce anger now rests on us!"

So the soldiers gave up their prisoners and all the things they had stolen from Judah and laid it on the ground in front of their leaders. A few men were chosen to help the prisoners by giving clothes to those who needed them, food and drink to those who were hungry and thirsty, and healing balm to those who were injured. They put all the weak prisoners on donkeys, and led all the prisoners and their belongings back to Jericho.

Once all the prisoners arrived at their homes, the Israelite soldiers returned to Samaria.

Still, with all of this, Ahaz did not worship God.

1. Was Ahaz a good king, one who obeyed God?
2. What things did Ahaz do?
3. God gave permission to Pekah and Rezin to _______________
4. What did the Israelite soldiers do wrong?
5. What did Oded tell the leaders of the Israelite army?
6. Did the Israelite soldiers do what Oded said?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Hudson Taylor-What to Do in times of Trouble

By Mary Vee
Year: January 1876 
Hudson Taylor: age 44

From J. Hudson Taylor's Notes

Photo Courtesy
I am so excited to tell you my news. My doctor cleared me to set sail for China on September 8, 1876. 

After spending months confined to a bed following the accident then the long time learning how to walk again, my heart tells me to jump up and down to celebrate. Maybe I will after a few more months of healing.

Jennie and I decided she should stay in England to care for our children. We'd watched our older children become terribly sick while we lived in China and didn't want to risk loosing another one. I'm going to miss all of them. 

Before I boarded the ship, Jennie refused to let me take my stack of papers. That wise woman knew I would spend long hours working instead of resting. She promised to pack the boxes of work and send them with the next group of missionaries leaving for China. sigh

I really did feel rested by the time the ship docked in Shanghai. My good friend, John McCarthy, met me as I stepped on shore. He made arrangements for us to travel together to  our mission in Zhenjiang.

Unfortunately, the same sickness returned to me within days. I became too ill to travel or visit our missionaries as I had planned. At least I found the strength to write letters to missionaries and to our supporters in England, and complete the necessary paperwork to allow new workers to go into areas of China where people had not heard about God's love. 

I spent long evenings and early morning hours praying to God for the strength to do the needed work. 

One afternoon, George Nichol came to my office. "We've received a number of letters reporting serious rioting in two of our mission stations." He rubbed his face after reporting the troubling news.

I nodded then whistled softly the hymn, "Jesus I am Resting, Resting."

George's eyes widened. He walked closer to me. "How can you whistle when our friends are in so much danger?!"

The poor man still didn't understand the importance of true faith in God. "Do you want me to be anxious and troubled about the situation?" I said softly. "It wouldn't help them and would only make my illness worse. All I need to do is to give the burden to Jesus."

Clearly God would care for His children as He knew best. God loves all of us, and although we may suffer illness or trouble, God will never leave us and will always do what is best.

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