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Choose Life and Not Death (2 Kings 12-17)

The world will try to convince us that the only way to "choose life and not death" is by following their lead, their agenda, and their empty promises. But the truth is, the ways of the world are selfish and will always lead to death. It is only by seeking and following Jesus that we will truly find life and escape death. Each day this lesson seems ever more apparent to me; even in the Old Testament book of 2 Kings.

In 2 Kings 18-19, we finally learn about a king who followed God:

2 Kings 18:3-6 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done. He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. 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 held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.

Meanwhile the northern kingdom of Israel was defeated by the Assyrians and carried off into exile because:

2 Kings 18:12 They had not obeyed the Lord their God, but had violated his covenant - all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded. They neither listened to the commands nor carried them out.

So then the Assyrian army came to Judah to do the same thing they had done to Israel. The Assyrian commander told the people "Do not listen to Hezekiah. He is misleading you when he says 'The Lord will deliver us.' I will come and take you to a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Choose life and not death!" (2 Kings 18:30-32)

Wow!!! Look how Satan is working here to entice people away from God by dangling material wealth, safety, and security before their eyes!

The northern kingdom bought the lie and worshiped the creation rather than the Creator. But Hezekiah trusted in the Lord. Because he trusted in God, the angel of the Lord came and defeated the Assyrian army before Hezekiah's eyes without even a fight and sent the Assyrians, who survived, fleeing back to Ninevah. (2 Kings 19:35-36)

The Assyrian commander had told Hezekiah to "choose life and not death" and that's exactly what Hezekiah did when he trusted in God rather than yielding to the temptation to trust in the words of the Assyrian commander.

Every time a crisis comes upon us and we choose to follow God and trust in Him rather than the world and its promises, we are choosing life not death.

Dear Lord, Thank you for this reminder to face all challenges of this life by bowing before You, laying out the details at the foot of the cross, and seeking Your guidance rather than the world's promises. Lord, I "choose life and not death," which I can only receive by Your sacrifice in my place, on that cross. Lord, every day, please give me the wisdom to pursue You with all of my heart in every situation and then follow You fully. In Jesus' name. Amen.

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