When are you the most vulnerable? I feel sure that we would have different answers depending on our age and circumstances in life. One obvious thing is that it is often during the very time when we feel the strongest that we are most vulnerable. If we reach a point that we think we have everything figured out and we know the best way to handle the trials and temptations we face, we become an easy target for Satan to take us down. In the Old Testament book of Isaiah there is the story of Hezekiah as king over Judah. He was a good king who tried hard to please God and drive out idolatry from the kingdom. He destoryed many of the high places where they had worshiped the idols.
Hezekiah became very sick. God sent Isaiah the prophet to see him and he was lying in his bed. God’s message through the prophet was “Set your house in order for you are going to die and not live.” How do you think you would have reacted to such a message? Through the years as the news gets out that someone died in their sleep never even suspecting that they had anything wrong with them, many comments will be made to the effect, “If I had my choice on how I would die, that would be it.” I can certainly see some advantages to having such a sudden death where one doesn’t linger, unable to take care of themselves for months or even years. But I can also see the advantages of knowing that death is near so they can prepare those they are leaving behind for their departure. It would be very wise for all of us to set a time that we will set our house in order, getting everything ready and preparing those we would leave behind for our departure from this world. Hopefully it will be the case that you will have time beyond that, but it would be nice to know you have made the preparations needed.
If you knew that you would not awake tomorrow to see another day, how many things would you want to change tonight? What about your relationship with God? Are you in the relationship with your wife or husband and your children you would like to be in forever?
When Hezikiah received the message from Isaiah he turned his face to the wall and began to cry out to God in prayer. We don’t know what all he said to the Father. What we know is that before Isaiah reached the gate to leave the kings house God spoke to him again and said for him to go back and tell the king that he was going to give him fifteen more years to live. He got well and again reigned over Judah.
Not long after his recovery, the king of Babylon sent a group of people to visit with Hezekiah and congratulate him on his recovery. They brought gifts to him from the Babylonian king. Hezekiah was so moved by the expressions of the king that he showed the men everything in his palace. He showed them the treasures in the temple and all of the golden objects that God had given them during the reign of Solomon.
After these men left, Isaiah sent a messenger to Hezekiah saying, “What have these men seen in your house?” He answered, “They have seen everything.” He told Isaiah they were from a land far away and he didn’t with hold anything from their sight. Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord of hosts. Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house and all that your fathers have laid up in store to this day will be carried to Babylon; nothing will be left, says the Lord. And some of your sons who will issue from you, whom you will beget, will be taken away, and they will become officials in the palace of the king of Babylon. Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good.” For he thought ‘For there will be peace and truth in my days.” (Isaiah 39:5-8)
Even good people make bad judgments at times. Also, good people may see things in all the wrong ways at times. Hezekiah was blessed by God with fifteen more years to live. But he was foolish in showing all the treasures of the kingdom to the people of Babylon. When confronted with the mistake he had made, rather than admitting the mistake he rejoiced that the punishment would come on his children rather than on him.
He was a good man and a good king, but in the end he showed extreme selfishness. Sometimes we act with that kind of foolishness when we don’t show real concern for what will happen to our children and grandchildren while lavishing on ourselves every blessing possible.