The Temptation of Selfishness (Isaiah 39:8) - Radical

The Temptation of Selfishness (Isaiah 39:8)

“Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.’ For he thought, there will be peace and security in my days.”
– Isaiah 39:8

In order to realize what is so wrong about what Hezekiah said to Isaiah, we’ve got to realize what just happened before this.

What Happened Before Isaiah 39:8

Isaiah just told Hezekiah that because he had been jealous for the favor and the acclaim of foreign governments. When they came, he wanted to show off all that they had and the temple. And show off all that he had as the leader. Because of that, the days would be coming that all of the things in his house that his forefathers had stored up for that day would be carried away to a foreign nation. Nothing would be left. He even said that some of Hezekiah’s sons from his family line would be taken away from Jerusalem. Given away to a foreign government where they would become eunuchs in the palace of that foreign government’s king.

Isaiah 39:8 Reminds Us to Look at the Perspective of Others  

We are tempted to always look at things around us through the lens of how they affect us rather than others.

So, this was very bad news for those who would come after Hezekiah. But then Hezekiah responds. He says in Isaiah 39:8, “The world of the Lord that you’ve spoken is good.” And he thinks to himself, because that means there’s going to be peace and security in my days. He is so focused on himself. Just as He was focused on himself when foreign governments came. And he wanted to show them all that he had. As if he’s the one who’s provided all these things instead of God.

In his pride, he’s saying, “Look at me, look at all I have,” to these foreign governments, so that is selfishness there and then, now, when he hears this prophecy of judgment to come and horror even for his family, he takes solace in the fact that at least there will be peace and security for him in his days.

This Verse Reminds Us We Need Deliverance From Selfishness

I see in Hezekiah temptation that I see in my own heart. I’m guessing you do as well. This temptation towards selfishness, to always look at things around us through the lens of how they affect us. Instead of thinking and caring about how things are going to affect others around us. We need daily to be delivered from this kind of selfishness that wants to acclaim of others. And Selfishness that is always thinking through, how can I position this or that in ways that will be good for me.

This Verse Reminds Us to Ask God for Help Fighting Pride

“Oh, God, help us,” we pray, “Please deliver us from the pride that we see in Hezekiah, that we are prone to in our lives. Please, oh, God, deliver us from consumption, from what others think about us. And from being consumed with how circumstances are going to affect us and what’s going to be good for us. God, help us to think about what’s good for others. Help us to live for that which is good for those around us.

Ultimately, oh, God, help us to be concerned with your glory. Living for your sake, for the sake of your name among people around us. God, we pray that you would save us from selfishness today, just in little things and big things in our lives. Please save us from our selfishness. And help us to live for the good of others and the glory of your name in all that we do today. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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