December 11 I Friday
Some of us may think temptation becomes less enticing and our desire to do the will of God becomes stronger as we grow closer to Him. This is true, but there is a spiritual pitfall that can actually result from a close intimacy with God. 2 Kings 18:5-7 describes Hezekiah as one of Judah’s best kings: “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.”
Hezekiah was also a man of prayer. Scripture records twelve different occasions where Hezekiah stopped what he was doing to pray and seek the Lord’s counsel as he did during the conflict with Sennacherib. Hezekiah praised God and asked Him to deliver them from the hands of the Assyrians. Everything in this prayer upholds God’s holiness and character, appealing to God as the true ruler and Saviour of Judah.
This is what makes Hezekiah’s prayer during his illness so jarring. “Remember, LORD,” he prays, “how I have walked before You faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in Your eyes” (2 Kings 20:3). Hezekiah was not boasting or appealing to a false righteousness. He truly was a good king who obeyed God and followed in His ways. But Hezekiah commits a sin of presumption in this prayer by assuming his good works entitled him to God’s miraculous intervention. When it came to his own life, his time with God had made him proud, not humble. Before his illness, his prayer was, “God is all I need,” but now his prayer is, “This sickness is unjust in light of all that I have done.”
Intimacy with God is something we should cherish. There is nothing in this life sweeter than knowing Christ and serving Him with our whole hearts. But a close intimacy with God does not make us better than others or more deserving of His blessings. God does not owe us anything. He has given us all we need in Christ and feelings of entitlement for anything else are presumptuous. Whether in moments of intimacy, battle or sickness, trusting God gives us the ability to accept His will, regardless of consequences to ourselves.
God sees our life from beginning to end and knows the best way for all concerned. It is a gracious, humbled heart towards the Lord that does not resist, but rests peacefully with what God has ordained for us.
Prayer: Lord God, You are a sovereign God and Your ways are flawless. Keep me from the feelings of entitlement. And in all things, may I graciously accept Your will for me. Thank You, Lord.