Wednesday Morning Devotion – 2/7/07 (Hezekiah’s Mistakes)

(1) At that time the king of Babylon, Merodach-Baladan, son of Baladan, sent messengers with a gift for Hezekiah, because he heard that he had been sick, and had recovered. (2) Hezekiah was delighted about their visit, and he showed them his treasure-house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the fine oil, in fact, everything he had stored up, and everything that was in his treasuries. There was nothing that Hezekiah didn’t show them in his palace or in his kingdom. (3) Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah and asked, “What did these men say, and where did they come from?”

Hezekiah said, “They came to me from a distant land, from Babylon!”

(4) But he asked, “What have they seen in your house?”

“They have seen everything that is in my house. There is nothing that I have not shown them in my treasuries.”

(5) Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Here the word of YHWH of Hosts:

(6) ‘Take note! Days are coming when everything that is in your house will be carried away to Babylon, along with the things your ancestors have stored up through the present. Nothing will remain,’ says YHWH. (7) ‘And some among your descendants that you will father will be taken and will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.'”

(8) And Hezekiah said, “YHWH’s word that you have spoken is good.” Then he said, “Because there will be peace and stability in my time.” — Isaiah 39:1-8

I hope you spent some time thinking about the question: What have they seen in your house? It’s an important one!

In chapters 36-38 of Isaiah we see a very different view of King Hezekiah than we see in chapter 39. There his first reaction is to consult with the prophet. He listens to what the prophet has to say. He spends his time in prayer. He lays out his problems before God. If we only had those chapters, we could say that Hezekiah was truly and fully a man of God, without exception. But unfortunately there is this one exception.

What is the difference between the Hezekiah of chapters 36-38 and the one we meet in chapter 39? It’s quite simple! In chapters 36-38, Hezekiah was in trouble. He saw no possibility of escape, whether from the king of Assyria, or from his own illness. In trouble, Hezekiah looked to the Lord.

In chapter 39 we find him rescued from the Assyrians, and cured of his own illness. Now he wants to establish his own place of safety. He’s going to find allies and make sure that none of these things happen to him again.

Hezekiah’s response to the question, “What have they seen in your house?” is that they have seen Hezekiah, and how important he is. They have not heard the whole story. They were not introduced to the prophet. Isaiah was an embarrassment at that point, the person that Hezekiah had needed in his weakness.

There’s one more thing, though. Hezekiah’s response to the judgment was thoughtless. There will be peace while I’m alive. None of it matters, because Hezekiah is safe. He wasn’t even concerned that his own son might be carried into exile.

The true answer to this major question will tell whether you are on God’s program, or whether you are pursuing your own agenda. Have they seen all the temporary things that make you happy and comfortable, or have they felt the presence of the Lord? Was the focus temporal and short term, or was it eternal?

(6) A voice said, “Call out!”
And I said, “What shall I call out?”
“All humanity is like grass,
and its faithfulness like a wildflower.
(7) The grass dries up,
The flower fades,
Because YHWH’s wind blows on them.
Indeed! The people are like grass.
(8) The grass dries up!
The flower fades!
But God’s proclamation stands forever.” — Isaiah 40:6-8

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