Friday, January 25, 2008

Chilling Words: "Peace and Security in My Days"

2 Kings 20 is a chilling passage of Scripture.

In that chapter, Hezekiah, King of Judah, was about to die, but he prayed and God extended his life fifteen years. Presents and an entourage came from Babylon, since the king of Babylon had heard that Hezekiah had been sick. Hezekiah welcomed them and granted them a full tour of his house and realm, including the showing off of treasures. The prophet Isaiah asked Hezekiah what the men had said, where they had come from, and what they had seen. Hezekiah informed him, and then Isaiah prophesied that those things would one day be carried away to Babylon and that Hezekiah's own sons would be taken away and "be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon" (2 Kings 20:18 ESV). After this came the chilling words: "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 ESV)

That Hezekiah, who had demonstrated faithfulness to God and dependence on Him in chapters 18 and 19, could utter such callous words seems incredible. How could he be content for peace and security to be around in his days and not grieve at the coming trouble upon the nation and his own family? He reminds me of folks whose concern about social security is such that they are not concerned about the next generation, so long as things go well with them now. He reminds me of those who are glad for the measure of freedom still present in the United States of America but do not worry about threats that another generation may have to relinquish that freedom. He reminds me of some pastors who serve themselves while neglecting the training of future ministers and the needed ministry of the Word into individual lives because all they care about is themselves. He reminds me of myself when I become so consumed with my agenda that I lose sight of the fact that there are eternal investments I need to be making, and that I do need to care about the future, not just for myself, but forothers who will come after me.

May the Lord grant that we be those who do care about the future generation and live in a way that demonstrates that concern. Here is an incentive for unselfish living and the wise use of our time. Here is an incentive to speak out and work against evils such as the murder of the unborn. But ultimately, the next generation will only reap eternal benefits if they know the Gospel of Jesus Christ and respond to it in repentance and faith. So here is an incentive to be diligent in teaching spiritual truth and modeling it before our children. And here is an incentive to share the Gospel with the unconverted in the hopes that they will know peace and security, not necessarily in this life, but for eternal days in the next one.

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