A Christmas Story, Sort Of – 2 Chronicles 31:21-22

nativity_scene“In this way, King Hezekiah handled the distribution throughout all Judah, doing what was pleasing and good in the sight of the Lord his God. In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow God’s laws and commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result, he was very successful” (2 Chronicles 31:21-22, NLT).

The reign of King Hezekiah of Judah as described in 2 Chronicles 31 and 32 was distinguished by his zeal to resume Temple worship and adherence to God’s law. As a result of Hezekiah’s devotion and obedience to God’s will, he was successful in everything he did (vs. 32:30).

Hezekiah was respected by the leaders of the surrounding nations and he engendered respect for God from these leaders, so much so that that they sent many gifts for the Temple and for King Hezekiah personally. When Hezekiah fell deathly ill, he prayed and God healed him and gave a miraculous sign (2 Kings 20:10-11 says God caused the sundial to go backwards ten steps!)

When Hezekiah became proud, God became angry with Hezekiah until he humbled himself and repented of his pride. Then, God didn’t get angry with Hezekiah again during his lifetime (vs. 26). Now, the text doesn’t say so, but I can’t help but believe the pride that Hezekiah exhibited in vs. 25 was associated with  the acclaim he received from the leaders of the surrounding nations in vs. 23.

It’s hard to be humble when important and powerful people recognize your success! But, for Hezekiah the consequences of success were duplicitous. On the one hand, he was doing something right–being obedient to God–to achieve success, but on the other hand he must have been thinking he was something he really was not because God was the real Force behind his success.

In the end, Hezekiah’s pride was mitigated by his repentance and humility, and God blessed him as a result.

So, if the story of Hezekiah’s reign is such a great success story, why am I belaboring his one little indiscretion? Why is it so important to avoid pride and to have humility, especially if God is making you successful?

There are probably many reasons, not the least of which is that pride deceives you into thinking you’re something that you’re not. But the main reason is because humility is in God’s character. It’s a very important aspect of God’s nature. And, if humility is in God’s character, it most certainly should be in ours!

God humiliated Himself to redeem the humanity He so greatly loves. The Creator of All Creation, Son of God, Prince of Peace, King of Kings and Lord of Lords was born as a human being in a barn and His bassinet was a feed trough for livestock!

For God, incarnation is the supreme expression of humility! God’s humility became God’s humanity!

So, if it’s hard for us to be humble, it must be supremely difficult for God to be humble. Yet He is–for our sake!

“So the Word became human and made his home among us” (John 1:14, NLT).

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