A Lack of Empathy for Future Generations

“Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘The word of the LORD that you have spoken is good,’ for he thought: There will be peace and security during my lifetime” (Isaiah 39.8). 

It seems clear that Hezekiah put his best foot forward with the Babylonians in a proud way. God judged Hezekiah by revealing to him the hardships and tribulation that awaited Judah and his family line. As an act of mercy, God deferred the judgment to a future generation. Isaiah 39.8 is Hezekiah’s response to this revelation. I think what Hezekiah is saying is, “Well, as long as I’m good. As long as I have peace and security in my lifetime. Thankfully, the hammer won’t fall on me but on my children and grandchildren.” That’s really difficult to hear because my attitude is often a reflection of this sentiment. 

Our country is changing quickly. The sins of my generation are catching up to the generations coming after me. I must admit that I often think, “At least I won’t be around when God’s judgment falls.” That may or may not be true. However, it’s not a very empathetic attitude toward my own children and grandchildren. 

Hezekiah didn’t deserve the peace and security he received. But God is merciful. Hezekiah didn’t glorify God when he received the Babylonian ambassadors. He puffed himself up instead. He showed off wealth and power that God gave to him. “Hezekiah did not repay according to the favor shown him, for his heart was lifted up; therefore wrath was looming over him and over Judah and Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah” (2 Chronicles 32.2-26). 

At least Hezekiah realized this and humbled himself. Do I reflect glory to God when I am successful, prosperous, or make good decisions? I’d have to say that more often I am self-glorifying. My confidence is in my strength and my wisdom. Am I not like Hezekiah in this? Only God’s mercy brings peace and security into my life each day. Whatever comes my way, good or bad, I am thankful for God’s blessings and the withholding of punishment I deserve. 

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