Word spread about how Hezekiah was raised from his sickbed at the very point of death and how God gave him an amazing sign by causing the hours of the day to be extended. Hezekiah’s response? He became prideful. God’s reaction to Hezekiah’s response? “The Lord’s anger came against him and against Judah and Jerusalem” (II Chronicles 32:25b, NLT).
“Soon after this, Merodach-baladan son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent Hezekiah his best wishes and a gift, for he had heard that Hezekiah had been very sick. Hezekiah received the Babylonian envoys and showed them everything in his treasure-houses – the silver, the gold, the spices, and the aromatic oils. He also took them to see his armory and showed them everything in his royal treasuries! There was nothing in his palace or kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them” (II Kings 20:12-13).
Why is it we humans so enjoy showing off stuff that will never last into eternity? Why do we put such a high value on things that are absolutely temporal? We love to show off our houses and cars and jewelry and furniture and all the things that we won’t be taking with us to heaven. How often do we show off the One who paid our ticket to get there?
So Hezekiah puffs out his chest, fans out the wealth of Judah like a strutting peacock, and gets the full attention of the godless pagans who came to visit. “Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked him, ‘What did those men want? Where were they from?’ Hezekiah replied, ‘They came from the distant land of Babylon.’ ‘What did they see in your palace?’ Isaiah asked. ‘They saw everything,’ Hezekiah replied. ‘I showed them everything I own – all my royal treasuries” (II Kings 20:14-15).
Do you think for one skinny minute that Isaiah didn’t already know where these guys were from? Of course he did! But he wanted Hezekiah to turn his brain on for a second and think about what he’d just done. And maybe Isaiah even wanted him to think about what he’d just said: “I.” “My.” “I showed them everything I own – all my royal treasuries.” From the sounds of things, the God of Judah didn’t get a lot of credit for all Hezekiah was showing, or for the fact that he was alive and able to show it all off.
“Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Listen to this message from the Lord: The time is coming when everything in your palace – all the treasures stored up by your ancestors until now – will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. Some of your very own sons will be taken away into exile. They will become eunuchs who will serve in the palace of Babylon’s king” (II Kings 20:16-18).
In other words, if you, Hezekiah, if you’re so focused on displaying YOUR wealth and YOUR majesty to these people who have no respect for Me whatsoever, then I’m going to let them have it. All of it. Including “your very own sons.”
None of this took place during Hezekiah’s lifetime, but he went to his grave knowing that this time was coming. He also went knowing why.
Live so that your life has fewer and fewer regrets. Live for Jesus.
“I imitate Christ” (the apostle Paul, I Corinthians 11:1b).
“…first being ourselves what we want our children to be.” (Andrew Murray)
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates