CAFE QUESTIONS: Do you know what the acronymns CPR and AED stand for? Have you ever asked God for a sign? When have you wanted to stop the clock? Will you have a death bed confession?
HYMNS & WORSHIP: That song, “Into the darkness you shine.” That song, “God of second chances, romances.” That hymn, “Amazing Grace.” That hymn, “Do Lord, oh do Lord, oh do remember me.”
PSALMS: “Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of Glory enter. Who is the King of Glory? The Lord, strong and mighty; invincible in battle. Open up ancient gates! Open up ancient doors, and let the King of Glory enter. Who is the King of Glory? The Lord of Heaven’s Armies – he is the King of Glory (Psalm 24:7-10, KJV)” Note: Psalms 120-134 , the “Fifteen Songs of Degrees,” would be sung by a procession of Levite worshipers ascending the temple stairs of Ahaz, from the court of women to the court of Israel during the Feast of Tabernacles. Stairs were also David’s “causeway that goeth up westward” (I Chron 26:16) and the stairs of Solomon’s ascent by which he went up into the new house of Yahweh which so impressed the Queen of Sheba (II Kings 10).
PAINTING: Project above image on the wall – “Light Stream” by Francis Livingston, 2009.
SCRIPTURE: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14, KJV).
BACKGROUND @2chronicles 29:1-36, chapter 30:1-27, chapter 31:1-21, and 32:20-23. And @2kings 18:1-7a. It was King Ahaz that closed the Lord’s temple. Later, in the very first month of the first year of his son’s reign, King Hezekiah reopened the doors to the Temple of the Lord and repaired them. Hezekiah’s faithful work continued with a proclamation to come and celebrate the Passover of the Lord. King Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, was 25 years old when he began to reign over Judah, and he reigned 29 years in Jerusalem. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before or after his time. He trusted in the Lord, and did not stop following him. He was successful in everything he undertook, but at that time, he was without an heir. King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah cried out to the Lord in prayer to God in heaven, and the Lord sent an angel who destroyed the Assyrian army. That is how the Lord rescued Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from King Sennacherib of Assyria and from all the others who threatened them. So there was peace throughout the land. From then on, King Hezekiah became highly respected among all the surrounding nations, and many gifts for the Lord arrived at Jerusalem, with valuable presents for King Hezekiah, too.
POEM OF PRAISE @isaiah 38:9-2
This is where today’s story begins. NARRATE: II KINGS 20:1-11, NLT, twice.
Let us spend some time to WONDER and DIALOGUE about this story, and bring any questions or observations we have to the table, including any historical elements, cultural customs, symbolic objects, or key word references, by using the Bible to interpret the Bible. Questions may not necessarily be answered, but will be voiced and will raise interest. For example, was Hezekiah in his sick bed, looking out his window, and did he have a death bed confession?
Let us get into the CHARACTERS of the story. What do we know about Isaiah? How do you feel when God changes his mind? When Hezekiah asked for a sign, what was Isaiah’s response? What do we know about Hezekiah? How do you feel after a sudden death sentence, your life swiftly cut short? What was on his heart? What was he thinking by testing God? Why did he choose the seemingly impossible sign? What was it like to watch nature implode?
What did we learn about GOD in this story? God works with our natural remedies to heal us. God gives generously. God is with us.
What aspects of this story or character, foreshadow the GOOD NEWS, especially in relation to what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross and through his resurrection. Look for negative things being lifted and positive things being given, then merge the two ideas into one thought when possible.
•Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed and wept bitterly. “Oh my Father, if this cup may not pass away”
•Strange weather; nature turned in on itself.
•Bright beams of God’s glory went before him, and illuminated his pathway
•Hezekiah went up into the house of the Lord, to be received our King in royal robe. For us our Lord ascended, and for us he lives, “with us always unto the end of the world.”
•Hezekiah was healed on the third day, the solemn pledge finished and fully carried out. Jesus who had vanquished death and the grave came forth from the tomb, the earth wrapped in darkness, flashes of lightening, and the roaring of thunder. “I AM the resurrection and the life.” As dead men we collapsed.
•Hezekiah’s ultimate sign was God’s presence with us; “His name shall be called, Immanuel,” to reveal the light of God’s love. For every deed of love and divine attraction, we see – God with us.
Our goal is to seriously apply this story to our life. Our challenge is to write a prayer, a poem, a song, or create something that EXPRESSes your response and share.
King lay sick in a perishing pit
like a lip line edge, flat and stiff
in a painted portrait, drip dried of strength
in the darkness, in the deeps
what speaks the prophet’s pocket?
the only fix for disease and sorrows of men
manifold words of wisdom, warnings, and woe
super natural marvels to behold
a covenant language to uphold
perhaps a poultice of figs to extract the poisonous
turn away my face in painguish
against the perpetual, safeguard wall
holy, blameless, without fault
fate trembles in the balance
pass this cup of bitterness
yes, we all lay sick in this perishing pit
but your words remain
thy will be done, pale lips submit
quick gesture expressions
art full of divine nature
say psychological in three-dimensional
~ Stacy Sweeney
“TABERNACLE IN ME”
Stairs bathed in delight
of the declining westward sun
a procession of temple shadows
stretching palace open windows
cry, cry, Hezeki, mercy shall follow
do Lord, remember me?
show me a sign
hope in this moment
faith fully informs me
Immanuel is the ultimate sign
my soul surety
bright beams of God’s glory
outshines the sun
displace dark shadow enemy
ten degrees, victory
tabernacle in me
Shiloh, Shalom, Shabbat, Shekinah
tabernacle in me
tabernacle in me
~ Stacy Sweeney