Choosing to be Short-sighted and Selfish

2 Kings 20:16–19 16 “Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord.17 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. 18 And some of your own sons, who will come from you, whom you will father, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” 19 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?” 

Among many ungodly kings that ruled the southern kingdom of Judah, Hezekiah stands out as one of the truly good kings. He rejected the idolatrous ways that became part of the lives and worship of the people of Judah. He removed the idols and their temples from the land. He removed the high places of worship that many of the previous good kings left in place because they compromised the teaching of Scripture. The bronze serpent on the pole Moses made during the wilderness wanderings of Israel, Hezekiah destroyed it because it had become an idol of false worship. His commitment to truth surpassed that of the kings before and after him.

The Assyrian empire was growing in power and influence in the world. They took control of the northern kingdom of Israel and threatened to invade and overtake the southern kingdom of Judah. Hezekiah placed the written threats against his nation, made by Sennacherib, king of Assyria, before the Lord in prayer. God responded to the prayer of Hezekiah by killing 185,000 soldiers in one night, sending Sennacherib back to Assyria, where he was murdered by two of his sons.

Shortly after that, Hezekiah became deathly ill. He cried out to God for mercy and life. He recalled his obedience and devotion to the Lord, and God responded to his prayer and provided healing grace to Hezekiah. The king of Babylon sent messengers, a letter, and a present to Hezekiah because the king heard that he had been ill. Hezekiah pridefully parades his possessions and the possessions of his kingdom before the Babylonian representatives.

The Lord confronts Hezekiah’s foolish display of boastful pride through His prophet, Isaiah. He tells Hezekiah that all the Babylonians saw will become their possessions as an act of judgment. Additionally, some of Hezekiah’s sons are to be carried off as captives of Babylon. As the passage above reveals, Hezekiah is short-sighted and selfish in reprehensible ways. Knowing this judgment won’t come until after he is dead and gone, he took comfort that the remainder of his days on earth will bring peace and safety.

How are we choosing to be short-sighted and selfish? Do we take care and concern for the coming generations? Are we prayerful and faithful to declare and live the authority of our Lord and Savior for the sake of coming generations and for the sake of our own time on earth? What we believe and how we walk in obedience impact more than our personal lives. What we believe and how we live influences our children and the coming generations.

You can do many good things. But every choice to be short-sighted and selfish is costly to more than just you. May God keep you humble and faithful.