The world says, “Love yourself because that is the only thing that matters.”
Interestingly enough, there is a certain amount of love and care for ourselves in all of us.
The truth is that most of us do not need to be told to love ourselves, it is a natural notion. It is natural and normal for us to love ourselves but the problem stems in us loving ourself a bit too much.
Of course, we would like to believe that we are not a people for ourselves alone, but that is far from the truth.
Outside of Christ, most of our thoughts, cares and worries would revolve only around our present life. We would have no care for those coming after us or even those currently around us. This may not be true for all, but it is the reality for the majority of us.
This terrible truth about who we are does not pertain to our generation alone but also stands true for those that came before us.
Like many kings of the world, there was a king in the bible that was truly a man for himself. Unlike many before him, king Hezekiah was not an idol worshiper nor did he despised the word of the Lord. He lived a life of worship and many would refer to him as a great king. He lived and he conquered, with the grace of God. But he had no reins over his own heart close to the end of his life.
Ascending the throne at the age of 25, king Hezekiah was zealous for the Lord and set aright many wrongs in the land of Israel. He brought back the proper worship of God in the temple and the keeping of the Passover after many years of it been forsaken by past kings. And the Lord was with him. (2 Kings 18-19)
Now the time came that king Hezekiah fell sick and the Lord sent Prophet Isaiah to tell him to set his house in order for he will die soon.
On hearing this prophecy, king Hezekiah became extremely sad and decided to pray to God, reminding God of his faithfulness and loyalty towards God over the years. In mercy, God heard king Hezekiah’s prayer and immediately sent Isaiah back to him saying: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years.” (2 Kings 20:1-11)
Of course God was faithful and kept His word to the king.
Now on hearing of king Hezekiah’s sickness and recovery, the king of Babylon sent some gifts and letters to him. At this time, king Hezekiah was exceedingly rich and well off. Therefore, on receiving the men from Babylon, he decided to show them his treasures and riches.
Without discretion and full of pride, king Hezekiah showed the men from Babylon the depth and width of his kingdom. In doing this, the king took credit for his own prosperity and opened himself up for future attacks from the kingdom of Babylon. (2 Kings 20:12-13)
Now on being aware of Hezekiah’s actions, the Lord sent Prophet Isaiah to him to let him know that the days are coming when all that Hezekiah has and all that his fathers have accumulated over the years will be carried away to Babylon.
Not only that, but some of the sons of Hezekiah will also be taken captive to Babylon.
On hearing this, king Hezekiah said to Isaiah: “The message you have given me from the Lord is good.” For he was thinking, “At least there will be peace and security during my lifetime.” (2 Kings 20:19)
By having this mindset, king Hezekiah did not care for his descendants’ well being nor the predicament of his own people after he is gone.
It is important to note that the book of 2 Chronicles 32 verse 31 mentioned that when it came to the case of the men sent from Babylon, God withdrew from the king in order to test him so he might know all that was in the king’s heart.
By not having reins over his own heart at the end of his life, King Hezekiah became prideful, selfish and self centered in his thoughts. For someone that was able to pray and have more years added to his life, Hezekiah with his nonchalant attitude chose not to intercede on behalf of his people.
Caring only for his own well being and growth, Hezekiah’s heart was only steered towards his own good.
One can only wonder how we as Christians have the same heart as the king. How many of us are only about our own growth and well-being, either physically, spiritually or emotionally.
We may not have the boldness to voice it out like king Hezekiah did but we go around continually saying in our hearts, “As long as there is peace in my life. As long as I’m doing good.”
On another aspect, many do not understand nor do they care that their current life’s decisions can impact those coming after them, their children or children’s children.
As mentioned before, many of us do not need to be told to love ourselves; rather, we need to be reminded to care for and value others above ourselves. We need to be reminded to love others as we love ourselves.
“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” -1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Like King Hezekiah, no matter how good of a person or a Christian we may be, without the grace and intervention of God, we are still prone to have pride, selfishness and self-centeredness lurking around in our hearts.
Only God is good and He alone can help our hearts. We can only cry out to Him: “Lord, help us! Save us from our hearts, that we may stop being a people for themselves alone!”
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”-Philippians 2:3-4