I experience the full range of emotions whenever I read the account of King Hezekiah’s life in Second Kings…
The account of his miraculous healing stands out clearly in my mind, because it is a recounting of God’s grace in spite of the beneficiary’s obvious sense of entitlement. Let’s face it… Hezekiah had some issues with ego.
When Isaiah delivered God’s message to him… a message that was grace-filled in itself… he turned his back to God’s messenger, faced the wall, and addressed God on his own terms, pleading for a reprieve on the basis of his good works:
“I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.” (2 Kings 20:3)
It never fails to get to me and I keep thinking: ‘Who does this guy think he is?! Did he not know of Isaiah’s declaration that all our [collective] righteousness was as filthy rags before God? Or was that still to come?’
Thankfully, we serve a God whose very essence is love, and not some arbitrary and temperamental deity. Gracious Father that He is, He granted Hezekiah fifteen additional years, prescribed a natural remedy for eliminating his ailment, and set the sundial back ten degrees as a sign that His promise was sure.
If you ask me (and even if you don’t), Hezekiah got a pretty good deal. In light of that, you would think he would be so excited about the miracle the Almighty God had wrought in his life that speaking about the unparalleled goodness of God would be his ‘default setting’ in any company. Right?
Well… one letter and a gift [from a heathen king] later, he showed us exactly where his heart was:
“And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.” (2 Kings 20:13)
At a time in his life when he was uniquely positioned to invite unbelievers to come to know his Jehovah-Rapha (God who heals) – the real Treasure – he chose to showcase his stuff.
If Hezekiah lived in our day, he would probably have emailed, vlogged, or tweeted about his stuff. It is probably safe to say that WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat would not have been left out either but, alas, Judah had no such technology. The alternative was to take a nice, long stroll through the kingdom in order to view all of Hezekiah’s stuff… and view they did.
As annoyed as I am with Hezekiah every single time I read this account, I am acutely aware that we are not far removed from him in substance.
You see… we all have stuff (bodies, talents, family, material things, friends, etcetera) and there is nothing wrong with being grateful for the abundant blessings that God gives. Surely, we should proclaim His goodness from any platform He provides.
However, when we move from God-honouring to exhibition and self-glorification, there is an ultimate price to pay. In Hezekiah’s case, the next generation paid the price for his foolishness:
“Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD. And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” (2 Kings 20:17-19)
Scripture tells us that those things recorded in ancient times are for the benefit of those living closer to the end of prophetic time (Romans 15:4), so when we look back at Hezekiah’s story we should consider its impact on our own stories…
Six Questions To Consider
- What stories do we write with the lives God has lent us?Are we writing our stories for His glory, or for our own?
- What have we done with the platforms He has so graciously afforded our generation?
- Is there anything we can do to make more effective use of these platforms? If so, what?
- Are we drawing people to ourselves, or to the Saviour we profess to know?
- What foolishness might we need to lay aside for the sake of the next generation?
- Are we leaving behind a legacy of selflessness, or are we setting the next generation on a path to bondage?
May we never forget that all we have, and all that we are, belongs to God. The stories we write with our lives should reflect His story, as we seek to erect altars for the next generation in word and deed.
Always by His grace.