The warning of the kings of Judah continues in 2Chronicles this morning. And it’s not so much in the kings who “did evil in the sight of the Lord” . . . that’s not where I am at. But the “watch out for” is demonstrated in another of those kings who did what was right in the sight of the LORD . . . in this morning’s reading, King Hezekiah.
Hezekiah was a good king (2Chron. 29 – 31). The people were better off because of his leadership. Under his rule, the temple is cleansed and restored to full functioning order. Under his rule, worship at the temple is rekindled to a measure of its former glory . . . complete with song-singing, God-praising Levitical choirs leading the people in God exalting homage. Even the Passover remembrance is reestablished . . . Hezekiah calling all of God’s covenant people, those from Judah as well as those from rogue Israel, to come to Jerusalem and to return to their God. And, it would appear, some legitimate revival broke out . . . the hand of God moving the hearts of men to respond to the king’s invitation . . . and, beyond that, God’s gracious and merciful hand moving the people to tear down their idol-worshiping high places in the process.
Hezekiah was also a courageous king (2Chron. 33). He stood fast when the Assyrians came and invaded Judah, laying siege to Jerusalem, and casting contempt on the LORD and His power to save. And the LORD shows Himself mighty on behalf of the king and his people.
And what you sense through all this is that Hezekiah was a praying king. He prayed for those who came to the Passover feast but had not cleansed themselves, asking the LORD to pardon all those who set their hearts to seek God even though they had not done so according to the sanctuary’s rule of cleanness (30:18-19). And the LORD heard Hezekiah and healed the people (30:20). Hezekiah is also found going to prayer when the Assyrians were breathing down their necks outside the city walls . . . crying out to heaven along with Isaiah the prophet on Judah’s behalf (32:20). And God sent an angel to cut off the enemy’s mighty army.
Hezekiah’s life was marked by seeking his God and doing all that he did for the Lord with all his heart. But . . . and, in this case, I hate that word “but” . . . but as he grew older some “senior pride-itis” rears its ugly head . . .
In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death, and he prayed to the LORD, and He answered him and gave him a sign. But Hezekiah did not make return according to the benefit done to him, for his heart was proud. Therefore wrath came upon him and Judah and Jerusalem. (2Chronicles 32:24-25 ESV)
The good king . . . the courageous king . . . the praying king . . . gets older and he becomes a proud king. Oh, what a warning for those of us who have sought to faithfully follow the LORD and now are entering our “senior discount” years. We’re still serving . . . we’re still praying . . . God’s still graciously showing Himself faithful . . . but there seems to be a real possibility that our hearts can be at risk of getting a little puffed up. Perhaps because we’ve seen some fruit along the way . . . perhaps because we’ve come to think that God’s faithfulness to us has been due to the fact that we’ve deserved it for seeking to be faithful to Him . . . perhaps because we’ve let our guards down a bit, and have eased up a bit on doing battle with the old nature.
Whatever the contributing factors, Hezekiah’s a warning. A warning to me to always cling to the cross as my only source of sufficiency . . . to continually acknowledge God’s grace as the only explanation for whatever service has been rendered in His name . . . to passionately pursue the things of the kingdom for the King’s glory, and His glory alone.
O’, that the LORD would keep me from senior pride-itis. By His grace . . . for His glory . . .