JobSeekers’ name is derived from Matthew 6:33, which says, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” In this week’s message, we will examine one of the great Old Testament kings, Hezekiah, who descended from kings David and Solomon. Hezekiah lived the spirit of Matthew 6:33 more than 700 years before Jesus spoke those words.
The account of Hezekiah, King of Judah (the Southern Kingdom) is found in 2 Kings 18-20, 2 Chronicles 29-32, and Isaiah 36-39. He was 25 when he became king in 728 BC; he reigned 29 years, so he was 54 when he died (2 Kings 18:2 and 2 Chronicles 29:1). He was a good king and oversaw:
He purified the temple (which had been corrupted by his father and other kings), oversaw great sacrifices (600 bulls and 3,000 sheep and goats), and led the spiritual reform of the people. “There was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem.” – 2 Chronicles 30:26
The Israelites generously gave the first fruits of their grain, new wine, oil and honey and all that the fields produced. They brought a great amount, a tithe of everything. The chief priest said: “Since the people began to bring their contributions to the temple of the LORD, we have had enough to eat and plenty to spare, because the LORD has blessed his people, and this great amount is left over.” – 2 Chronicles 31:10
Israel (the adjacent Northern Kingdom) fell to Sennacherib and the Assyrians in 722, the sixth year of Hezekiah’s reign. Eight years after the fall of the Northern Kingdom, Sennacherib attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. He taunted Hezekiah and insulted the living God. Hezekiah prayed for deliverance from Sennacherib. “That night the angel of the LORD went out and put to death 185,000 men in the Assyrian camp (2 Kings 19:35 and Isaiah 37:36).” When Sennacherib fled back to Nineveh, his sons killed him with a sword.
At the age of 39, things were going very well for Hezekiah, just like things were going well for us when we were rocking along in our careers. Guess what? Hezekiah’s heart filled with pride (2 Chronicles 32:25).
Were you full of pride when things were going well in your career? I was.
This displeased God and Hezekiah became ill. Isaiah suggests that it had something to do with boils (Isaiah 38:21). “Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the Lord’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem.” (2 Chronicles 32:25). Here’s the account in Isaiah 38:1-6:
In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.” Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, “Remember, O LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
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 15 years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city.’”
Hezekiah repented of the pride in his heart and God added 15 years to his life. During this time Judah enjoyed more peace and prosperity. He oversaw the building of storehouses, villages and a tunnel – which was one-third of a mile long – that brought fresh water from the Spring of Gihon into Jerusalem.
He Sought His God and Worked Wholeheartedly
Throughout his reign (with the one exception mentioned above), the key to his success lies in 2 Chronicles 31:20-21; it is one of my favorite verses for job seekers: “This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God. In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.”
Hezekiah sought his God and worked wholeheartedly; and so he prospered.
It drives me crazy when a JobSeeker tells me he or she is trusting in the Lord – and then I find out he or she is sitting on the couch watching Dr. Phil and waiting on the phone to ring. Friends, this is not what God has called us to do! He has called us to trust him AND to work wholeheartedly.
To what degree would God say you are seeking him in your job search?
To what degree would God say you are working wholeheartedly on your job search?
J.B. Kirk (JobSeekers’ board member) once said to me, “Part of our sanctification process is going through a period of brokenness.” As you go through a period of brokenness, do what Hezekiah did. Seek the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength. Listen to his guidance and instruction, AND work wholeheartedly on your job search as he directs you. Like Hezekiah, you will have success and prosperity again as long as you seek the Lord AND work wholeheartedly. Not only will you come out of this process with a good job, your faith will be stronger.
See you tomorrow at JobSeekers, where we seek the Lord and work wholeheartedly!
Copyright © 2013 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved