“Hezekiah had very great riches and honor… He provided cities for himself, and flocks and herds in abundance, for God had given him very great possessions. [He] closed the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them down to the west side of the city of David. [He] prospered in all his works.” “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 [him], and said,..‘What have [these men] 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.‘” 2 Chronicles 32:27,29-30; 2 Kings 20:12-17
“And so in the matter of the envoys of the princes of Babylon, who had been sent to him.., God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart. Hezekiah did not make return according to the benefit done to him, for his heart was proud. But Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart.” 2 Chronicles 32:25-26,31
Faced with the prospect of losing everything due to impending death from illness, king Hezekiah wept before the Lord, Who in mercy healed him to extend his life. But something from this divine favor tainted his humble heart. Pride sprouted and came to flower, and its intoxicating scent caused Hezekiah to stagger and fail God’s test of devotion. By God’s grace, the king eventually repented before life’s end, but not without shame, loss of reputation and standing, and prophetic doom for Judah.
Why is it that we can start so right, and get tripped up by successes and things that our affections warp and sour and get so misaligned? What lures our love to ourselves and the world’s trappings more than for God the Giver? What makes us slide from strong and sightless faith in our Maker to security in the accumulation of the seen? At what point do we transfer our identity from child of the Father to king of our domain, lord of our accomplishments, Master of our role and expertise?
The Giver of prosperity is also the Savior from its destructive tentacles. If we keep Jesus at the fore, disciplining our minds to remember the cross in the midst of temporal success, we nurture a godly perspective and keep our allegiances in proper order. (Deuteronomy 8:18; 1 Corinthians 4:7; Hebrews 2:14-15)
“Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
thou mine inheritance, now and always:
thou and thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my treasure thou art.” ~Translated by Mary Byrne (1880-1931)
Lord of and over all, captivate me, and fix my treasure, devotion, and glory in You.