June 7: Isaiah 39

Phil Ryken
So far, so good.  At a time of personal desperation, when his life was hanging in the balance, Hezekiah threw himself on the mercy of God and prayed that he would not die, but live.  God heard the king's prayer and delivered him from death, adding fifteen years to his life.

But then King Hezekiah took a turn for the worse--not medically, but spiritually.  In Isaiah 39 we find him giving in to a couple of sins that are tempting for all of us.

One of those sins was pride.  When a group of envoys arrived from Babylon, Hezekiah was eager to show off the glories of his kingdom.  So he showed his visitors everything he owned: silver, gold, spices, oil, weaponry.  "There was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them" (Isa. 39:2).  

We infer that the king did this mainly to impress people.  Apparently, he wanted the envoys to know that Babylon was not the only glorious kingdom in the Middle East.  We face the same temptation: to do what we can to make sure that other people know about all our accomplishments.

God was not pleased with Hezekiah's pride.  Speaking through his prophet Isaiah, God told the king that one day the Babylonians would come to claim his treasure for his own.  While he was showing their envoys around his palace, they were taking inventory of their future acquisitions!

This word of judgment gave King Hezekiah an opportunity to repent.  Instead, he gave in to another temptation, namely, complacency.   

Once he realized that the attack of the Babylonians would not come until after he was dead, the king was greatly relieved.  This is good, he thought to himself: "There will be peace and security in my days" (Isa. 39:8).  Maybe his sons would be carried off into exile, but that was their problem, not his.  

Hezekiah's selfish attitude stands in total contrast to the servant heart of Jesus Christ.  Rather than passing problems along to the next generation, Jesus took upon himself God's judgment against every generation by dying for our sins.

Now Christ calls us to care for others the way he does: not seeking to avoid trouble at any cost, but doing everything we can to bless our children and grandchildren by taking on their burdens.