“But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown to him…” 3 Ch. 32:25
The king’s devotion to the Lord seemed to have been rewarded and he was praised by his friends and feared by his foes. People from neighboring countries sent envoys to him and showered him with gifts. Surely he had ample reason to be proud at this time, yet the Lord struck him with illness and he was at death’s door. Indeed, a person who was teetering between life and death had absolutely no reason to be proud. Nothing humbles us more than illness, for it’s a reminder of our mortality.
Yet Hezekiah cried to the Lord and a miraculous healing took place. The king was healed and his earthly days were increased. Hezekiah was given more years on earth so that he could serve and praise the Lord, which was the sole purpose of the divine healing. Unfortunately, the king failed to see this and his remaining days on earth became a snare to him.
Hezekiah didn’t respond to the Lord’s grace properly. “But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown to him…” How do we respond to God’s kindness toward us? Simple enough, really. We should have an attitude of humility and thankfulness.
It’s so easy for us to develop a sense of entitlement if the Lord continues to shower us with mercy and kindness, and gradually we start to take all things for granted, as if we were entirely worthy to receive whatever has been given to us. Don’t we all sometimes believe it’s through our own merits that we are what we are, and all we have ever possessed has been earned, not given?
Faith in the Lord isn’t self-generated, and it’s by no means self-sustaining. It must be exercised daily. The king might have thought he had stored up enough faith in his youth, and it was sufficient to sustain him in his old age, which was a total mistake. At this time, Hezekiah might have discovered his faith in the Lord was in short supply. Naturally, when people’s faith in the Lord becomes deficient, they inevitably become proud, which is a surefire sign of self-reliance.
What was a mere six-mile hike to me? I was fully confident it presented not much of a challenge, for I was fully assured my natural strength was sufficient. I finished the trip with flying colors and continued to congratulate myself for being so fit at my advanced age until four days later, when my foot started to hurt. I was afflicted by a bad case of turf toe, undiagnosed by a physician, of course.
Compared to what Hezekiah had adversely experienced, my case was rather small, yet the principle is quite similar. Neither did he nor I respond to the Lord’s mercy and goodness properly, which should have been with humility and thanksgiving.