May 22, Sunday

UPDATED Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, first posted on September 20, 2015, is provided by Pastor Shan Gian who leads Remnant Westside Church in Manhattan.  Shan is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BA) and Gordon Conwell Seminary (M.Div.).

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“A Key Factor Behind Spiritual Demise”

2 Kings 20:12-19

 At that time Merodach-baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that Hezekiah had been sick. 13 And Hezekiah welcomed them, and he showed them all his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his 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. 14 Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say? And from where did they come to you?” And Hezekiah said, “They have come from a far country, from Babylon.” 15 He said, “What have they seen in your house?” And Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them.”16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord: 17 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. 18 And some of your own sons, who shall be born to you, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”19 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?”

It’s always easier to start a project than to finish it.  A simple proof of this is looking at the attendance of your local gym.  At the beginning of January, the gym is packed full of people starting off with goals to lose weight and get physically fit.  But usually by the end of the month, the gym looks the same as it did in December, with only a handful of people still on top of their New Year’s resolutions.

Of anyone in the Bible, you would think that Hezekiah would be one to finish strong.  He had trusted in God and brought reform to Israel by breaking down idols.  In the face of the menacing threats of Sennacherib, king of Assyria, against Judah, Hezekiah had desperately prayed and depended on God, and he had witnessed the miraculous provision of God, as God drove the Assyrian army away.   Finally, he not only experienced the healing power of God, but received confirmation of this healing by the moving of shadows (2 King 20:11).  With all this, you would think that he would be one to finish strong.

Sadly, Hezekiah did not.  When the envoys of Babylon came to visit him, he showed them all that was in his storehouses—the gold and silver, armory, etc.  In an awful display of pride and arrogance, Hezekiah wanted to show these Babylonians all that he had achieved as well as the riches and glory he had acquired.  And making things even worse, after he was confronted by Isaiah about this and told how God would bring judgment on Hezekiah’s own sons, Hezekiah responds in verse 19: “’The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.’ For he thought, ‘Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?’”  With a cold indifference and self-centeredness, he basically says, “Oh well, not my problem.”

Someone once said, “Success is more difficult to handle than failure.” I think this is true of Hezekiah.  Again and again, he had experienced successes and victories and healing, yet because all these great things happened during his reign, he started to attribute the successes to himself, as if he was the one who had achieved it instead of God.  This, then, is one key factor behind spiritual demise.  Thus, we all need to be careful about the successes, accomplishments and possessions in our lives.  Just like Hezekiah, we can start to think that we have achieved it on our own and let boastful pride take hold of our hearts and minds.  

So, daily we need to remind ourselves that all that we have comes from God: “Every good gift 

and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17).  Any successes or accomplishments that we have experienced are from God, so there is no room for boasting.  Let us be humble before our God and thank Him for His good gifts!

Prayer: Father, I thank you for all that you have done for me.  Any victory or success I have experienced is because of Your grace in my life.  Help me this day to be humble and to give You glory and not glorify myself.  In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Bible Reading for Today:  Genesis 46

%d bloggers like this: