King Hezekiah was an ancient ruler who trusted God for an amazing victory in the face of overwhelming defeat. God protected him in miraculous ways, including extending his life for 15 years when he faced certain death. Hezekiah had prayed and God had responded generously.
But at the end of his life, an odd thing happened. The king of Babylon came to visit and Hezekiah showed him all the wealth of the treasury. "He showed them all his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his armory, all that was found in his storehouses; there was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them." 2 Kings 20:13.
I'm kind of shocked at Hezekiah's lack of wisdom. It's like showing raw meat to a guard dog, expecting him to sit quietly and not go for the goodies.
The prophet Isaiah then comes to Hezekiah with a warning: future generations would be carted off to Babylon, captured and exiled.
Hezekiah thanks Isaiah for the prophecy, "The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good."
But here's what he thought: "Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?" (2 Kings 20:19). Hezekiah wasn't overly concerned about the future as long as things were good in his days.
The prophecy came true, by the way. The nation ruled by Hezekiah was humiliated by Babylon, taken into exile and dominated.
Let me shift to America now.
When you think about the American Dream, what comes to mind? For some, it's the cliche of a chicken in every pot and a car (or two or three) in every garage. In other words, some dream of prosperity and comfort.
In this election year, maybe even more than in the last few, we face decisions that will affect the path of the American Dream. (As my daughter likes to say, when you come to a fork in the road, take it.) We have a fork in the road, two distinct philosophies and goals.
My friend Maxine has begun a series on the American Dream. She's asked for comments about your idea of the American Dream.
So am I. What do you dream for America - for your children and grandchildren, for future generations as well as for yourself? For myself, I don't want to show off the riches in my storehouse while ignoring what's ahead.
So what's your dream?