19. GOD KNOWS HOW CIRCUMSTANCES WILL UNFOLD & CAN EVEN CAUSE THEM TO UNFOLD AS HE DESIRES.
II Kings 13:18,19 - "Then he said, 'Take the arrows'; so he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, 'Strike the ground'; so he struck three times and stopped. And the man of God was angry with him, and said, 'You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have struck Syria till you had destroyed it! But now you will strike Syria only three times.'"
Whether we admit it or not, the opportunities we have are limited by God's will in ways we cannot ascertain. In this particular case, God would align circumstances so that three--and only three--attacks would be made. This would be true no matter what the humans involved planned to the contrary. God's providence is amazing and beyond our comprehension (cf. Rom. 8:28)!
20. IT IS POSSIBLE TO FEAR THE LORD IN FORM BUT NOT IN SPIRIT.
II Kings 17:32-34 - "So they feared the LORD, and from every class they appointed for themselves priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the shrines of the high places. They feared the LORD, yet served their own gods--according to the rituals of the nations from among whom they were carried away. To this day they continue practicing the former rituals; they do not fear the LORD, nor do they follow their statutes or their ordinances, or the law and commandments which the LORD has commanded the children of Jacob, whom He named Israel."
The passage appears contradictory initially, affirming that "they feared the LORD" and "they do not fear the LORD", while the same group of people is under consideration. The solution, it would seem, is that the people claimed to fear God, and regarding some external rituals they did. However, their heart was not exclusively Jehovah's (cf. Deut. 6:4-6). They worshiped other gods, and thus they didn't genuinely fear God as He expects and requires. Today we must be careful not to fear God only in form but in spirit, too (cf. John 4:24). It is not enough to be partially devoted to God; He demands we love and serve Him above all else (cf. Luke 14:26; Matt. 22:37,38).
21. THERE IS ONLY ONE TRUE & LIVING GOD.
II Kings 19:16-19:
"Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear; open Your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. Truly, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were not gods, but the work of men's hands--wood and stone. Therefore they destroyed them. Now therefore, O LORD our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the LORD God, You alone."Hezekiah knew there was no real comparison between false gods made by human craftsmen and the only true and living God. Thus, he prayed to Jehovah, and God heard and answered Hezekiah's prayer. In one night, the angel of the LORD slew 185,000 (cf. 19:35)!
22. VANITY OFTEN LEADS TO RUIN.
II Kings 20:13 - "And Hezekiah was attentive to them, and showed them all the house of his treasures--the silver and gold, the spices and precious ointment, and all his armory--all that was found among his treasures. There was nothing in his house or in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them."
Hezekiah was so proud that he confidently showed off everything of value he owned. This was foolish, as Isaiah implied in the following verses. Those today who are very blessed materially must guard themselves against this type of vanity.