King Hezekiah was tripped up by pride in his success and power: believed his own hype. When we listen to our fans too much our heads swell. Today we see that the purpose of God in getting our attention through his discipline is so that we will repent and live…
24 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. He prayed to the Lord, who answered him and gave him a miraculous sign. 25 But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the Lord’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. 26 Then Hezekiah repented of the pride of his heart, as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore the Lord’s wrath did not come on them during the days of Hezekiah.
9 A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah after his illness and recovery:
10 I said, “In the prime of my life
must I go through the gates of death
and be robbed of the rest of my years?”
15 But what can I say?
He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this.
I will walk humbly all my years
because of this anguish of my soul.
16 Lord, by such things people live;
and my spirit finds life in them too.
You restored me to health
and let me live.
17 Surely it was for my benefit
that I suffered such anguish.
In your love you kept me
from the pit of destruction;
you have put all my sins
behind your back.
18 For the grave cannot praise you,
death cannot sing your praise;
those who go down to the pit
cannot hope for your faithfulness.
19 The living, the living—they praise you,
as I am doing today;
parents tell their children
about your faithfulness.
Isaiah 38:9-10, 15-19
Hezekiah was an amazing king of Judah who restored he temple and worship and Passover and tithing to the people. When he became sick, Hezekiah prayed, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes,” (Isaiah 38:3). And it was true. The wholehearted devotion of Hezekiah is an example for us all.
And so is his pride.
Hezekiah somehow was tripped up by pride in his success and power. We aren’t surprised. We see it happen all the time with people. They believe their own hype or publicity. They listen to their fans too much and their heads swell. And this happens to Jesus followers too.
Pastors, speakers, worship leaders, and ministry leaders are all susceptible to pride. I think God takes it even more seriously for those in leadership. Which is why Hezekiah became ill. It was his time, until he begged God for more time. We see the back and forth between Hezekiah and the Lord. God inflicts him, Hezekiah begs for healing and forgiveness, God heals him, then Hezekiah still showcases his riches to an envoy from Babylon.
Near the end of his life, the concession that Hezekiah is most pleased with is that God would withhold his wrath until a future generation. Ahhh… it won’t be in my lifetime. Okay. Not on my watch. I’m good with that. It won’t be a blemish on my record… the pride still battling for his heart.
We see Hezekiah’s humble heart shining in Isaiah 38. It’s a bright moment in this ongoing battle for him. And it reveals some good truth which will help us. Hezekiah sees that (vs 18) his suffering is for his benefit. The purpose of God in getting our attention through his discipline is so that we will repent and live – to be able to tell the future generations of God’s faithfulness.
We need God’s correction. We need to heed the voice of the Lord bringing us back to the fold. Watch your pride. God proves in the life of this powerful, wealthy king that he can bring us to our knees in a moment…