Hezekiah's 41

Hezekiah was a good king in Judah. Good but not great. He did many good things, but did not finish well. He was 39 years old, looking at turning the big 4-0, When he got a visit from Isaiah the prophet, telling him that he would soon die. He immediately prayed to God that he was not ready to die and could he please have more time. God spoke to Isaiah again and he went back and told him that God says you've got 15 more years. Hezekiah believed Isaiah, but asked him (to ask God) for a sign that he'd really be healed (in 3 days). God gave him a choice of two ways the sun would slow down or speed up in terms of time or shadows and Hezekiah chose the harder one which God did, of turning the shadows or time backwards- no one knows exactly what happened- the text is a little unclear, but God did do something miraculous.

So, all seemed well. Hezekiah had done all these good things and he got healed and had this sign done and God had also wiped out this invading Assyrian army that was going after Jerusalem.
Then what happened? The Babylonians sent emissaries or ambassadors to chat up Hezekiah and what does he do but show these guys his armory and treasury. Then God speaks through Isaiah to him that he has messed up completely and terrible things would happen in the future (being conquered by Babylon). Hezekiah's response was not deep repentance and sorrow, but to pretty much say, "oh well, at least it won't happen till after I am gone." A few years later, he had a son, who would be the ripe age of 12 when Hezekiah's last 15 years were up. This son rolled back all the good that his dad had done and brought on the worst of God's judgements.

So, what's the moral of the story? I think it is this- that after your greatest victory, you are vulnerable to your greatest defeat. Doing good things and receiving good stuff is no guarantee of ending well or leaving a positive, lasting legacy.

The story of Hezekiah's mess up is given in Kings, Chronicles, and Isaiah. In one of them, it says that God stepped back and left him alone to see what was in his heart, when Hezekiah did the bad show and tell act. Very sad. Being a mighty man or woman in word and deed, leading a few or thousands; being applauded and accoladed- all these have nothing to do with what you'll do in the dark or away from the faithful. Character is another matter that you have to choose to grow in.