The Reading: 2 Kings 20:12-21
“… he showed them all his treasure …” (v.13) RSV
We might be forgiven for thinking that Hezekiah would continue faithful to his God for the rest of his days. After all, he had seen God do a mighty miracle in delivering his kingdom from the hand of Sennacherib and his colossal army. He had also been miraculously delivered from a fatal boil. Surely, fortified by such great interventions by God he would be even stronger in his commitment to restoring Israel’s true religion.
But no, Hezekiah was swept away by pride and confidence. Maybe the feeling that he was in some way especially loved by God and spiritually privileged, gave him the illusion of being special. Pride will get us every time. The occasion of his downfall was a visit by envoys from Babylon. He thus received a potential enemy into his house. With pride he allowed these spies (as they turned out to be) to see all his treasures. Pride makes us blind and naïve.
It took the prophet Isaiah to point out to him the error of his ways. You no doubt remember how the prophet Nathan had to point out to David his sin in committing adultery with Bathsheba and having her husband killed.
Sometimes we cannot see our own folly. We justify to ourselves what we are doing. Or maybe we are so blind we are blithely unaware of our actions. As Jeremiah says: “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). Knowing this we need to make sure that we are teachable. Will we listen if someone approaches us and points out to us the errors of our ways?
If we do not, then let us note the consequences for Hezekiah. Isaiah told him (vv.16-19) that his kingdom would be lost, together with its treasure and even some of his own family. Sadly he took no notice, because it wasn’t going to happen in his own lifetime! But his son, Manasseh, was to be one of the most wicked of kings, and to make it worse he reigned for 55 long years.
Keep me Lord from presumptuous sin. May I be humble, biddable and open to correction. Amen.
1 What is the wisdom that we need to guard against folly?
2 What did Jesus tell the Church to do if someone is in error?