9 Minute Read
TODAY’S BIBLE READING:
2 Kings 20:1–22:2
TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
2 Kings 20:16–19 (CSB): “Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Hear the word of the Lord: “Look, the days are coming when everything in your palace and all that your fathers have stored up until today will be carried off to Babylon; nothing will be left,’ says the Lord. ‘Some of your descendants—who come from you, whom you father—will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’ ” Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good,’ for he thought: Why not, if there will be peace and security during my lifetime?”
REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
There are some passages of Scripture that should make us angry. If we are observant, we will see mindsets and behaviors that are callous toward others.
If we look even closer, we might even see ourselves.
As we read through 2 Kings, we can’t help but realize that King Hezekiah was a God-follower. Listen to one of the things that the writer of 2 Kings said about him:
2 Kings 18:3 (CSB): “He did what was right in the LORD’s sight just as his ancestor David had done.”
We also realize that Hezekiah had a powerful, fruitful prayer life. When he spoke with the Lord, he was heard and at least two big prayer requests were heard and answered by Almighty God.
First, the mighty Assyrian army invaded Judah and captured many of its cities (2 Kings 18:13-19:13). Hezekiah went into the Temple and prayed to God for protection (2 Kings 19:14-19). God answered and guaranteed that the king of Assyria would not enter Jerusalem, He killed 185 thousand soldiers in the Assyrian army, and He orchestrated the death of the king of Assyria in his homeland (2 Kings 19:20-37).
When Hezekiah prayed, God did incredible things!
Then, Hezekiah became sick. The prophet Isaiah told him to get his house in order because he wouldn’t recover from the illness (2 Kings 20:1). Hezekiah “turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD” (2 Kings 20:2-3). God heard his prayer and sent Isaiah back to say that God had heard his prayer and was giving him 15 more years to live (2 Kings 20:4-11).
When Hezekiah prayed, God did incredible things!
But, then we get to another scenario. Hezekiah welcomed an entourage from Babylon and showed them all of his wealth. He thought it was a harmless act but Isaiah was upset. God was going to bring judgment upon Judah.
2 Kings 20:16-18 (CSB): “Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Hear the word of the LORD: “Look, the days are coming when everything in your palace and all that your fathers have stored up until today will be carried off to Babylon; nothing will be left,” says the LORD. “Some of your descendants—who come from you, whom you father—will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” ‘ “
God’s judgment would come in the form of captivity. Not only would the treasures of Judah be taken to Babylon but so would Hezekiah’s descendants. Some of the people that would come from Hezekiah’s body (maybe his great-grandkids and his great-great-grandkids) would be taken as captives to Babylon. The males would have their body mutilated so that they would not be able to continue to increase the family line of Hezekiah.
So, how did Hezekiah respond? Previously, he had prayed when he was surrounded by the army of Assyria – and God powerfully answered him. Previously, he had prayed when he was told that his death was imminent – and God powerfully answered him.
How would Hezekiah respond when he heard of God’s judgment upon his great-grandkids?
2 Kings 20:19 (CSB): “Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘The word of the LORD that you have spoken is good,’ for he thought: Why not, if there will be peace and security during my lifetime?”
As we hear Hezekiah’s words, we cannot help but feel sick to our stomach. He heard the prophet Isaiah pronounce judgment from God upon his descendants. Yet, we read that Hezekiah was simply glad that the judgment would not happen in his time.
The interesting thing is that when judgment was pronounced upon Hezekiah a few verses earlier, and his death was predetermined, he wept and God blessed him with 15 more years. He understood that God responded to prayer and could hold back his judgment. But when judgment was pronounced upon his descendants, he did nothing.
Clearly, Hezekiah was distraught when bad things were about to happen to him. But, when bad things were threatened against his great-grandkids, he didn’t care.
Friend, we often tend to be no different.
When it comes to things like our national (American) debt, we are simply kicking the can down the road. While we are making choices as a nation that keep us reasonably comfortable, our current choices will be a burden upon our descendants that might crush them. And judging by the fact that the debt continues to balloon, people today just don’t care about their descendants.
Regarding the issue of abortion, our contemporary (American) culture continues to seek to normalize the slaughter of the unborn. And when the Bible is kicked out from under a society, morals become fluid. They change with the winds of culture. I believe that the current normalization of abortion is solidifying a culture of death. Our current culture is making decisions that will eventually normalize euthanasia for our descendants. And what happens when euthanasia is normalized and our nation’s debt can no longer allow for the elderly to take up space in long-term care facilities? Required, forced euthanasia? But, who cares? At least we won’t have to worry about it. (Sarcasm is dripping from every word of my previous statements.)
On and on I could go about how we demonstrate the kind of attitude that Hezekiah had. When bad things threaten us, we pray! But, when we are doing things that would bring bad things upon our descendants, it doesn’t phase us.
Let me end by applying it to the Christian community.
So many Christians are content to “do church” in a way that suits them but guarantees the eventual death of that church.
Far too many of our churches are filled with people who are content with a spiritual apathy that is more akin to the church at Ephesus (that had abandoned its first love – Revelation 2:4) or the church at Laodicea (that had become apathetic and nauseatic to Jesus – Revelation 3:16) than the church found in the book of Acts. So, God’s presence is rarely if ever present. While this spiritual dearth guarantees that the church is going to die, so many contemporary Christians don’t care … as long as the church is around until they walk through death’s door.
Further, many in our churches insist on “doing church” the way that makes them comfortable rather than in a way that honors the Lord and brings in new disciples. Maybe its the worship style, or the aesthetics, or the way things get done. Just as long as it is comfortable and predictable for the members, they don’t care what happens after they die.
So, our current culture is doing church spiritually and systemically the way that makes its members feel good … but guarantees that the church will not be viable for our descendants.
And so many in our church pews don’t care. They are about their own comfort but they don’t care about the condition that the church will be in for the next generations.
When we read about Hezekiah and observe that he cared about himself but cared little for his descendants, it should nauseate us!
May we determine in our hearts never to have that same attitude. May we care just as much, or more(!), about those who are coming after us than we do about ourselves. May we pursue spiritual and systemic viability in our churches so that we leave a godly heritage and a godly church to those who will follow us.