I always want to cheer for Hezekiah. He is one of only about five kings of Judah whom God commends. (There were none in the northern kingdom of Israel.)
Reigning during the time of Isaiah and Micah’s prophesying ministries, and living through the destruction by Assyria of apostate Israel, Hezekiah swept the land clean of idols (at least on the surface). In fact Hezekiah did one thing that flabbergasts me: He had enough mix of discernment and courage to destroy a revered religious artifact dating back to Moses: the bronze serpent (Numbers 21:8) lifted up in the wilderness that people could look upon and be delivered from the plague. He did it because it had become an object of worship (2 Kings 18:4).
So it pains me to read what Hezekiah said to Isaiah when the prophet confronted him regarding his folly in showing off all the temple treasures to a nosy band of Babylonian envoys. You can’t fault his honesty, at least. When probed for what exactly the delegation saw, he answered with astounding candor:
“They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them” (2 Kings 20:15).
Isaiah replies that for that lapse of wisdom and modesty:
“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” (verse 17).
Here is the worst part. Rather than reacting with grief that his foolishness has brought disaster on a future generation, Hezekiah replies:
“‘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?’” (Verse 19).
So Hezekiah is OK with the future collapse he is partly responsible for, as long as he’ll be safely 6-feet-under when it comes.
What is the test of a society? Is it the bridges and skyscrapers it builds? Is it the technology it invents? Is it the advances in the cure of cancer, or the study of the stars? Is not the test of a society what it leaves to the next generation? As it stands now, a $16 billion deficit and a rampant national orgy will be the legacy of 21st century America. Let us be the salt that retards this decay and the light that exposes it. The Lord only knows how many generations remain, but what we leave behind will cause our children to either bless or curse our memory.