The time is coming when everything in your palace—all the treasures stored up by your ancestors until now—will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left,’ says the Lord.
Relate: Just imagine if Hezekiah’s encounter with the Babylonians went a different way. When they showed up to congratulate him on his recovery, Hezekiah gave them a grand tour of his house in effect saying to them, “Look how rich I am.” Those envoys went home spreading the word, “Jerusalem is a rich city.” And a couple generations later Babylon came back again, but this time not to visit. this time they came to take. Hezekiah showed the envoys his treasures, but what if Hezekiah showed them the real treasures?
Can you imagine if instead, Hezekiah took them to the top of the staircase and said, “See how the sun moves over these steps as it sets? When He promised my healing, he moved the shadow back ten steps.” Then imagine Hezekiah taking them up to the wall to look out at the fields surrounding the city. “See those mounds there?” The king of Assyria sent his armies to encamp around these walls but because they had the audacity to blaspheme our God, 185,000 of their troops died overnight. It took us forever to bury their bodies into those mounds.” Then imagine Hezekiah taking the envoys into the Temple’s court of the gentiles and from there recounting all the ways God had miraculously helped them in the past. Imagine his telling them of the stories of Gideon’s 300, Sampson’s dying triumph, Joshua’s walk around Jericho, David’s triumph over Goliath, and Moses and the plagues. What story would those envoys have told on their return to Babylon? Instead of thinking, “This city is physically rich, let’s take their stuff,” would they have been saying, “This city is spiritually rich, let’s not mess with them.”
React: I was at a bookstore today getting ready to purchase a book when I started thinking, “How many books do I already have? If I am moving soon, how much weight will I have to use on books?” You see, five years back I had to scale down everything I owned to three bags weighing no more than 100kg. At the time I had six bookcases loaded with a thousand books, give or take. I spent weeks looking for every opportunity to give away appropriate books to the right people. Even after all that, I had seventeen boxes loaded with books that ended up going to my local library. That was just one of the many ways I had to scale down my “stuff”.
So here I was, at the bookstore ready to buy a book that I am sure I would love, but it wasn’t what I really needed. I didn’t buy the book. Instead, I went down to the beach to listen to a band play at a local restaurant because a friend kept asking me to come and check out his group but I kept putting it off. Maybe I won’t need to be moving in a month. Maybe I will. With the topsy turvy world that coronavirus has made, I have no idea what next week will look like, forget long term planning. But if I do have to move, I won’t be able to bring all the books that I have, but I will be able to bring my memories.
What about you? What do you treasure? Do you value the friendship you have with your neighbor, or are you too busy making sure you have a better car and nicer house than them? How many times has God brought people like those Babylonian envoys into your life and mine but instead of showing them our spiritual treasures, we took them to the big screen in the living room instead? What we treasure is a window into our hearts. When people look through that window, what do they see?
Let my treasure always and only be You. It is so easy to get so lost in the accumulation of stuff that I sacrifice the true treasures of love and friendships. Let me be about building memories far more than building up my bank account. When people look at my life, let them see that I value You more than gold.