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2 Chronicles 32:22-33

Teach Us to Value Our Days

  • Rich Jones
  • Weekend Messages
  • January 08, 2023

To number our days means to value them, that we may present to God a heart of wisdom. In other words, that our days count for something, let them increase our wisdom because we value and treasure what God is doing in our lives.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Teach Us to Value Our Days
2 Chronicles 32:22-33
January 7-8, 2023

            It’s a new year and that time when many make New Year’s resolutions. How many have made at least one New Year’s resolution? How many have already broken your New Year’s resolution?

            The most common New Year’s resolution is to diet or eat healthier. Sure, of course, all those Christmas desserts and cookies only added to the winter coat we already had. It’s time to eat better and make a new you.

            Know what’s even better than being physically healthier? Being spiritually healthier. My prayer is that 2023 will be a year of revival, that we as a church grow deeper in faith and closer to the Lord. I have been so excited to see what God has done in our church in 2022, but God is not finished yet. There is so much more God wants to do in us and through us.

            The beginning of a new year is a good time to reassess priorities, especially spiritual priorities. As you get another year older, you come to realize the value of the days we have been given.

Psalm 90:12, 14, Teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom…O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

To number our days means to value them, that we may present to God a heart of wisdom. In other words, that our days count for something, let them increase our wisdom because we value and treasure what God is doing in our lives.

That brings us to 2 Chronicles 32. Hezekiah was reigning as king in Judah in those days. He was a good king. He was the greatest king since David. He trusted in the Lord and brought about a great revival in Israel. He brought reforms that even Solomon had not done. He used the days God had given him well. His life mattered. He made a difference.

Because of Hezekiah’s faithfulness and the revival he brought to Israel, God saved them. Assyria had almost destroyed Judah. Hezekiah prepared Israel for a siege. He engineered a tunnel to divert the Gihon Springs to the Pool of Siloam inside Jerusalem. It was 1,777 feet long and 30 feet underground through solid bedrock. Hezekiah’s tunnel is still active today, though so many walk through it that the water is not used for drinking.

Assyria laid siege to Jerusalem. Hezekiah then received a letter from the king of Assyria warning him not to trust in the God of Israel. But Hezekiah brought that letter to the house of the Lord and laid it out before God and prayed that God would save them.

God responded by saying, “Because you have prayed to Me about the king of Assyria, I have heard you. I will put a hook in his nose and bring him back to the land from which he came.” That night an angel of the Lord came through the camp of Assyria and 185,000 soldiers of Assyria mysteriously died.

Sometime shortly afterward, Hezekiah became mortally ill. That’s where we pick up our story. We don’t know the exact nature of his illness, but we do know there was a boil of some type associated with it. Perhaps it was a form of cancer, we don’t know for certain.

The prophet Isaiah came to Hezekiah with a message from the Lord, “Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.” There are life lessons and spiritual applications for us in this story. Teach us to number our days, O Lord, that we have a heart of wisdom.

I. Set Your House in Order

  • Isaiah brought a message to King Hezekiah that he would die and not live and therefore should set his house in order.
  • We use the same phrase today. When someone is facing a terminal illness, sometimes a doctor will say to the patient, “There’s nothing more we can do, you should get your affairs in order.”
  • For many people, that means putting together a last will and testament so their family doesn’t have to argue about things after they’re gone.
  • But is that all there is? If all we leave is something that must be sorted out by a lawyer, I submit that we haven’t left enough.
  • In other words, wouldn’t you want to leave more than money and things? Wouldn’t you want to leave a legacy? A legacy that meant your life meant something; that you made a difference with your life.

Illus – One of the goals I have in my heart is to leave a complete set of sermons notes and messages from Genesis to Revelation. It’s a life goal. I would also like to write books. I would like to write a book on leadership. I would like to write another book on how God desires to make the soul beautiful. I would like to write about the life lessons from each book in the bible.

           Many have ‘bucket lists’ of things they would like to do or to experience. I think we should also have a bucket list of things to do for others.

A. Keep your relationships in order

  • Setting your house in order suggests that there are things that remain undone.
  • The scriptures teach clearly that it is good and godly to keep relationships in order.

Romans 12:18, If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

  • Are there thank you notes to write? Do it now. Are there people you need to call to let them know how much they mean to you? Do it now, don’t wait, don’t put it off.
  • Are there people you need to call and ask their forgiveness for something you have done?
  • Or maybe you’ve been holding on to hurts and wounds and have allowed bitterness to take root in your heart.

Hebrews 12:15, See to it that no one come short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many are defiled.

Illus – St. Francis of Assisi was pulling weeds in his garden when a young student came and asked, “What would you do if you were told that you had only a short time yet to live?” Francis famously responded, “I would finish weeding this row of vegetables.”. In other words, his house was already in order, and he was at peace. He was doing what he loved.

  • Paul wrote a similar word of wisdom to the church at Ephesus…

Ephesians 4:26-27, “In your anger do not sin”; Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

Illus – Which is why I start working out my anger issues after sunset… That way, I have a whole ‘nother day before the suns goes down :>) No, his point is to settle the matter so the devil can’t have a foothold in your relationships.

B. Set your spiritual life in order

  • Hezekiah was told in advance that he would die and that he should set his house in order. Most people don’t get to know in advance the day or the hour in which they will die.
  • If you did know the day or the hour, wouldn’t you not only have your worldly affairs in order, but you would also have your spiritual life in order?
  • Are you ready? Is your spiritual house in order now? Would you be ready if you were to stand before God today? God sees what’s in the heart.

Illus – When I was single, my house looked ordered, but the closets and pantry… not so much. Of course, now my closets and pantry are perfectly in order… No doubt because I married someone who loves to be organized.

  • Too many people procrastinate spiritually. They know that if they were to stand before God today, it would not go well for them. If God were to weigh them in a balance, they would be found lacking.

Illus – Belshazzar, a Babylonian king, was living the life of the partier and even laughing at the things of God, but then a hand appeared and wrote on the wall, “Mene, Mene, Tekel, uPharsin,” meaning, “God has numbered your days, you have been weighed in the scales and have been found wanting.”

  • Is it possible that when the day comes that you stand before God that you could stand before God with confidence? Would that be presuming too much? No, it would be standing on the promises that God has already given you.

2 Corinthians 5:8, We are confident, yes, well pleased, rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

Hebrews 10:19, 22, Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus… let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.

  • Everyone would be found lacking if they were weighed in the balance and standing before God in their sin. But we can stand before God with confidence when our confidence is in what God has done for us in Christ.

Romans 8:31-39, What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … In all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

II. Use Wisely the Time God Has Given

  • When Hezekiah heard that he would die, he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord for more time.
  • Hezekiah was only 39 years old when he was told that he would die and not live. Thirty-nine may seem old to someone who is 20, but many people feel that 39 is quite young. I should know, I’ve been 39 many times.
  • God used Hezekiah to bring reform and revival to Israel and perhaps he thought there was much left to do, and he asked God for more time.

A. God is listening

  • One of the powerful aspects of the story is that Hezekiah understood the power of simple and sincere prayer.
  • He turned his face to the wall and spoke to God from the depths of his heart.
  • God then turned Isaiah around so he could bring Hezekiah a message — God would add 15 years to his life.
  • If you want to use wisely the time that God has given, then you would be wise to understand that in our relationship to God, prayer must be foundational, for that is what causes a person’s life to become effective.
  • There are so many scriptures that give insight that God attends to your prayers, that God is listening.
  • Question: would God have given Hezekiah 15 more years if Hezekiah had not asked? Answer: no, He would not.

James 4:2, You do not have because you do not ask.

Luke 11:9-10, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.”

1 John 5:14, This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

  • There is something else here also to note. Does God heal people still today? The answer is yes, but according to the wisdom and purpose of God.
  • The truth is that death happens to the best of us. Even Elisha died from some type of sickness. It’s interesting, however that instead of healing Hezekiah directly, God had Isaiah apply a common medicine to the boil.

B. Use your years for wisdom

  • There is a great debate about whether it was a good thing or not that God gave Hezekiah 15 more years to his life.
  • Some suggest that he didn’t know for what he was asking. And it’s certainly true that sometimes we don’t know how to pray as we should.

Romans 8:26, In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

  • The truth is that God answered Hezekiah’s prayer, but it was up to Hezekiah to use those years wisely. The same is true for you and me.
  • What have you done with the years God has given?
  • The problem in Hezekiah’s life during those last 15 years is that he did not respond according to the favor which God had shown to him.
  • Verse 25 – “But Hezekiah gave no return for the benefits he received, because his heart was proud.”
  • The Lord had done amazing things for Hezekiah one after the other; he saved Jerusalem from the king of Assyria in an amazing display of God’s power, and he healed Hezekiah from mortal illness and added 15 years to his life.
  • He prospered greatly in all that he did. He was given honor amongst the nations.
  • One of the temptations of success, even if that success is given by the Lord, is for the heart to become proud. “I must have been someone special for God to do such things for me,” the heart can easily say to oneself.

C. Finish the course well

  • Even though Hezekiah was a great man of faith and the greatest king since David, unfortunately he did not finish well.
  • It was during those 15 years that Hezekiah showed the emissaries of Babylon all the treasures which he had accumulated.
  • You can see the pride of Hezekiah. It was as though he were saying, “Do you know who I am? You must see all that I have.” In other words, he was showing off to the emissaries of Babylon.
  • We should not assume that the years God has given are ours to use for ourselves. “Teach us to number our days… that we might grow in wisdom.”

Illus – The apostle Paul is an example of someone who did finish well. When he was on the road to Damascus, the Lord gave him a task to accomplish; to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles.

  • When he came to the end of his life, he knew he had finished his course, but he also knew that he had finished his course well. That should be our desire as well.

2 Timothy 4:6-7, For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;

Hebrews 12:1, Therefore… let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us and let us run with endurance the race which is set before us.

 

2 Chronicles 32:22-33           NASB

 

22 So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria and from the hand of all others, and [a]guided them on every side. 23 And many were bringing gifts to the Lord at Jerusalem and choice presents to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations thereafter.

24 In those days Hezekiah became [b]mortally ill; and he prayed to the Lord, and [c]the Lord spoke to him and gave him a sign. 25 But Hezekiah gave no return for the benefit [d]he received, because his heart was [e]proud; therefore wrath came on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. 26 However, Hezekiah [f]humbled the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come on them in the days of Hezekiah.

27 Now Hezekiah had immense riches and honor; and he made for himself treasuries for silver, gold, precious stones, spices, shields and all kinds of valuable articles, 28 storehouses also for the produce of grain, wine and oil, pens for all kinds of cattle and [g]sheepfolds for the flocks. 29 He made cities for himself and acquired flocks and herds in abundance, for God had given him very great [h]wealth. 30 It was Hezekiah who stopped the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all that he did. 31 Even in the matter of the envoys of the rulers of Babylon, who sent to him to inquire of the wonder that had happened in the land, God left him alone only to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart.

32 Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah and his deeds of devotion, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 33 So Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the [i]upper section of the tombs of the sons of David; and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem honored him at his death. And his son Manasseh became king in his place.

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