Isaiah had just finished telling Hezekiah the grim news of the fall of Jerusalem and the enslavement of his own descendants. The king was told of the Babylonian captivity. And he was happy.
“The word of the LORD you have spoken is good,” Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my lifetime.” (Isaiah 39:8, NIV)
I wonder how we are supposed to read this. Hezekiah was one of the good kings of Judah as the Bible tallies such things. He purified the Temple. He withstood the attack of Assyria. He turned to the LORD for deliverance in his illness. It could be that he rightly understood the peace during his lifetime as a reward from God. The prophecy about Jerusalem was not about divine punishment connected in any way to Hezekiah, but a prediction about the future disobedience of the people.
The story as recounted in Isaiah and 2 Kings appears to connect the prophecy of coming doom for Judah with Hezekiah showing the envoys from Babylon his riches and wealth. The suggestion is that Hezekiah was caught up with sinful pride. He mistook the wealth as a sign somehow of is own grandeur. This is no explicit in the text, so far as I can see, but might be there.
These thoughts swirl for me because it seems to me that we have a lot of Hezekiah congregations. They are pleased with the prospect of short-term peace, even if the word for the future is of woe.
Is this something to dread or celebrate?