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. And some of your own sons, who shall be born to you, shall be taken away, and they shall be 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 in my days?”
(2 Kings 20:16-19 ESV)
This must be one of the saddest passages in Scripture.
The Bible describes Hezekiah as a good king (2 Kings 18:3) whose reign was marked by great miracles from God. In fact, one of the miracles involved the sun moving backwards in time—with a similar account only happening one other time in the Bible (Joshua 10).
Sadly, it seemed that in his final years, Hezekiah actually cared only about one thing: his life. Living on “extended” years after being healed of a fatal illness, Hezekiah’s pride made way for the tragedy his descendants would later on go through in life, as prophesied by Isaiah. But perhaps what’s most disconcerting of all was his response to the horrific prophecy:
“Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?”
He couldn’t care less as long as it did not happen in his lifetime.
“Never mind the slavery of my sons and daughters. Never mind being conquered by Babylon. As long as I’m okay today, and none of the scary stuff happens to me, it pretty much does not matter to me.” That’s how I would translate it.
What a terrible attitude! And yet come to think of it, are we not in some ways—perhaps unknowingly—just like Hezekiah?
Ask yourself these questions:
- When was the last time you thought of how your present actions would impact the life of your sons and daughters? And the sons and daughters of your sons and daughters?
- When was the last time you thought about what you’ll be leaving behind to the next generation?
- Are you living a life that is worth exemplifying to your grandchildren? How far into the future do you look when you’re in the middle of making a life-changing decision?
Whether we like it or not, many of our present actions will have consequences that will last beyond our burial date. And if we fail to take that to heart, caring not one bit about the lives of those who will succeed us, we will in no way be any different from Hezekiah.
God’s got a plan for your life. And if I’m reading my Bible right, I’d say that plan stretches far beyond the years you’ll actually be alive.
Ask God for the wisdom to live wisely today. And don’t ever think it’s too late to; nothing is ever too hard for the God who can move the sun back in time.
Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
(Psalm 90:12 NIV)