Last week, we began to discuss the end of Hezekiah’s life. When Hezekiah was appointed to die, God told him to get his house in order. This seemed to be a surprise to Hezekiah because he became very depressed about dying.
He asked God to remember all he had done and how faithful he had been. The text doesn’t say this, but I think he did this to get God to change His mind. Even though God granted his request with 15 more years, Hezekiah’s reaction leaves us with an important issue to consider.
In 2 Timothy 4, Paul is told the same thing by the Lord.
“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” -2 Timothy 4:6-8
Paul didn’t negotiate a few more years like Hezekiah did. He accepted and even embraced the Lord’s will.
Nate Saint, one of the missionaries who died with Jim Elliot in South America said, “When it comes your time to die, make sure all you need to do is die.” Leave no unfinished business or unresolved conflicts … just die. Just like Paul, we should accept that our departure has been scheduled and say, “It’s okay Lord. I am ready.”
Now why am I being so hard on Hezekiah about his departure date? Because in the extended 15 years of his life, he gave birth to the evilest son that would ever be king of Judah—Manasseh. We read in 2 Chronicles 33 that Manasseh not only introduced child sacrifices but also sorcery and demonic worship. Scripture says he was more evil than any of the Kings of Israel.
“But Manasseh led Judah and the people of Jerusalem astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the LORD had destroyed before the Israelites.” -2 Chronicles 33:9
I believe there is an important lesson for us to learn from this. Let the Lord determine the number of our days. When He calls, we need to be ready to embrace the truth that “to die is gain” (Philippians 1:20).
While we’re here on earth, we also need to teach the next generation about the Lord. Hezekiah had 12 years with Manasseh, and it looks like he taught him nothing about the Lord God of Israel and His faithfulness. What a lesson!
Brothers and sisters, fight hard to fill your heart with deep affection for Christ Jesus. So when our Father calls us home, our response will be one of joyous departure because we really know that “to die is gain.”