Painful Pride

Dear Jack-

I’m reading through the Old Testament and read about Hezekiah, King of Judah, this morning.  He was considered a good king, doing “what was right in the eyes of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 29.2) and he did a lot of good.  Restored temple worship, restored Passover celebration, organized the priests, destroyed a lot of idol alters, and had faith in God’s rescue from the king of Assyria.

Ironically though, this last act, the faith in God to deliver Judah/Jerusalem from Assyria, was his downfall.  Hezekiah and Isaiah prayed together and asked God for salvation from Assyria, and the Lord sent an angel who struck down the army (185,000 men according to 2 Kings 19).  All Hezekiah did was ask for the Lord to provide.

“So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all his enemies, and he provided for them on every side.  And many brought gifts to the Lord to Jerusalem and precious things to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations from that time onward.” (2 Chron 32.22-23)

This exaltation led to Hezekiah becoming proud (vs 25).  And “therefore wrath came upon him and Judah and Jerusalem.”  The parallel text of this story in 2 Kings 20 goes into the detail that the King of Babylon sent an envoy to Hezekiah to wish him well, and Hezekiah showed them all his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his armory, and all that was found in his storehouses.  In fact, “there was nothing in his house in or all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them” (2 Kings 20.13).  Hezekiah was boasting to them all that he had, and in doing so, shows his soon-to-be conquers the treasure that awaited them.

And sure enough, as Isaiah then prophesied, several descendants and 88 years later, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came upon Jerusalem and ransacked it.

What went wrong?  Pride – human nature.  Pride, I believe, led Adam and Eve to crave equality with God in the Garden, and pride is the root of so many of our sin problems today.

Remain humble and remain grateful, Jack, for everything.  This story of Hezekiah is scary when we stop to think about it.  God rewarded him with riches and power, and all it took for an entire nation to be destroyed was for one man to forget where the source of those blessings came from.  Seek humility and seek gratefulness, I beg of you.  My heart is humbled by just the thought of this story.  Till next time, Jack.

Sincerely,
J.

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