100 years before the people of Judah were exiled to Babylon, King Hezekiah had some curious visitors. Visitors that came to meet the king that had single-handedly conquered the nemesis of many nations. What Hezekiah didn’t know was that his pride would get the best of him. His choice of allowing the visitors to see his treasure would change the course of history.
Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Sennacherib was the common foe of all the smaller potentates, and even the great kings, like the king of Egypt, stood in mortal dread of the power of Assyria; it was therefore sure to be known far and wide, that the tyrant’s wing had been clipped in the land of Judah. The going back of the sun must also have struck all nations with astonishment. It appears that the Babylonian ambassadors came to enquire about this wonder, for they were a people much given to observe the heavenly bodies. The world’s mouth was full of Hezekiah. Everybody heard of him. Everybody spoke of him. His cure, his victory, and his wealth were common talk in every place where men met together. What a temptation is this! “ (1)
Temptation did win. Hezekiah did allow the ambassadors to see much more than what they bargained for and according to 2 Chronicles 32:31, “When the ambassadors arrived from Babylon to find out about the sign from God that had taken place earlier, God left him on his own to see what he would do; he wanted to test his heart.” (The Message)
What can we learn from this decision? Does God test our hearts? This story reminds me of an audio recording once given to me by my aunt. I guess she knew I needed to listen to it. On the way home from a twelve hour journey from my hometown, I listened. That day I learned that God still does indeed test us or allow Satan to test us. At the time, I had endured a transforming test sent by God to test my marriage. I barely passed, if you can count it as passing at all. But I learned that God tests us to transform our hearts to be more like Christ. just as Jesus told his discipes that Satan had asked to sift Peter as wheat. ( Luke 22:31) “The purpose of sifting wheat is not to destroy it but to remove the chaff – the dust, husks, and impurities. While the sifting process is uncomfortable and even painful, but it is effective. When we are sifted as wheat there is an assurance that we will emerge free from impurities. ” (2)
Most likely if we are going through a test from God there is something in your life that needs sifting. For Hezekiah, his new found weath, had created issues with pride. For me, the struggle has not completely disappeared, but I have come a long way from that day when that audiotape was first placed in the cassette tape deck in my car. We need to remember most importantly the things we do can affect others and generations that follow. Be mindful of a testing season in your own life.