2 Kings 20:12-21 – Those Christians Who Seem to Have It All!

Posted: September 25, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 20:12-21

Envoys from Babylon

There is no doubt that Hezekiah was a good and faithful king. There is no doubt that he was a faithful follower of God. He did things the right way. But here, when I read through this passage the first time, I thought to myself (before I read any of the footnotes in my Bible), why are you doing this dude. You are showing your future conquerors the keys to the kingdom. Why would you do that? Then I read through the footnotes. It appears that this was all vanity and pride. Sometimes, we as followers of God who have been blessed can become vain and prideful in the ways that God has blessed us. That got me to thinking about how it can work both ways. Sometimes, when we see how God has blessed others, we can become jealous of their blessings. Both situations are problematic for us as Christ followers.

There have been times in the past when I have been with very successful people who are Christ followers who have been mightily blessed by God in material possessions. Not that this situation is a bad thing. The real deal for us as Christians is what we do with the possessions that God has seen fit to allow us to have and accumulate. But there have been times in my life where I have been exposed to people that have been mightily blessed by God. They have been shrewd and wise with money and have been able to have the good life, as we would define it on this side of eternity. They have nice things – home, things inside their homes, nice cars, successful business(es), money in the bank, second home at the beach or mountains, they just seem to have the world by the tail. And to top it off, some that I have been exposed to are some of the most mature Christians that you will ever meet and are generous to a fault. All in all, I have met people like this that are simply some of the best Christians that you will ever meet. These are the people that, you know, you just wanna be like when and if you ever grow up (LOL!)!

What this can breed even among us as their Christian friends is a jealousy of what God has blessed them with. Certainly, these hyper-blessed folks have their own struggles in life. Of that I am sure, but sometimes you just wish that God would bless you in the same way that they have been blessed. You wish that you could be generous the way that they are generous. You examine their lives and you wish that you could be like them – pray like them, be at ease sharing the gospel like them, be able to do missional things like them. It can be maddening if you let it get to you. What’s wrong with me? Why has God not blessed me in the way that God has blessed them? Then, you are where Satan wants you. Jealousy is the flip side of the coin of pride. Jealousy takes us away from what God has planned for us. That’s what I thought of this morning when I read this passage, 2 Kings 20:12-21. Let’s read the passage now:

12 Soon after this, Merodach-baladan[a] son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent Hezekiah his best wishes and a gift, for he had heard that Hezekiah had been very sick. 13 Hezekiah received the Babylonian envoys and showed them everything in his treasure-houses—the silver, the gold, the spices, and the aromatic oils. He also took them to see his armory and showed them everything in his royal treasuries! There was nothing in his palace or kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.

14 Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did those men want? Where were they from?”

Hezekiah replied, “They came from the distant land of Babylon.”

15 “What did they see in your palace?” Isaiah asked.

“They saw everything,” Hezekiah replied. “I showed them everything I own—all my royal treasuries.”

16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to this message from the Lord: 17 The time is coming when everything in your palace—all the treasures stored up by your ancestors until now—will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. 18 Some of your very own sons will be taken away into exile. They will become eunuchs who will serve in the palace of Babylon’s king.”

19 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “This message you have given me from the Lord is good.” For the king was thinking, “At least there will be peace and security during my lifetime.”

20 The rest of the events in Hezekiah’s reign, including the extent of his power and how he built a pool and dug a tunnel[b] to bring water into the city, are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. 21 Hezekiah died, and his son Manasseh became the next king.

In this passage, we see that Hezekiah had been a good and faithful king, but when Isaiah asked him what he had shown the messengers from Babylon. He replied, “I showed them every thing I own – all my royal treasures.” Rather than give credit to God for all his blessings, he tried to impress the foreigners. When God helps us, we must not use his blessings to impress others. A testimony of victory can quickly degenerate into vanity and self-congratulations. Conversely, we can degenerate into jealousy and covetousness when we allow ourselves to draw comparisons between how God has blessed someone in comparison to us. God has a plan for each of us that is unique to us alone. We cannot compare ourselves to others’ blessings and we should never be proud in comparison to others in how God has allowed us to have earthly blessings on this side of eternity.

God does have a unique plan for each one of us as Christ followers. We cannot compare ourselves to others. When we do that we are using our self-defined, prideful (jealousy inducing) measures that only apply from a human, temporal perspective rather than trusting in God’s eternal view. You don’t have to be rich in material possessions to be blessed by God. The widow’s generosity of two mites was far greater than those who gave much more but less of what they had overall in God’s eyes. To be able to find joy no matter what the outward signs of blessing are is what Paul was talking about when he talked about being content whether he had much or little. That’s why Paul could sing in prison. He was doing what God called him to do. Sometimes that means that we will have very little in our earthly journey. There will be no outward signs of blessing. It is a matter of whether you are advancing God’s kingdom. When a true Christian does that, there is great joy whether I have a mansion on a hill and drive a Mercedes or whether I drive a 12 year old SUV and live in a borrowed house. The contentment that I have at finally being a full-time pastor far outweighs whether I have material blessings or not. Finding joy is about being in alignment with God’s will for your OWN life not somebody else’s life. God has a unique calling for you and for me. Don’t let some other Christian’s earthly blessings blind you to your own uniqueness in God’s plan. Don’t let jealousy steal your Christian joy of doing what God called you to do and to be that is unique for you.

Amen and Amen.

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