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Overcoming the Temptation of Being a Display

Isa. 39:1  At that time Merodach-baladan, the son of Baladan, the king of Babylon, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah because he had heard that he had been sick and had recovered.  (2)  And Hezekiah was glad for them, and showed them his treasury, the silver and the gold, and the spices and the fine oil, and his whole armory and everything which was found among his treasures; there was nothing in his house or in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them.

In Isaiah 39 we are told that when the news of Hezekiah’s sickness and recovery reached the Babylonian court, messengers were dispatched with letters and a present for Hezekiah. Hezekiah had been a recipient of the grace of God, but he was unable to stand the test of grace. Hezekiah could not overcome the temptation to display everything. He had just been wonderfully healed of his sickness and no doubt felt self-important and thought there were few people in the world who had had such a remarkable experience as he.

In his joy, Hezekiah displayed all his treasures. This means that he had not passed through the dealing of the cross. His natural life was not dealt with. It was apparent that all his roots were exposed. Whatever Hezekiah knew and whatever he had were known to the Babylonians. Because of this exposure, Isaiah said to him, “…the days are coming when everything which is in your house and which your fathers have laid up as a treasure unto this day will be carried away to Babylon; nothing will be left, says Jehovah” (39:5-6). The measure in which we display things to others will be the measure of our own loss.

Alas, so many people cannot forbear disclosing their experiences! They have to speak to their heart’s delight. This is like Hezekiah opening up his treasures to others. A brother once said, “Many of the brothers fall sick, and when they recover, they give their testimonies. I wish I could develop some sickness — but not a fatal one — and that God would heal me; then I would have something to say at the next testimony meeting.” This brother’s motive for healing was to be able to give a testimony. He sought an experience in order to have something to talk about. Oh! This superficial kind of living brings grave loss to us; it rules out the possibility of spiritual progress.

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