Summary: Children inherit physical traits and even personality traits from their parents. But the one thing that they can not inherit is Salvation that alone comes from Jesus Christ.
Can you remember a time when you went to the fridge and reached for the milk only to discover that it was past its expiration date?
At that moment in time you had two choices to make - I can pour this milk on my cereal and take my chances that it just might be O.K. After all these expiration dates are just a guideline - aren’t they? Or you could say - oh my the milk has gone bad - and without even smelling it or tasting it to see if it has gone bad you can pour it down the drain and consider it all lost.
Today’s scripture passage is an example of how God reaches out to us when we are at our expiration date and how God’s grace keeps us from becoming spoiled milk.
We will look at the lives of a Father and a Son who exemplify that spiritual dilemma. On the one hand we have a King who rights a wrong that his father had made by bringing the people of Judah back to worshiping the living God. Then in contrast we have the Kings son who grew up watching how his Father turned the people back to the Lord but decide it's not the spiritual path for him as he leads the nation astray as never before.
How and why does this happen. It happened to a God fearing King and it still happens today that our children who grow up in Christian homes can fail to follow the example of their Christian parents and go off to be so far from the Lord that we wonder if they will ever find their way back.
King Hezekiah was at that point in his life when he had reached his expiration date. The prophet of God - Isaiah had visited him and had given him the grim news. All this while the King was under attack and the city of Jerusalem was about to fall.
It is then that the King turns to God and pleads for mercy. The King then begins to list all the wonderful things he has done in service for the Lord and weeps bitterly. The Lord is moved with compassion and let's King Hezekiah know that he will be granted fifteen more years of life. King Hezekiah did not ask for it but God is pouring out His grace on the King as a gift.
Also 180,000 of the enemy’s soldiers are killed by the hand of God at the gates of Jerusalem and the city is saved and the King is looked on as a hero.
Hezekiah see's all of this as an affirmation that his good works have bought him some valuable time.
2 Chronicles 32:24-25 tells us:
24 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. He prayed to the LORD, who answered him and gave him a miraculous sign. 25 But 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.
Friend has there been a time in your life when you realized that your expiration date was past due?
Maybe it was a medical emergency like King Hezekiah here or maybe it was some other pivotal event in your life? Was there a time for you where the rubber met the road and you realized that your only hope rested in the Grace of God?
What did you do?
Did you call out like King Hezekiah and plead for mercy based on what you had done for the Lord?
Did you attempt to bargain for your soul in that dark hour?
Maybe it was this singular event that finally brought you to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ?
Whatever your spiritual standing at that time you realized that you became the recipient of God's Great Grace as your expiration date was extended.
It was not a reward for anything you had done.
It does not matter how our Christian resumes read - pastor - elder-deacon - moderator - or Sunday school teacher all our so called Christian achievements can not buy us the Great Grace of God.
It is not purchased by our acts of repentance no matter how dramatic or sincere or sensational - it is the gift of God so that no one can boast. Hezekiah failed to realize that fact and he became a proud servant of the Living God.
That pride was seen by his young son Manasseh who was watching his Father in order to learn how a King should act, how a King should live before God and the subjects of the kingdom.
Friends are there some among us who are guilty of this same pride in our Christian lives? Have we forgotten that we are sinners deserving of the full wrath of God? I think we see this attitude all across our land of churches and saints. We seem to have forgotten that it is God who makes Saints and who calls churches.