In the Old Testament book of 2 Chronicles we find the story of King Hezekiah, a man who became king of Judah when he was 25 years old. The Bible says at the beginning of his reign, "He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord." He started off right.
In fact, he did a great thing. He opened the doors of the temple at Jerusalem and repaired them. He had everything cleaned. The temple had been left in disrepair for a long time before Hezekiah came along, and he wanted to get rid of all the filth and idol worship that had gone on before, so he set up leaders and gave each group a task. When all the work was done, the people celebrated. They got out their musical instruments and worshipped God. They gave offerings and prayed, recognizing God as sovereign.
The kingdom of Judah began to prosper again. People brought costly items and gave them to the king. Chapter 32, verse 21 says everything that the king undertook prospered because he obeyed the laws of God. Storerooms were prepared as people continued to bring food and treasures to be kept in the stockpiles at Jerusalem. Hezekiah took great delight in his many possessions and treasures.
Then Hezekian became ill, near the point of death. Hezekiah prayed and God gave him fifteen more years of life. After his recovery, a king from Babylon came to visit and commiserated with him about his illness and recovery. In other words, he flattered Hezekiah and got him to talk about his kingdom. Hezekiah took the king and showed him all his treasures, even his armory. He showed him everything because he was so proud. But pride was his undoing.
The prophet Isaiah came to Hezekiah and said to him, "What did you show the Babylonian king?"
Hezekiah said, "I showed him everything in my palace. There is nothing among my treasures that I did not show him."
Isaiah prophesied that because of Hezekiah's pride, the kingdom of Judah would one day be taken in exile to Babylon, and everything Hezekiah was so proud of would be carried away by foreigners. A most audacious statement follows. Hezekiah said, "The word you have spoken is good, but there will be peace and security in my lifetime" It seems he cared nothing for future generations; he wanted prosperity while he could enjoy it.
The prophecy was true. Years later, the people were taken to Babylon and became slaves. The temple was destroyed and all its treasures were carried away to Babylon to be used in pagan worship.
As I think about our government today, I wonder if anyone is thinking about our own children and grandchildren. What are they going to have to endure because of the spending and waste that we see everywhere? Where is the prophet today who will speak to our leaders and cause them to think about future generations? Are we going to settle for "peace and security in our lifetime" and forget about the lifetime of our children?
This article was published by the St. Louis Suburban Journal on October 20, 2010