Living Too Long

2 Kings 18:5-8
He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel; so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among those who were before him. For he clung to the Lord; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the Lord had commanded Moses. And the Lord was with him; wherever he went he prospered. And he rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. He defeated the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city.

2 Kings 20:1-3
In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.’ ” Then he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, saying, “Remember now, O Lord, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

2 Kings 18-20 records the rule of King Hezekiah of Judah. He was one of the few kings in Judah who led a spiritual reform to lead the people back to God. After some striking events in which he placed his trust in God, he became sick to the point of death. When the prophet Isaiah confirmed Hezekiah would die, Hezekiah prayed for an extended lifetime. God added fifteen years to his life and told him he would protect him and his kingdom throughout this period.

In these fifteen years, Hezekiah foolishly showed all his treasurers to some well-wishers from Babylon. The prophet Isaiah told him that the day would come when Babylon would take all those treasurers and some of his sons to Babylon. Hezekiah said to himself, “That’s okay—I will live and die in peace” (2 Kings 20:20).

The greatest mistakes this great king made came in his fifteen year extension of life. He lived too long! He made God’s blessing his curse!

It is difficult to accept this truth: the significance of your life is not measured by how long you live but by how much faith in God you have. It is much too easy to use God’s blessings to curse ourselves.

If we are not careful, the older we get, the more important it becomes to declare our significance. As ability declines, the temptation to be arrogant increases. Wise is the person who is not intoxicated by a personal sense of his or her accomplishments! It is easy to “get drunk” on the memories of the past! It is challenging to leave the remembering to God as you use what ability you have to serve His purposes.

Do not be remembered for the arrogance of your old age. Be remembered for a lifetime of faith in God. Do not count your years. Mature your trust in God!


David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 24 August 2006

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