Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Hezekiah's Removals

Last night I felt a bit like King Hezekiah. Not because I have delusions of grandeur, or desires of royalty, but because I was following his example from Isaiah 39:2.

And Hezekiah welcomed them gladly. And he showed them his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his whole armoury, all that was found in his storehouses. There was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them.

Prior to this, Hezekiah had been ill, and so when he recovered, the envoys of Babylon came to bring him a congratulatory gift. After the pleasantries, he gives them the guided tour of the palace, storehouses, riches, just about everything.

While we don't have silver or gold (apart from wedding rings!), last night I did show a man everything we have, as the removals man prepared an estimate for moving us from our curatage to our new rectory. The old awkward piano, the big wardrobe that'll need dismantling etc. When the quotes are in, we'll pick our movers and book the date of the big move. That was the very reason the man came this evening.

On the other hand, it was completely unexpected for Hezekiah. It's only afterwards that the prophet Isaiah comes to Hezekiah and tells him what it means:

Hear the word of the LORD of hosts: Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the LORD. (Isaiah 39:5-6)

In the next generation, the Babylonian removals firm will be so successful that the royal palace will be wiped out and everything moved to Babylon. Everything seen will be transferred, and Jerusalem left in ruins. The end of an era and the beginning of exile for the people of God.

It's no accident that the very next words after this promise of removal and exile are the glorious words of restoration and return:

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. (Isaiah 40:1)

A return so wonderful that Jerusalem will be exalted and all tribes will come to the city to learn from the LORD God. But that is years in the future when Hezekiah showed the contents of his palace. The Babylonians were very efficent, so that nothing was left behind. I just hope our removals firm are as good as those Babylonians!


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