“And Hezekiah had very great riches and honor, and he made for himself treasuries for silver, for gold, for precious stones, for spices, for shields, and for all kinds of costly vessels; storehouses also for the yield of grain, wine, and oil; and stalls for all kinds of cattle, and sheepfolds. He likewise provided cities for himself, and flocks and herds in abundance, for God had given him very great possessions. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works. And so in the matter of the envoys of the princes of Babylon, who had been sent to him to inquire about the sign that had been done in the land, God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart. But Hezekiah did not make return according to the benefit done to him, for his heart was proud.” 2 Chronicles 32:27-31;25
“At that time Merodach-baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that Hezekiah had been sick. And Hezekiah welcomed them, and he showed them all his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his armory, all that was found in his storehouses. There was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them. Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah, and said to him, ‘What did these men say? And from where did they come to you?’ And Hezekiah said, ‘They have come from a far country, from Babylon.’ He said, ‘What have they seen in your house?’ And Hezekiah answered, ‘They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them.’ Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Hear the word of the Lord: Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord.’” 2 Kings 20:12-17
I love King Hezekiah, have always been moved by his whole heart for God, his expense of will, effort, energy in leading his people for God’s cause and glory. And I get frustrated at his lapse near the end of his life- I want him to be perfect! But gracious God, as He always does, keeps interest in our hearts, and gives a test by way of an envoy from Babylon who visits him after he’s healed from what would have been a life-ending illness. We’re told humble, righteous Hezekiah allows the puff of his success to gnarl into pride, and once he opens a door, he can’t stop opening. Is the order, the beauty, the sheer amount of his treasure, intoxicating? Has it become an idol he can’t help but flaunt? His new identity before fawning foreigners? Surely, it is his downfall, a sad decline after a life spent for his God.
Yet God, Who is rich in mercy, intervenes. “But Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart…so that the wrath of God did not come upon them in [his] days.” (2 Chronicles 32:26)
What has God entrusted to me that I am tempted to call my own, to claim as my accomplishment? Where am I tempted to security in my buffer, or beautiful things, or comforts? Is there anything I have valued that has taken on too much value to me- family members? Role or position? Work? Relationships? Place or things? In what areas am I tempted to treasure first anything apart from Christ? (Matthew 6:19-21,33)
Lord, You give such bounty. May I never ‘graze and become full, and being filled, let my heart be lifted up.’ With a loose hold on every treasure, may I love You with all my heart, mind, soul and strength, and ever voice Your excellencies and praise. (Hosea 3:6; Matthew 6:22:37)