Hezekiah’s Selfishness

Scripture: And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” “The word of the Lord you have spoken is good,” Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my lifetime.”
Isaiah 39:7,8 NIV

Observation: Isaiah records here the words of King Hezekiah after informing him that his descendants will suffer greatly under a harsh ruler. Isaiah tells Hezekiah that the king of Babylon will take his countrymen, children, and children’s children into captivity. His response is very self-serving.
This passage has left me wondering for years as I would read it. Here was a “come in and clean house” king. He was totally sold out for God and not ashamed of his fervor to turn Israel back to worshiping and serving the one true God. Yet, after being spared by God and allowed to live fifteen years longer, he undermines his own country’s security. When told of the likely consequences he answers that at least it won’t affect him. Those two attitudes he displays have never jibed in my mind. I checked the “Contrib” section of my on-line bible for another’s understanding and application of verses 7 & 8 of Isaiah 39.  My “Application” today is courtesy of “bennettc2969” and is entitled “Hezekiah’s Selfish Sin.”

Application: I can’t help but respond to this on two levels. 1) So many Christians filter life through this world view – concern only for the now. They worry little about fully equipping their children and children’s children for kingdom living. 2) More tragically, many ministers also process ministry this way. We ignore the hints that the way we minister will one day grow irrelevant because, “Hey! We’re growing!” Oh, how many times I’ve seen this. Growth today doesn’t guarantee relevance tomorrow. This has been shown quite clearly with the seeker-sensitive movement. The message was kept simple and hype was emphasized while Biblical mandates such as church discipline were ignored. Courageous people like Bill Hybels admitted that they made a mistake (while the “dogmatists” rejoiced in glee).
Unlike Hezekiah, we should care very deeply about what happens to our children. We should not grow arrogant and rest on our laurels just because we experience success in the now. Ministry must be geared toward the total discipleship of our people, young and old.

Prayer: Father, help me to care for others more than myself. Today’s author spoke specifically of the sin of selfishness in ministry. I need to understand that selfishness doesn’t belong in any Christian’s life. Help me to care what happens to others as much as I care what happens to me. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen


2 Replies to “Hezekiah’s Selfishness”

  1. Doug;

    An interesting question to ask yourself here is what message you would have expected Isaiah to bring from God. If you did not know the message from already having read it, would you not suppose that God would punish immediately and dramatically – or at least might?

    Against what God might have done, and had the full right and reason to do in his justice, the forbearance of such grievous sin shows the great mercy of God. Indeed, were it not for God’s patient forbearance, mankind would have been wiped from the face of the earth long before Hezekiah!

    It seems unlikely that Hezekiah means by his words that he does not feel punished, or deeply saddened by the judgement and wrath upon his posterity; but just that he expresses that most important response a sinner makes – gratitude for the unmerited mercy of God. Indeed, as the coming Biblical narrative will show, it is this very mercy and forbearance here seen which leads to the redemption of mankind by Christ’s death upon the cross and Christ’s reign as King everlasting.

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