In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.’” So Hezekiah cries out to the Lord and the Lord says He will heal him, add fifteen years to his life, and deliver him and the city from the Assyrians for the Lord’s sake and the sake of His servant David.
The Lord’s favor is upon Hezekiah. “But Hezekiah did not repay according to the favor shown him, for his heart was lifted up; therefore wrath was looming over him and over Judah and Jerusalem.” So when the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon come to Judah to visit Hezekiah, possibly as a means to align with them against Assyria, God withdraws from Hezekiah, “in order to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart.”
Hezekiah eagerly shows the envoy from Babylon “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.”
Since Hezekiah is full of worldly pride, Isaiah rebukes Hezekiah – “Hear the word of the Lord: ‘Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and what your fathers have accumulated until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,’ says the Lord. ‘And they shall take away some of your sons who will descend from you, whom you will beget; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’ ”
And Hezekiah’s response to this terrible news – “The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good! For he said, ’Will there not be peace and truth at least in my days?’”
Hezekiah is so blinded by his success, wealth and arrogance that he doesn’t see his own foolishness. The Lord graciously gave Hezekiah fifteen extra years of life; and what did Hezekiah do with those extra years? He lived pridefully and self serving, negatively impacting future generations with his arrogant and foolish acts. Hezekiah could have used the time he spent with the Babylonian envoy to elevate the Lord and not himself. He could have testified of God’s great majesty and His holy protection and blessings upon His people. Hezekiah could have used his life to draw those pagan men to the Lord. Instead, he took that opportunity to glorify himself and not the Lord.
The day is coming when the Babylonians will return and take away all that Hezekiah flaunted before their eyes. And the Babylonians won’t just take away the material wealth, they will also take away the sons of the kings of Judah. This will occur more than a hundred years later and this is when we will meet Daniel and his friends – “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God…Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace…Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah” (Daniel 1:1-6).
The decisions that we make with the life the Lord gives us makes a difference in this world. We may never know the far reaching impact of our lives, but we should live each of our days honoring God, elevating His Name, and pointing others to Him as Lord and Savior. Keep reading.
(2 Kings 20:1-11, Isaiah 38:1-8, 2 Chronicles 32:24-31, Isaiah 38:9-22, 2 Kings 20:12-19, Isaiah 39:1-8)