II KINGS 20:19-20: “Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “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?”
OBSERVATION: How will I face the “Golden Years” of my life? The American Dream says that I should work all my life to acquire a home, savings, and retirement, and then spend the remaining days of my life investing in myself – rewarding myself for all the hard work I did during my life. Is this really the odel that a Christian should emulate? This was the model Hezekiah settled for.
Hezekiah was one of the last of the godly kings in Judah. He followed the Lord’s commands. He removed the high places of worship that were a constant stumbling block to both Israel and Judah. When faced with the King of Assyria’s threats, he humbled himself and sought the Lord. When faced with a sickness that would end his life, he cried out to the Lord and was healed. God was faithful to Hezekiah. Yet, Hezekiah was short sighted. When Isaiah prophesied to Hezekiah about the impending judgment coming to Judah after his death, Hezekiah responded – “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?”
When Hezekiah died his son Manasseh reigned in his place. Manasseh did not follow the commands of the Lord. In fact, his acts were even more wicked than many of the surrounding ungodly nations that the Lord had judged. Manasseh even went as far as offering one of his sons as a living sacrifice. He also consulted fortune tellers and mediums. How could this happen so quickly, and with the son of one of the most godly kings since David?
The Scriptures do not give us insight into the relationship between Hezekiah and his sons. Yet, in the closing statement of Hezekiah’s life we might be able to offer some conjecture. Perhaps Hezekiah was so interested in his own personal well being and comfort that he neglected to invest in the next generation – his sons. Perhaps he spent all his time caring for the “here and now” and did not prepare to insure that his godly legacy would follow him after his death. Perhaps Hezekiah “RETIRED”.
I did not become a father until I turned 38. Karen and I were married almost 18 years before our daughter Hannah was born. This was not a choice, it was just how life happened. Being an older father I had already exhausted all the things a younger man thinks are important. Karen and I had traveled, picked up and went wherever we wanted on a whim, and basically lived a pretty self contained life. Then our lives were changed (for the better) when our daughter was born. It made me understand the call in the Scriptures to live for others. It instilled in me a deeper commitment to invest my life in such a way that this new gift of life could excel and become the woman of God that both the Lord and we desired her to be. It made me rethink my understanding of “Retirement”.
I am not saying that we should not enjoy our life, that we should eschew traveling, that we are to live destitute in our “Golden Years”. What I am suggesting is that we are not to “Retire” from living and investing in others. We have a dear saint in our church who weekly comes to teach our children music in our Awana ministry. He is “retired” from his profession, but he has not “retired” from his calling to invest in the next generation. Each week the children rejoice in seeing him come to lead them. They are greatly blessed – and he is greatly blessed. Can you imagine the dynamic power in the Body of Christ that could be released if we called in the “Golden Years National Guard” to redeploy in their calling to invest in others. Many at our church are, and I want to be one of them when I come to this place in life.
Lord, give me Your heart. Give me a heart that looks first to Your heart’s desires, then to the needs of others – and then to my own needs. Let me not ride away into the sunset when there are still lives to reach, hearts to encourage, and minds to train. Give me the heart of the Apostle Paul who desired to have his life poured out like a drink offering in service for others. Lord, give me Your heart! In Jesus Name!!