[May 22]--Pride and Prudence

2 Kings 20:12-21

We talked a couple of days ago about two really good kings, Hezekiah and Josiah. But while they were good men, they weren’t Jesus. Today’s reading definitely does not show Hezekiah at his best.

It's outside of today's "official" reading, but the king suffered from a deadly illness, and it took the Lord’s miraculous intervention to save him. Once he recovered, he received visitors and gifts from a land newly mentioned in Scripture, namely Babylon. In a moment of pride, the kings then proceeded to show the envoys everything he owned: “the silver, the gold, the spices and the fine oil—his armory and everything found among his treasures.” Whenever I read this story, I envision some very stupid guy ostentatiously displaying his cash in a rough neighborhood. I don’t care if he's a Christian and trusts the Lord, that’s a very foolish thing to do.

We’ll talk more about pride when we get into Proverbs next year, but I wanted to use this story to partially illustrate how foolish it is. It clouds our judgment and doesn’t let us see things or people as they really are. Apparently these envoys went back to their king and reported to him all the wonderful treasures that were ripe for the taking. All these possessions in which Hezekiah was so proud would one day sit in someone else’s treasury. And not only his belongings, but his descendants too—his own flesh and blood, would be carried off as well.

And I love his great sensitivity! His reaction to being told that his own descendants would be taken by force to be eunuchs in another kingdom? “That’s great! Better them than me!” Like I said, not exactly Hezekiah’s shining moment.

So what about you and me? Are we proud of our possessions? Do we like to show them off? Do we care more about the next generation than our own comfort and standard of living? Let me warn you as I warn myself: When we come off a spiritual victory, that’s when it’s easiest for us to fall and make some horrible mistake. And regrettably, it’s usually not just we who pay the price for our foolish pride.

Father God, you oppose the proud but give grace to the humble. Wherever pride is hiding in my heart, please root it out. Do whatever it takes. Yes, I said that.

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