If you are a sports junkie like me you are aware that several historic athletic careers are nearing their end, specifically Tom Brady of the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Serena Williams of women’s professional tennis fame. Both athletes have won numerous championships in their sport and are seen as among the best to ever play the game. In Brady’s case, he continues to perform at an elite level well into his 40’s, something that is very rare in football.
Athletes like these, who defy the odds and extend their playing careers beyond what most players do, illustrate how hard it is for individuals to recognize when it’s time to “hang up the cleats” or formally retire. When you have enjoyed so much success and been at the top of your game, it can feel like it could last forever.
In many ways, Hezekiah’s life is comparable. He enjoyed a long 29-year reign as Judah’s king and honored God throughout. The writer of 2 Kings even says that, “Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him” (2 Kings 18:5). Pretty strong words when you consider all the kings on that list.
However, when God told Hezekiah it was time to retire, he wasn’t ready. Hezekiah pleaded with God and asked him to extend his life and his reign (2 Kings 20). So, God agreed to add 15 more years to Hezekiah’s life and allowed him to continue as Judah’s king.
Seems like a wonderful outcome, doesn’t it? Except it didn’t end so well.
Hezekiah made a fateful decision to collaborate with the king of Babylon, someone he saw as an advocate against the deadly Assyrians. He was oblivious to the outcome of his decisions. God sent Isaiah to tell him that his son, Manasseh, would be his last heir to rule over Judah prior to the period of Babylonian exile.
Of course, we can’t know how the story might have turned out if Hezekiah had accepted God’s initial decree that his reign would end. What we do know, though, is that those last years of his reign did not end well.
What about you? Are you sensing God is leading you to a transition in your life? Are you resisting because you can’t imagine life without whatever career, possession, location, etc. that you are clinging to? Think about Hezekiah and recognize that God’s plan for you is always best.
Heavenly Father, soften my heart to yield to your continual guidance in my life. I desire to be obedient to your leadership and help me not resist when I sense you are leading me to something new.
Throughout This Day: Be on the lookout for people in your life who are finishing well. Seek out biographies of influential individuals like Billy Graham or Harriet Beecher Stowe whose careers spanned decades and had impacts that were lasting.
Photo Credit: Matthew Henry on Unsplash