“O Lord, if You get me out of this, I promise, from now on, I’ll…… ” Ever pray one of those? The king of Israel did and God came through in an astonishing way. One day he was on his death bed. Then, miraculously, his life was extended. It was such an amazing answer to prayer, when the word got out, some high officials from Babylon came visiting, wondering, “What’s he got that we don’t?” This was exactly how God had intended to attract others to faith in Him, as they noticed the blessings He bestowed on His people who followed His instructions.
But King Hezekiah didn’t follow through. When the Babylonians showed up, he didn’t take them down to the temple and explain about his prayer. In fact he did the exact opposite:
1 At that time Marduk-Baladan son of Baladan king of Babylon sent Hezekiah letters and a gift, because he had heard of his illness and recovery. 2 Hezekiah received the envoys gladly and showed them what was in his storehouses—the silver, the gold, the spices, the fine olive oil—his entire armory and everything found among his treasures. There was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them. (Isaiah 39:1-2)
God bailed him out, answered his foxhole prayer. The neighbors came around and asked, “How did you get healed?” Hezekiah’s answer amounted to bragging about how important a man he was, backing up his boasts by showing them how rich he was. But he learned a pretty tough lesson in the process. By failing to give credit to God, where it was due, and by bragging about all his riches, Hezekiah doomed his future.
5 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord Almighty: 6 The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. (Isaiah 39:5)
God doesn’t mind foxhole prayers; He is happy to respond. Just don’t forget Him when the dust settles…