Summary: Hezekiah was blessed for his pursuit of God. We too can be blessed if we follow the example of Hezekiah.
THE PURSUIT OF GOD
INTRODUCTION: One of the worst kings of Judah, Asa, was succeeded by one of the best. Of no other king of Israel or Judah, other than David, is it said that the Lord was with him. God blessed and prospered Hezekiah. II Chronicles 32, tells us that God gave Hezekiah great wealth and caused him to succeed in all his endeavors. Unlike other kings of Judah and Israel, wealth and power did not corrupt him. The reason for his success was a trust in God. Hezekiah’s faith was not a mere idle profession. It was not simply a belief in certain historical facts. It was not the mere observance of outward religious ritual and ceremonies. His faith was real, extending to the whole of his life and evidenced by his pursuit of God. In verse six, we read, "For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses." In our Happiness is a Choice Support Group, we discussed Dr. Frank Minirth & Dr. Paul Meier’s explanation of the Hebrew word for “cleave” in verse 6. They state that the word implies friendship, implies a longing to be with someone, implies enjoyment in being with that someone, implies spending time together, implies to be intensely in pursuit of that person. (Happiness is a Choice, Frank Minirth and Paul Meier, Baker Book House, 1994, page 142)
I. Can it be said of you that you are in the pursuit of God?
A. Is Jesus Christ truly your closest friend? And more importantly, are you God’s friend?
1. James 2:23 "And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God."
2. Tony Campolo says, “God carries your picture in his wallet.” (Christian speaker. Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 1.) The question is do you carry His picture in your heart?
B. Do you long for His presence?
1. Psalms 63:1 "A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsts for You, my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land…”
2. Jim Elliot in his Journal wrote, “I walked out to the hill just now. It is exalting, delicious. To stand embraced by the shadows of a friendly tree with the wind tugging at your coattail and the heavens hailing your heart, to gaze and glory and to give oneself again to God, what more could a man ask? Oh, the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth. I care not if I never raise my voice again for Him, if only I may love Him, please Him. Mayhap, in mercy, He shall give me a host of children that I may lead through the vast star fields to explore His delicacies whose fingers’ ends set them to burning. But if not, if only I may see Him, smell His garments, and smile into my Lover’s eyes, ah, then, not stars, nor children, shall matter--only Himself. (The Journals of Jim Elliot; entry of January 16, 1951. Christianity Today, Vol. 39, no. 7.)
C. Do you enjoy being in His house, reading His Word,
1. Psalms 119:16 "I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word."
2. Psalms 119:103 "How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"
D. How much time do you spend with Him?
1. Real prayer is a serious concern, for we are speaking to the sovereign Lord of all the universe, who is willing to move heaven and earth in answer to sincere and reasonable prayer. Prayer is not a mechanical duty, but a wonderful opportunity to develop a loving and caring relationship with the most important Person in our lives.
2. How much time does it take to read from Genesis to Revelation? If you would read the Bible at standard pulpit speed (slow enough to be heard and understood) the reading time would be seventy-one hours. If you would break that down into minutes and divide it into 365 days you could read the entire Bible, cover to cover, in only twelve minutes a day. Is this really too much time to spend reading about God?
3. Where did we come up with this concept of "spare time," anyway? Is there any time for which we aren’t accountable to God? Is there any time during which God doesn’t care what you are doing? No Christian has ever had spare time. You may have spare time from labor or necessity, you may stop working and refresh yourself, but no Christian ever had time off from living like a Christian.