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Friday, January 1, 2010

Getting It Right in 2010

2 Kings 18 & 2 Chronicles 29-32

Traditional New Years’ greetings: what are they? What do they tell us about people’s expectations for the coming year? What can we do to realize these expectations? From the life of King Hezekiah, we discover a three-stage process that can help us “get it right” in the New Year

Stage One: Starting Right

1. A popular New Year’s tradition—with a catch!
2. Hezekiah’s resolution was to do right (2 Kings 18:3)
3. A fact of life: most people are unable to keep their resolutions; why do you think this is so? (Hint: see Romans 7:15-25)
4. Hezekiah’s resolve to do right is all the more amazing in light of some of the obstacles he faced including: His age/youthfulness (but remember 1 Tim 4:12), His power and position, His family background (see 2 Kings 17:1-2)
5. What are some of the obstacles we might face that would hinder our resolve? What can we do about them?
6. Hezekiah did not only resolve to do right: “He trusted in (or relied on) the Lord God of Israel . . .” (2 Kings 18:7)

Stage Two: Stepping Right

1. Resolving to start the New Year right is only just that: a good start.
2. Hezekiah’s right start was followed by his taking some right steps including:
3. The “push/pull” principle
a. Stepping away/stepping towards (here)
b. Cast off/put on (Romans 13:12-14)
c. Flee/follow (2 Timothy 2:22)
d. Lay aside/be doers (James 1:21-22)
e. Resist/draw near (James 4:8)

Stage Three: Staying Right

1. Starting and stepping right are only half the battle; the real challenge comes with staying right long term.
2. Hezekiah’s epitaph: “he did what was right in the sight of the Lord” (18:3) and “[before or] after him was none like him” (18:5; 2 Chron. 32:32-33).
3. How is it possible that Hezekiah could “stay right” his entire life? Our texts give us some indication as to how he accomplished this:
a. He held fast (or clung to) the Lord (2 Kings 18:6a)
b. He was committed to knowing and obeying God’s commands (2 Kings 18:6b)
c. He knew that the Lord was with him (2 Kings 18:7)
d. He knew that doing right was ultimately the path to blessing (2 Kings 18:7)
e. He was committed to worship ( see 2 Chron. 29:3,29-30)