Hezekiah’s Pride

I’m posting a small section of the next book I’m working on. I don’t often do this, but this one asked some serious questions.

2 Chronicles 32:23-26 NLTse (23) From then on King Hezekiah became highly respected among all the surrounding nations, and many gifts for the LORD arrived at Jerusalem, with valuable presents for King Hezekiah, too. (24) About that time Hezekiah became deathly ill. He prayed to the LORD, who healed him and gave him a miraculous sign. (25) But Hezekiah did not respond appropriately to the kindness shown him, and he became proud. So the LORD’s anger came against him and against Judah and Jerusalem. (26) Then Hezekiah humbled himself and repented of his pride, as did the people of Jerusalem. So the LORD’s anger did not fall on them during Hezekiah’s lifetime.

I have a serious question here. Why do we worship God? I wish I could get some feed back before sharing my answer, but I can’t in this venue. I asked that question this morning. So far the only answer I could come up with is, because He is the only one who can provide a better life for us, guaranteed. Isn’t that what this chapter and the previous stories are showing us?

Hezekiah was faced with insurmountable odds. God took care of that problem in one night. He only needed one angel to handle that situation. After that, king Hezekiah was blessed and respected. He was a rich and respected king. What more could a man ask for? Hezekiah had everything a man could dream of. How did he get in that position? Hezekiah respected God, and did his best to serve Him. In return, God gave Hezekiah the best life a man could dream of in this world.

Let’s look at that from a modern day Christian perspective. In his first letter we find in the Bible, Paul tells us the message Christians are supposed to carry out to this lost world. This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News. God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. The Good News is about his Son, Jesus. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord. Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name. And you are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ. I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. (Romans 1:1-7 NLTse).

Of course the message focuses on the Good News about Jesus and what He did for us. But why wouldn’t that message also focus on where Jesus is? God didn’t take Jesus back to Heaven just to live with Him again. God took Jesus to a far better place because that is part of the message.

Too often the message we carry is all about this world. What this world did to Christ, mixed in with a little bit of what Jesus did for this world. Jesus healed the sick because that’s what this world does to us, it makes us sick, weak, and evil. This world bombards us with misunderstandings about God, and dims whatever view of Heaven we could possible have. The focus of this world is to convince its people, this is life, and there ain’t anything more. Sad to say, this world has been doing a lot better job of getting its message out than Christians have been getting out the truth about Jesus and the Heaven He lives in.

How well do we know Christ if we don’t know where He lives? Don’t you know where your best friend lives? Don’t you know where they work, their favorite food, and about a thousand other details? How can Jesus be our best friend when we don’t know the basics about Him?

Too often we make the same mistake Hezekiah made. We see miracles in our lives, we praise God, He blesses us, things go well for a while, and we forget all about God. Say a millionaire meets you. He takes you shopping, buys you all the things that make you happy and satisfied for a moment, than invites you to his house for dinner. What does that have to do with Jesus? Didn’t Jesus talk about meals and banquets? Didn’t the Tabernacle have a table wet for a meal? What did you think those symbols pointed to? They are an invitation we see where Jesus is now living. You do believe Jesus lives? Doesn’t it make sense to see where and how He lives?

Heaven has to be a much better place to live than this world. Heaven has to be much better than anything this world has to offer. Even an island paradise. But look at where most people live, in cities. What do cities have to offer? For the most part, sin and temptation around every corner. Cities have crime, drugs, transportation problems, pollution, smug, over crowding, high cost of living, the list goes on. Of course they have their attractions, bars, night clubs, theaters, museums, art gallerias, and of course stores and shopping centers. A wide variety of attractions to fulfill the desires of many people. When Christians present Heaven as a could you sit on all day strumming a harp, you can see what a turn off that can be, That is an image set up so the world wins, and Heaven losses. How can a cloud and harp compete with the big city?

Then people want to get out of the city. They want to get out and experience nature. So television bombards people with images of parks, woods, and fields filled with homicidal manics lurking about, trying to commit the most heinous and perfect crime. The world deters people from leaving the cities. Once again the world wins and Heaven losses. The world uses fear to control minds, and people can’t see that happening, because they are being entertained. They can’t see they are being manipulated.

John told us about a new city in this world after sin has been dwelt with and destroyed. Along with that sin, all the cities are destroyed without a trace. Every evil influence is removed from this world. God will only have one city in this world. I’m not sure if some people will live in towns and villages in the new world, or if we will spread out and enjoy nature. But lambs will lay down with wolves and lions, there will be no more poisonous creatures, and we will always be safe, because we will all respect one another. That brief description sounds a lot better than anything this world has to offer.

We will also have people from past generations to meet. People from all eras and walks of life. We can meet people from Biblical times, both Old and New Testament times. Imagine the stories we will hear and share. And of course,we will have access to the Infinite God, who will never run out of things to teach. I wish more of this world could see that part of Heaven. I am tired of running into people who want to prove they know everything about our Infinite God.

I often wonder why we don’t know more about Heaven, and why we seldom have details to share Is Heaven so wonderful that is we received a full taste of it, this world would seem so bleak and useless, we would find it impossible to exist in this toxic atmosphere much longer? What about Jesus? He came from Heaven to this world to save it. If He could do it, why not us?

Jesus was in fact a unique example. Jesus came to this world to share His infinite love, and show us a little part of it. Could we stand a full dose of the love Jesus has for this world and survive? Of course we’d survive, but could we find any happiness in this world, or spend our time dreaming about Heaven? These are not easy questions.

Hezekiah received a great blessing from God, then became proud. Didn’t God share His love with Hezekiah and teach him a little about that love? Hezekiah only saw a dim view of God’s love. Most likely more than most of us will experience, and look what it did to Hezekiah. Would we be better able to handle that blessing, or would we also fail? Be honest now.

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