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Lesson 11: What Have They Seen In Your House? *

Introduction: Many years ago I was invited to have dinner with one of my clients whose religious freedom I was defending. He had a large number of children and dinner was remarkably quiet compared to dinner at home with my two children. His children did not fight, indeed, they did not even talk to each other. When I asked about this, my client said they had a rule that at dinner the children did not speak unless spoken to. I went home and did some soul searching about whether I was deficient in my parenting skills. To this day I am not sure. I would like to find out how this client's children turned out when they grew up. The client's home arrested my attention. How does your home appear to others? Is it a witness for your Christian values? Or, is it a witness to your selfishness? Let's dive into our study on that topic!

  1. Hezekiah's Illness


    1. Read Isaiah 38:1. Put yourself in Hezekiah's place. What are your thoughts?


      1. The New Bible Commentary puts Hezekiah's age at 39. What does that add to your thoughts? (If you have ever been tested for a fatal disease or diagnosed with one, you probably have a good idea of the thoughts running through Hezekiah's mind.)


      2. Read Isaiah 38:10-11 where Hezekiah recounts his thoughts.


    2. Read Isaiah 38:2-3. What kind of attitude does Hezekiah have? (I deserve to live. I'm a good guy.)


      1. Is Hezekiah right to have this attitude? (His attitude is understandable. No doubt I would pray the same thing, but the bottom line is that God owes us nothing. We owe Him everything. Moreover, we need to trust God to do the right thing. One commentary that I read put a better light on Hezekiah by arguing that he was simply asking God to spare him so he could continue to reform his country.)


    3. Read Isaiah 38:4-6. What does this teach us about our God? (He is compassionate to us. He listens to us.)


      1. What kind of relationship did Hezekiah have with God? (It seems that they were in regular contact through the prophet Isaiah.)


    4. Read Isaiah 38:7-8. Anyone here have an explanation for how God did this? (Commentaries suggest this could be anything from a special refraction of the sun's rays to a reversal of the rotation of the earth.)


      1. The stairs were some sort of sun-dial. What is the significance of this sign? (God is altering time for Hezekiah.)


      2. Why such a remarkable sign from God? (Because He could! Consider God's compassion and unprecedented power when you face difficult circumstances.)


    5. Read Isaiah 38:21. Friends, I want you to try to explain this to me. The sign that God will heal Hezekiah theoretically involved altering the rotation of our planet. Yet the actual healing is a simple poultice of figs. Explain this please! (We can know a lot about God's character. But, predicting God's actions is quite another matter.)


      1. Should you see a doctor when you are sick and need a miracle? (Yes. There is precedent for it right here.)


  2. Hezekiah's House


    1. Read Isaiah 39:1-2. What caused the King of Babylon to contact Hezekiah and send envoys? (News of his recovery.)


      1. How likely is it that the Babylonians noticed that the sun went backwards?


      2. Put yourself in Hezekiah's place. What should you be talking about with the envoys from Babylon? What,"in your house," should you be highlighting? (The stated reason for the visit was Hezekiah's miraculous recovery. It was the obvious thing to highlight what God had done.)


      3. Instead, what did Hezekiah highlight? (Himself. All of his wealth pointed to him as a great and successful king.)


    2. Read 2 Chronicles 32:31. In God's eyes, what was the visit from the Babylonian envoys? (A test of what was in Hezekiah's heart.)


      1. Read again Isaiah 39:2 and explain the test to me? (King Hezekiah would have been dead if God had not intervened. The Babylonians came for the stated reason of learning about the miracle that brought Hezekiah back to health. King Hezekiah could have focused on what God had done for him or he could focus on his wealth - what he had done for the nation. Notice that in Isaiah 39:2 it keeps referring to "his" storehouses, armory, and treasures.)


      2. How about you? Do you want people to notice you or notice your God? Is it all about you or Him? What in your house do you want to show the world?


    3. I've previously told the story about the first humble house we bought and how my neighbor asked me, "If you're a lawyer, how come you live here?" For many years I commuted to work in a Honda I bought for $200 and an Isuzu truck I bought for $1,000. At the time, I thought God was leading me to these deals to teach me humility. Finally, He led me to an old, beautiful Mercedes and I figured the lesson was over. What I hated during those times was that my humble home and vehicles would cause people to think this reflected on my skills as a lawyer. Is this an application of the test God brought to Hezekiah? (Yes. The test is whether you are worried about your glory or God's glory. I was concerned about my glory. My attitude shows that I would have flunked Hezekiah's test.)


    1. Read Isaiah 39:5-7. How does the test turn out for Hezekiah?


      1. Think back over this entire story. Should we pray for God's will to be done in our illness or should we, like Hezekiah, ask for our will to be done?


    2. Read Isaiah 39:8. What does this teach us about Hezekiah's attitude at this stage in his life? (The man is incredibly selfish.)


      1. Is praying that our will be done selfish?


      2. Is praying that our will be done foolish?


  1. Hezekiah's Family


    1. Read Deuteronomy 6:10-12. What historical lesson did God want His people to remember when they entered the land God promised them? (To remember they were slaves and that God freed them.)


      1. Where were Hezekiah's descendants heading? (Isaiah 39:7: slavery.)


        1. What was Hezekiah modeling in his home regarding his children? (He did not show care for them. The result of his sin was that he brought his children back to the original calamity of slavery - and he did not seem to care.)


    2. Read Deuteronomy 6:4-8. What should be our attitude towards our children?


      1. If you have children in your home, do you have an active or passive program for teaching them about God?


        1. Do you personally teach them, or do you mostly leave it to the church? Or, the church school?


        2. If a stranger were in your home for two days, what would the stranger see regarding the influences on your children?


    3. Friend, what outsiders see in your home is no accident. What we do proceeds from the nature of our heart. Hezekiah told God ( Isaiah 38:3) that he had been faithful, wholeheartedly followed God, and done what was right in God's eyes. But we see the worm of selfishness in him blossom into a pride of achievement that brings down the whole kingdom. Hezekiah comes to the point where he seems to care only about himself. Guard your heart, friend, and it will be reflected in your home.


  2. Next week: Turning Hearts in the End Time.
* Copr. 2006, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2017 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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