A Tour Gone Terribly Wrong

Joel Sanchez 

The events of Isaiah 39 are simple. The King of Babylon sends envoys to visit Hezekiah, the King of Judah, after his recovery from illness. Seems innocent enough. It even suggests kindness and concern on behalf of the Babylonian king.

King Hezekiah takes the envoys on a tour of his palace:

"And Hezekiah welcomed them gladly. And he showed them his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his whole armory, all that was found in his storehouses. There was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them." Isaiah 39:2

Immediately after this, the prophet Isaiah comes in:

"Then 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 that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord. And some of your own sons, who will come from you, whom you will father, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” Isaiah 39:5-7

Bizarre at first, until you understand the political situation and implications. In welcoming the Babylonian envoys and showing them all of his house and treasures, Hezekiah was asserting himself as powerful, demonstrating what he could bring to the table and perhaps trying to negotiate an alliance with the Babylonians, an ungodly and pagan people. Rather than keeping them at a distance, Hezekiah demonstrated that he had a proud and boastful heart that trusted in his possessions, his gold, his silver and his weapons rather than God.

Even after Isaiah comes and calls him out on his pride and arrogance, Hezekiah’s response demonstrates the true condition of his heart:

Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my days.” Isaiah 39:8

In other words, “whatever you say Isaiah. I am not worried. I have all that I need to make it through, and even the Babylonians want to hang with me.”

So often we are tempted to trust in ourselves when we have money, when we are healthy, when we have jobs and everything seems to be going our way. We make compromises in our faith and we try to make friendship with the world. Instead God calls us to remember that our strength and our deliverance is not found in silver and gold, but in God. Our possessions and position may fail us, but the everlasting God will always defend His people. Place your trust in Him in times of abundance and in times of scarcity and you will not be disappointed.

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