OVERCOMING INSUFFICIENT GRATITUDE
Again, we want to wish all our readers a healthy, wealthy, Christ-filled, destiny fulfilling New Year.
2 Chronicles 32:24-26 AMP: In those days Hezekiah was sick to the point of death; and he prayed to the Lord and He answered him and gave him a sign. (25) But Hezekiah did not make return [to the Lord] according to the benefit done to him, for his heart became proud [at such a spectacular response to his prayer]; therefore there was wrath upon him and upon Judah and Jerusalem. (26) But Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.
Here the Holy Spirit reveals to us the infirmity of the heart of an otherwise good man, Hezekiah: insufficient gratitude.
Hezekiah did not make return to the Lord according to the benefit done to him: he was not sufficiently grateful.
This heart infirmity is very common among many, otherwise good, Christians who are like Hezekiah.
What causes this condition?
The residual sin nature in the soul: mind, will and emotions causing the heart to be deceitful and wicked:
Jeremiah 17:9 MKJV: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
How can this condition be corrected?
By honesty of heart: admitting that this condition is there:
Psalms 19:12 KJV: Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults.
2 Peter 1:2-4 MKJV: Grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, (3) according as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who has called us to glory and virtue, (4) through which He has given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, so by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
2 Corinthians 7:1 MKJV: then having these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilements of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Romans 8:26 MKJV: Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Galatians 4:19 KJV: My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,
Furthermore, we are to think deeply about the blessings God has given to us and so be deeply grateful and then express this gratitude at three levels:
1. Words in prayer, praise and worship (Phil. 4:6, Col 4:2, 1 Th.5:17) both in the understanding and in tongues (1 Cor. 14:15-17).
2. Financial and material: giving to God by giving of tithes and offerings (Mal. 3:8-12).
3. A lifestyle pleasing to God:
Romans 12:1 AMP: I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.
John 4:24 AMP: God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (reality).
Showing gratitude with our lifestyle is what will cause our gratitude to be sufficient as words and gifts alone, though good, will not be sufficient so we will not be like the hypocrites spoken of in
Matthew 15:7-8 NIV: You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: (8) “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
Matthew 23:23 NIV: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
We are to learn from Hezekiah’s mistake: He did good physical works but neglected spiritual work (like the Ephesian Church in Rev. 2:1-5) on his heart using the Word of God as instructed by God through Moses in
Deuteronomy 17:18-20 MKJV: And it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write a copy of this Law in a book from before the priests, the Levites. (19) And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, so that he may learn to fear Jehovah his God, to keep all the words of this Law, and these statutes, to do them, (20) so that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he does not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, so that he may make his days longer in his kingdom, he and his sons, in the midst of Israel.
The pride and selfishness in Hezekiah’s heart is shown in how he showed off his riches to the messengers from Babylon and his response to the rebuke of God through Isaiah:
2 Chronicles 32:31 MKJV: But, in regard to the ambassadors of the rulers of Babylon who sent to him to ask about the wonder that was done in the land, God left him in order to try him, to know all that was in his heart.
Isaiah 39:2-8 MKJV: And Hezekiah rejoiced over them, and let them see the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armor, and all that was found in his treasures. There was nothing in his house, nor in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not let them see. (3) Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah, and said to him, What did these men say? And where did they come from to you? And Hezekiah said, They have come from a far country to me, from Babylon. (4) Then he said, What have they seen in your house? And Hezekiah answered, All that is in my house they have seen; there is nothing among my treasures that I have not let them see. (5) Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, Hear the Word of Jehovah of Hosts. (6) Behold, the days come when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says Jehovah. (7) And of your sons which shall issue from you, which you shall bring out, they shall take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon. (8) Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, Good is the Word of Jehovah which you have spoken. And he said, For there shall be peace and truth in my days.
Instead of repenting and seeking God in fasting and prayer (like he did when he was sick and going to die Is. 38:1-9) Hezekiah was only concerned about himself and not his children. So he gave birth to one of the most wicked kings in Judah: Manasseh who had to be severely afflicted before he repented (2 Chr.33:11-20).
Had Hezekiah used the Word and power of the Holy Spirit (Mt. 22:29) to correct his heart infirmity of pride, insufficient gratitude and selfishness, he would have lived longer to be able train up (Pr. 22:6) Manasseh properly who would then have served God from his youth. It is ironic and poetic divine justice that Manasseh, who was initially more disobedient than his father lived longer than Hezekiah (2 Chr. 29:1; 33:1).
Proverbs 9:10-11 MKJV: The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom; and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (11) For by Me your days shall be multiplied, and the years of your life shall be increased.
So let us use the blood (Heb. 13:20-21), the Word (1 Jn. 2:5) and the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Jn. 4:12-13) to perfect the love of God in our hearts and so overcome the infirmity of insufficient gratitude.