Jump Start # 2540
2 Kings 20:6 “And I will add fifteen years to your life, and I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.”
I thought this verse was very appropriate for today. Most times, today is the end of February. However, tomorrow is Leap Day, an extra day in the month. I’m not exactly sure what this is all about other than keeping the calendars in sync and our system of counting time. But, what it is for us is another day. I feel bad for those who are born on a leap day. For the babies born on tomorrow, in four years they will look like a four-year-old, but technically, they will only be one.
Our verse today is about extra time. It wasn’t an extra day, but 15 extra years were added to Hezekiah’s life. God had sent Isaiah to tell Hezekiah that he was about to die and that he best get his house in order. Before Isaiah left the palace, Hezekiah had prayed and God had responded. He had Isaiah turn around and deliver the message, which is our verse today.
First, from the context, Jerusalem was facing an attack from Assyria. Already, several Judean cities had fallen. Israel had fallen. Things looked bad. God had promised that the city would not be taken. The Assyrians had sent messengers mocking Hezekiah and trying to turn the citizens away from the king. And, with all of this going on, Hezekiah becomes deathly ill. His death at this time would have been a real hardship on the nation. We know from Bible history, that Hezekiah’s son, who eventually rules, was worthless, ungodly and an idolater. Yet, even if Hezekiah had died, God would still accomplish what He had promised. God’s word and God’s promises are much larger than we are. He didn’t need a king, an apostle, a preacher, or even you or I to fulfill His will. The kingdom won’t fall apart without us.
Second, prayer works. We see that in this context. We see this in our own lives. We pray and in Hezekiah’s situation the response was immediate. It doesn’t take God long. Not all prayers will be answered this way. Some take a long time. It’s all about God. In His time, He moves and works and does things. We want immediate results. God doesn’t always do that. God often has lessons for you and I to learn as we journey through those long, dark valleys. But we must keep praying. We keep praying until something happens. “No,” is an answer. It may not be the answer we want, but it is an answer. God doesn’t come to serve us, but we are to serve Him. What we want and what we pray for may not be the best. It might ruin us spiritually. It might lead us away from Him. God knows.
Third, Hezekiah got what so many of us would love to have, more time. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time. The day often ends before our work does. The list of things to do seems to grow longer than we can keep up with. There are so many things to do. Hezekiah was given another 15 years. The rich man in Luke 16 would have loved to have just another 15 minutes. He didn’t get any more time.
I fear that if many were given more time, that they would only waste it like they have all the other time in their life. More time to watch TV. More time to play video games. More time to sleep. More time for self. Do we really need more time, if that’s what we were going to do with it? If a guy wastes $100, why give him another $100. He’s likely to waste that as well. It’s really not more time, it’s what would you do with it.
Paul told the Ephesians to “redeem the time, because the days are evil.” Make good use of your time. Find ways to work efficiently by being organized and doing things right the first time. Have a plan. Don’t allow distractions and interruptions to sidetrack you. Stay focused. Be intent. This works whether you are cleaning your house, washing the dog, doing your taxes, reading your Bible, or are at school or work.
At the end of Hezekiah’s fifteen years, he got a serious disease in his feet. Rather than turning to the wall and praying, as he did in our context, he trusted doctors. He left God out of the picture. That bothered God. That disappointed God. The disease killed Hezekiah. He didn’t end well. It’s not like Paul’s keeping the faith, finishing the course and fighting the battle.
Fourth, tomorrow is an extra day. An extra day in the month and an extra day in the year. It only happens every four years. It’ll be a Saturday. Lots of stuff to do. How about making this Saturday special? It’s an extra day, so find a way to connect with others, honor God and do something useful and helpful. Don’t waste it.
Finally, some day you are I will be out of days. God will call us to Him. There won’t be any more time on this side of the door for us. There may be things left undone. There may be things we had plans for but we won’t get to them. We don’t know when that last day for us will be. We assume it will be down the road when we are old. But it may not be. We assume we’ll have time to finish what we want to here. But we may not. So, be sure and get your house in order. First, spiritually. Don’t put off what you need to do. Be ready to meet your God. Live with one foot already in Heaven. Second, get your house in order financially. Don’t leave this place and hand a mess to your family. Do they know where important papers are? Do they know what your passwords are? Do they know about your insurance papers? Do you have a will? Get things in order. That includes you preachers. Far too many have died with no savings, no life insurance and left their families in dire straits. Shame on them for that. And, don’t leave the house with things unsaid. Don’t leave mad. Don’t leave without a hug and a kiss. Don’t leave thinking you can later on say what needs to be said. There may be no later on.
Leap Day– a wonderful time to honor God. A wonderful time to remember that each day is a gift of the Lord.