Hezekiah was a good king. He was one of a very small number of Old Testament kings described as having done “what was right in the eyes of the LORD.” He was a good guy who tried to do the right thing.
Toward the end of his life, though, Hezekiah made a foolish mistake. The king of Babylon heard that Hezekiah had been ill, and apparently used that as an excuse to send emissaries to check up on him. Hezekiah treated the Babylonian officials royally, even showing them all the treasures of Judah — silver, gold, spices, weapons… everything.
After the Babylonians left, Isaiah the prophet confronted Hezekiah. Isaiah told him he had acted foolishly by displaying the valuables of his kingdom. The prophet declared that one day all those treasures would be taken by the Babylonians. In fact, even some of Hezekiah’s own sons would be taken, “and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” (2 Kings 20:18)
How would you respond to such a declaration? I find Hezekiah’s response unsettling.
“Then said Hezekiah 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?’ (2 Kings 20.19)
What?! “Go ahead and let them take everything. All the treasures that I and my father and his father and his father worked so hard to acquire, even let them have my sons, as long as I can live here and now in peace and security.”
What a totally self-centered attitude. And this from a guy who had been a good king, a man who apparently had been doing his best to follow God.
You and I likely don’t have vast amounts of earthly treasure to squander. Yet, I wonder how often our attitudes are just as selfish only on a smaller scale.