Summary: Hezekiah passed the test of Security and Sickness but failed the test of Success. To pass this test you need to recognize your life is built on God's Riches, God's Results and God's Reputation.
THE TEST OF SUCCESS
A newly elected politician was visiting Washington, D.C., to get acquainted. He was visiting in the home of one of the ranking senators who was trying to interpret the bizarre wonder of the capitol. As they stood looking out over the Potomac River, an old deteriorating log floated by in view on the river. The old-timer said, "This city is like that log out there." The fledgling politician asked, "How's that?" The senator came back, "Well, there are probably more than one hundred thousand grubs, termites, bugs and critters in that old log as it floats down the river. And I imagine every one of them thinks that he's steering it."
When most people think of tests they think of trials. They think of something painful to be endured. However, often God does not test us in through trials but through triumph. Not through pain but through pleasure. Let me ask you this morning, how do you handle success?
This story that we are looking at today is recorded in the Bible three times – once in 2 Kings, once in 2 Chronicles and once in Isaiah. Hezekiah was tested by God in 3 different ways:
The first was the test of SECURITY. The king of Assyria named Sennacherib had come and laid siege to the city of Jerusalem. He had sent a letter to Hezekiah saying that God was unable to save him and that the city would fall. Instead of panicking and giving up, Hezekiah and Isaiah prayed and God sent an angel to kill 185,000 enemy soldiers. Sennacherib returned to Assyria in disgrace and his sons killed him while he was in the temple there.
The second was the test of SICKNESS. After seeing God defeat the Assyrians Hezekiah became ill and was told by Isaiah that his sickness would lead to death. He wept bitterly about this and God saw his tears and had mercy on him and added 15 years to his life.
The third test is what I want to look at today. It was the test of SUCCESS. Hezekiah had seen the miracle of the Assyrians defeat. He had gone through sickness and had been given more years to live. He had been a very successful king and he had many riches. Envoys then came from Babylon to meet Hezekiah and see the great things that God had done for Israel:
2 Chr 32:27 Hezekiah had very great riches and honor, and he made treasuries for his silver and gold and for his precious stones, spices, shields and all kinds of valuables. 28 He also made buildings to store the harvest of grain, new wine and oil; and he made stalls for various kinds of cattle, and pens for the flocks. 29 He built villages and acquired great numbers of flocks and herds, for God had given him very great riches. 30 It was Hezekiah who blocked the upper outlet of the Gihon spring and channeled the water down to the west side of the City of David. He succeeded in everything he undertook. 31 But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.
A turtle wanted to spend the winter in Florida, but he knew he could never walk that far. He convinced a couple of geese to help him, each taking one end of a piece of rope, while he clamped his vise-like jaws in the center. The flight went fine until someone on the ground looked up in admiration and asked, "Who in the world thought of that?" Unable to resist the chance to take credit, the turtle opened his mouth to shout, "I did …"
1. GOD’S RICHES – provision
The envoys came from Babylon to see Hezekiah. In says in this passage that this was a test. Instead of using this as an opportunity to tell of what God had done in his life, he takes them on a tour of Jerusalem to show them all the wealth that he had accumulated over the years.
Is 39:1 At that time Merodach-Baladan son of Baladan king of Babylon sent Hezekiah letters and a gift, because he had heard of his illness and recovery. 2 Hezekiah received the envoys gladly and showed them what was in his storehouses -- the silver, the gold, the spices, the fine oil, his entire armory and everything found among his treasures. There was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.
Why did Hezekiah show off his storehouses filled with silver and gold? Pride. Instead of recognizing that these riches were given him as a trust and using this opportunity to point to the goodness of God he points to the riches as being his possessions. Have you ever done that?