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Lofty expectations are the stuff which makes the best and most interesting drama. We love the story of the little guy, the “has” been, the never will be, the never thought of who believed in themselves and achieved lofty goals and expectations. What we expect out of life will drive us and prod us along through the mundane and undesirable tasks of life, to get where we know we should be. Sometimes our expectations can become like a steel weight around our neck. We set our mind to something for which we are ill prepared or worse yet aspire to things we were never meant to have. I can recall more than a time or two where I in frustration cried out to God about what I expected to happen, only to hear silence on the issue or worse yet, the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking, “What you expected was what you expected. I promised to provide what you need according to the riches of My glory in Jesus, yet you are frustrated not getting what you want” (Phil.4:19). Here in lies the problem with our expectations. They are often not God’s desire, and the last time I checked our very lives are not our own, we were brought with a price (I Cor. 6:20), therefore instead of living by our lofty expectations, should we not invite the LORD of glory to let us know His expectations for us? To illustrate this I offer a few thoughts on the life of a godly King in Israel, one of the best, Hezekiah. Hezekiah’s story is told in the II Kings 18-20 and II Chronicles 29-33. A little history may be in order. Israel, from the time of the end of the reign of its third King Solomon, was split into two kingdoms. The northern Kingdom was almost totally wicked from the beginning, but the southern kingdom had several godly leaders over the same time period. It would seem that as water runs down from the top of what it is poured over it, the filthy water of blasphemy would trickle down from the northern kingdom and corrupt the kings of the south. This time period was rife with the sad words written in the end of the Book of Judges, “every man did that which was right in his own sight”. How sad a statement considering the LORD had given His Law and decree, to which almost all ignored it. This was the environment Hezekiah came to power under, in fact his father Ahaz was a very wicked king (II Kings 16:2-3). Into this environment of wickedness, false religion and selfishness comes Hezekiah. In II Kings 18:1-7, we see Hezekiah as God’s man of action, His king to set Judah straight. This godly king did set Judah straight. In fact here are how the scriptures describe his life for God… “He did right in the sight of the LORD, according to all his father David did”… “ He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel; so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah”… “For he clung to the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commands, which the LORD commanded Moses”… “And the LORD was with him; wherever he went he prospered”. Hezekiah in walking in this fashion developed a godly zeal for the people to be devoted to God and God only. He ripped from the people the false and demonic forms of faith that had plague and led the country astray for centuries. He restored the purity of the practice of Israel’s faith. In our day we hear politicians speak about how they will bring change, this man (Hezekiah) brought change that was monumental. God’s revival under Hezekiah would prepare His people for the captivity they would soon endure as due punishment for hundreds of years of rebellion. Hezekiah was God’s man for a specific purpose.
Thank God for His comfort in the scriptures. for he would not live. and God tells him to set his house in order. all of them EXPECTATIONS. .As is often the case with our hero’s we find that adversity brings out what is best. Is it fair to ask if He has great EXPECTATIONS for us (Christians) on whom He has poured out even greater grace through Jesus Christ our Lord? It is not fair to assume that to live giving no return has consequences for our relationship with Him and the Church as well? This is not a question of salvation but of growth in out walk and glory for our God. an EXPECTATION of obedience. II Chronicles 33:9). What an interesting statement from the LORD. and he prayed to the LORD. and God does just that. This good king was given another 15 years to live. Almost as equally adversity will reveal the cracks of our character that rupture when the heat is really turned up. “Hezekiah gave no return for the benefit he received”. In his great weeping grief Hezekiah pleads for his life to be healed. It would seem that God had EXPECTATIONS for the life of someone to who he gave such great grace. yet because he did not receive them there was a penalty of wrath. Here in is the problem: God had great EXPECTATIONS for this one whom He poured out such great grace upon. as well as God’s expectation for us in like manner. In the American form of the faith once delivered to the saints we often talk of grace and the love of God but seldom of God’s EXPECTATION for a return on that gift. because his heart was proud. but their accusations hold no water. but I chose you and ordained you that you go and bring forth fruit and that your fruit would remain (John 15:16)”. Hezekiah also. But Hezekiah gave no return for the benefit he received. God’s will for us is that we world be transformed completely and stay away from wicked immorality (I Thessalonians 4:3. What of note did this godly king do in the last years of his life to fulfill those EXPECTATIONS? He Married a pagan and idolatrous Phoenician queen who gave birth to a son who would be the most wicked king in the Israel's history (II Kings 21:1-2. As God gave grace to Hezekiah so we are saved from wrath through grace as well. Many will cry legalism. The issue is. Jesus commanded that we loved one another… EXPCTATION. we find our hero at a terrible point of trial. One would think that he would have served God with even greater zeal yet let’s look at what the scriptures say… In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. this also an EXPECTATION. Hezekiah was mortally ill. Prepare your heart. This is an EXPECTATION. God even gives his faithful servant a miraculous sign as a testimony. For all the greatness of Hezekiah we can learn most from his failure when the great testing of his life began(II Chronicles 32:31). Even Jesus in speaking to the disciples said …“You did not choose me. In II Kings 20:1-4. displayed all the treasure of God’s Kingdom to the nation that would come and take it captive. and the LORD spoke to him and gave him a sign. 5:23). with great pride. here comes the lesson. If Hezekiah’s life ended there we would not gain a very important lesson from the failure soon to come. therefore wrath came on him and on Judah and Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 32:24-25)”. In fact in the New Testament there are 1050 commands give or take. Jesus said if we love Him we will keep His command and words. are we bringing any return on the gift of grace we received through Jesus Christ or just hanging on living for ourselves like Hezekiah? It should be amazing to us that we have basically explained out of the bible the transformation and power of the early church.
Let me ask you the questions…Whose EXPECTATIONS have you been trying to live up to? What benefit and glory has God received in return for the benefit He has given you in Christ? When we humble ourselves to His expectations He allows us to DEFY GRAVITY. as we think this will get them to join us. Churches run to and fro trying to meet the expectation of the society. When the church walks after God’s expectations. that the darkness will not miss as we live as those cities shining on a hill that can no longer be hid. He gives us the power we don’t have to make those expectations happen. What we find is that we are becoming more irrelevant and worldlier on a daily basis. . It is the return on the benefit of salvation in Christ (a transformed life by the Holy Spirit).We live in a society that has defined what is expected of us.
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