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Fifteen Years To Live...

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Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: "Go and tell Hezekiah, "This is what the Lord , the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. -- Isaiah 38: 4-5 (NIV)


After the death of King Solomon, God's chosen people were irrevocably split into two distinct nations. The ten northern tribes known as Israel and the remaining two tribes known as Judah. They had separate governances and each would have their own king. From the time the kingdom split until God passed judgment on the ten northern tribes, there had not been one righteous king ruling Israel. Judah however did have an occasional king who followed after the Lord and would turn the people back to Him as well. Hezekiah was one of the "good" kings. He witnessed the destruction of the northern tribes at the hands of the ruthless Assyrian Empire and enacted sweeping religious reforms in Judah. He eliminated the practice of worshipping other gods and reinstituted the practice of worshipping Yahweh only, as per the Torah. Later on in life, Hezekiah grew ill and the Prophet Isaiah came to tell him to put his house in order because he would not recover. His life was going to end. Hezekiah prayed and wept before the Lord, which leads us to the key verses for today. Miraculously, God extends Hezekiah's life for another 15 years!


The fear of death is quite pervasive today, even in the church. We can go years without having to think about it but then that doctor's report comes in. The news isn't good or someone close to us passes away. Suddenly our own mortality is staring at us in the mirror. The question today the Lord is impressing for us is what would we do if He gave us an additional 15 years? Would we live without fear? If we knew that God had just agreed to give us 15 more years to live, would we operate with more freedom? With the freedom Christ died to provide for us:


Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!   Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -- Philippians 4: 4-7 (NIV)


Would we rejoice always? Would we let our gentleness be evident to all? Would we finally climb the mountain of our anxiety and tell the devil to take his lies somewhere else? This is the peace God intends for all of us to live with. The peace that says whatever the situation is -- it cannot be bigger than my God -- so I will turn it over to Him! A peace that transcends our mere mortal understanding forever guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Would we finally be thankful, regardless of the answer from God? Would we finally understand that the answer "no" is just as much a blessing as "yes" because only God knows what is best. Would we live without fear?


Would we treat the people in our lives differently? If we knew that God had agreed to give us 15 more years to live would we learn to appreciate the people God has given us to share this life with? Would words like divorce and hate be removed from our vocabulary? Would we learn to say "I love you" with out mouths and with our lives? Would cruelty and indifference be cast out of who we are? Would we decide to love as God wants us to love?


Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.   It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. -- 1Corinthians 13: 4-7 (NIV)


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