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Chinese2/9/2006English
經文:歷代志下卅二至卅三章
鑰節:「與他們同在的是肉臂,與我們同在的是耶和華我們的上帝。祂必幫助我們,為我們爭戰。……」(32:8)
提要

        雖然希西家給猶大國帶來復興,他在位時也不是沒有困擾。正直和不義的人都會遇到困難,所不同的是,上帝會解救正直的人,以此建立祂兒女的信心,並給祂帶來祂應得的榮耀。亞述人入侵猶大,揚言要拿下耶路撒冷,對希西家確實是一大試煉,考驗他的信心。當他聽到亞述的軍隊要來包圍耶路撒冷時,他立即加強了城市的防禦,並加配武器。先知以賽亞責備他這一點,因為這正顯示他想倚靠自己的力量,遠過於倚靠上帝(賽22:9~11)。希西家的另一個顧慮,是亞述人威脅要堵住城牆外面的泉水。他非常聰明地鑿出地下水道,由基訓的泉源引水到城內的水池,以防城市長久被圍(32:3~4,30)。

        以賽亞的話勢必影響了希西家,使他後來去鼓勵那些軍事將領。他的話結合了自己的信心,認為上帝必會解救他們,不管敵軍人數多少。西拿基立倚靠「肉臂」,全憑血氣作戰,而希西家卻是伴同上帝聖靈的手臂作戰(32:7~8;參弗6:10~2,林後10:3~5)。當時猶大國軍隊的戰力頗弱,因為在亞哈斯統治時損耗太多。

        列王紀下十八章十三節到十九章卅七節同性質的記載,提供了關乎亞述人的入侵,和希西家的回應,更詳細的情節。歷代志只提供了事件的摘要,對於西拿基立的威脅,記載的節數也很短。他的代表說出褻瀆以色列的上帝的話,並揚言沒有力量能夠阻止得了他。他用希伯來話,叫囂著以上的謾罵,意圖使這城繳械投降。希西家熱切地祈禱,加之以賽亞的勸告,使他滿懷信心和勇氣。主聽了他的祈求,滅命的天使到訪亞述人的軍營,使他們多人喪命。永活全能的上帝審判了他們褻瀆的罪;上帝是輕慢不得的(請看王下18及19章的註釋,可得補充的分析)。

        如同所羅門王一樣,希西家的名聲遠播,在他的統治期間,國家變得非常繁榮。有關希西家治理的記載,歷代志作者小心地指出,希西家的成功是由於他榮耀上帝,全心尋求祂,並遵守祂的律法(31:21;32:22、29)。不過,希西家也不是全然無罪。有兩次,他的驕傲為他惹了麻煩,但是因為他在上帝的面前自卑,主對猶大國的憤怒也就延後了(欲知進一步細節,看王下30章的註釋)。

        可悲的,希西家的兒子瑪拿西是猶大國最惡的王之一。他帶回偶像並引誘全國,比古時候迦南人所犯的拜偶像之罪更甚。他在全國放滿了偶像,並把聖殿也獻給牠們。瑪拿西像他的祖父亞哈斯,也用活人獻祭,並且敬拜巴力。他又深入各種邪術,包括詢問巫師,不顧上帝先知的警告(33:10)。上主給他的在位時間比其他諸王更長,藉此讓他有充裕的時間悔改,並事奉祂。

        至終,主讓瑪拿西謙卑下跪,不過他卻被擄到巴比倫下獄。因著誠心的悔悟,主才高舉了他,助他回復猶大國王之位。主的恩典與寬容,真是奇妙!瑪拿西的宗教改革,與他真誠的悔改和轉變,密切相關。當一個人真心在主面前悔改,他的行動會反映出內心的變化。

        瑪拿西的兒子亞們倣效他父親的邪惡行徑。結果呢?他治理時間很短,只有兩年,並被暗殺。他從未降卑自己在主面前,也沒有悔改自己的罪,真是可悲。

禱告

主,我們知道希西家的兒子沒有效法他父親走正直的道路。可能是因為瑪拿西的母親沒有跟隨您,而影響了他;也可能是由於瑪拿西自己的背逆。上帝,保守我們的孩子忠誠地跟隨您。奉耶穌基督的名禱告,阿們。

English

Scriptures:Read 2 Chronicles 32&33
Key Verse:"With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles..."(2 Chronicles 32:8)
Overview

        Although Hezekiah brought revival to Judah, his reign was not without problems. Troubles come to the just and to the unjust; the difference is that God brings deliverance for the just. This builds His children's faith and brings Him the glory He deserves. The Assyrian invasion of Judah and their threat of taking Jerusalem were certainly trials for Hezekiah, testing his faith. He immediately strengthened the fortifications of the city and made additional weapons when he heard that the Assyrian army was coming to lay seige to Jerusalem. The prophet Isaiah rebuked him for this, since it showed a dependence upon their own strength rather than on God (Isaiah 22:9-11). Another measure Hezekiah took because of the Assyrian threat was to plug the springs outside the city wall. In an ingenious way, he had an underground tunnel cut out of the rock to bring water from the spring of Gihon to the Pool of Siloam within the city in case there was a long seige (32:3-4, 30).

        Isaiah's words must have influenced Hezekiah for he later encouraged the military leaders. His words attested to his faith that God was able to deliver them, no matter how outnumbered they might be. Sennacherib was fighting with an "arm of flesh" (in the natural realm), but Hezekiah was fighting with the arm of the Spirit of God (in the spiritual realm, 32:7-8; cf. Ephesians 6:10-12; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5). At that point, Judah's military strength had been weakened because of the many losses under the reign of Ahaz.

        The parallel account in 2 Kings 18:13-19:37 gives more details of the Assyrian invasion and Hezekiah's reaction. Chronicles gives a summary of the events and a shorter version of Sennacherib's threats, spoken by his representative, in which he blasphemed the God of Israel, saying no power could stop him. By shouting these abuses in the Hebrew vernacular, he attempted to bring about the surrender of the city. Hezekiah fervently prayed, and with Isaiah's admonitions he was encouraged in his faith. The Lord heard their prayers; the death angel visited the Assyrian camp and a great number died. The living and all-powerful God judged them for their sin of blasphemy; He will not be mocked (for a supplementary analysis see commentary on 2 Kings 18 & 19).

        As with King Solomon, Hezekiah's fame spread and during his reign the nation became very prosperous. In the account of Hezekiah's reign, the chronicler is careful to note that the reason for Hezekiah's success was that he honoured God, sought Him with his whole heart, and obeyed His Law (31:21; 32:22, 29). However, Hezekiah was not without sin: on two occasions his pride had been a problem, but because he humbled himself before the Lord, the wrath of God upon Judah was postponed (for further details see commentary on 2 Kings 20).

        Sadly, Hezekiah's son Manasseh was one of the most wicked kings of Judah. He brought back idolatry and seduced the nation to do more evil than the Canaanites who had occupied the land before them. He filled the land with idolatry and desecrated the Temple with idols. Like his grandfather Ahaz, Manasseh practiced human sacrifice, and worshipped Baal. He also delved into all manners of occultism, including consulting witches, but ignored the warnings of God's prophets (33:10). The Lord gave him the longest reign of any king of Judah, thus giving him ample time to repent and serve Him.

        Eventually, the Lord brought Manasseh to his knees, but it took his own captivity and imprisonment in Babylon. Upon his sincere repentance, the Lord lifted him up and restored him as king in Judah (33:11-13). The grace and forgiveness of the Lord is truly amazing! Manasseh's religious reforms attested to the sincerity of his repentance and conversion. When one is truly repentant before the Lord, his actions will reflect the change in his heart.

        Manasseh's son Amon, however, patterned his life after his father's evil days. The result? He had a very short reign of only two years and was assassinated. Sadly, he never humbled himself before the Lord nor repented of his sin.

Prayer

        Lord, we understand that Hezekiah's son did not follow his father's righteous path. Perhaps it was Manasseh's mother who did not follow you who influenced him much more than his father or perhaps it was simply Manasseh's own willful decision against You. Cod keep our children following You faithfully. Amen.


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