Make Return According the Benefit Done to Us

from Lynda Lindsey

In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death, and he prayed to the Lord, and He answered him and gave him a sign. But Hezekiah did not make return according to the benefit done to him, for his heart was proud. Therefore wrath came upon him and Judah and Jerusalem. II Chronicles 32:24-25

But Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah. II Chronicles 32:26

And so in the matter of the envoys of the princes of Babylon, who had been sent to him to inquire about the sign that had been done in the land, God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart. II Chronicles 32:31

God granted Hezekiah, ill and at the point of death, fifteen additional years of life and a miraculous sign as proof. Hezekiah, even while acknowledging that the Lord delivered his life from the pit and cast his sins behind His back, had a disastrous lapse of faith. Hezekiah gladly, but foolishly, welcomed a group of Babylonian envoys, proudly showing off before them. Holding nothing back from the enemy, allowing them to see all his treasures, Hezekiah set himself up to be plundered. When confronted by his wrongdoing, Hezekiah cared only that judgment would’t come in his lifetime.

Judah’s king Hezekiah, for all the good he did, was shortsighted. Proud of his achievements, desiring to strut and show off, Hezekiah was content to finish his days in peace and security, caring little that his selfish actions would bring misery to his country and his descendants after him. It’s easy to be exasperated with Hezekiah; yet how often do we do the same? Concerned with life in the moment, we “forget” our selfish choices, our pride and lapses of faith, can hasten our downfall and have disastrous results in the lives of those after us.

God poured out kindness and love to Hezekiah, but Hezekiah failed to make return according to the benefit done to him; subtly, pride took over and Hezekiah failed to give God glory. Beware accepting God’s perfect gifts while allowing the love of the world, possessions, honors, and riches, to edge out pure love for God. God not only allows trials to strengthen and perfect us, He supplies endless grace for us in the trial. As John Rippon’s hymn, How Firm a Foundation, states, “The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.” Return glory to God!

How Firm a Foundation, John Rippon, 1787