Hezekiah was like David in more ways than one. Both of them, late in their reigns, made a mistake that smacked of pride and led to disastrous results for Judah.
We spent some time discussing David's decision to have Joab number the army. Hezekiah's mistake was more subtle. The king of Babylon sent his son to wish Hezekiah well after his recent illness. And Hezekiah showed off, giving him "a guided tour of all his prized possessions."
God sent Hezekiah a message through Isaiah (yes, the same Isaiah who wrote the book of the Bible). Babylon would take everything Hezekiah prized so highly, and his sons' progeny (grandsons? greatgrandsons?) would become eunuchs in the palace of Babylon.
Looking at everything other kings had done, Hezekiah's error seems so small. He didn't worship idols. Or perhaps he did. Perhaps he valued his things over God. Instead of bragging on his God to the envoy, he bragged on his things. After all, God had healed him from a deathly illness and given him fifteen additional years of life. Yet instead of talking about that, he showed off his palace.
I played piano in churches for many years, and felt uncomfortable when people praised my playing. For a long time, I would say something like "praise the Lord." But that felt like I was rejecting the gift God had given to me. God's gift, returned to Him. So I would simply say "thank you." In music, I have seen God clearly use in ways beyond my limited abilities.
In some ways, writing is one of the most solitary professions. But I have, with delight and pride, watched my resume grow from one page--to five. My first book has multiplied, to where I need more than one drawer to hold a single copy of each volume. When I invite people to look, am I indulging in the same pride that caused Hezekiah's fall?
Where does a healthy self-esteem and joy in my God-given gifts end and pride begin?
I challenge you to ask yourself the same question.
*Pride's Fall is the title of my historical romance set in Mesa Verde, Colorado, in 1900