In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover. " Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD. . . 2 Kings 20:1-3a (NIV).
The prophet Isaiah approached an ill man by the name of Hezekiah long ago and said, "This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover. " It was a divine oracle advising Hezekiah to prepare for death.
In his blog entitled, Momentary Inspection #1 [http://www.stupidchurchpeople.com], the writer asked “What do you wish you would have done before you die?” I wonder, what we would do if we knew we only had 24 hours left to live. Most of us are not in this position (or do not know that we are) so perhaps you couldn’t care less to ponder it. We rise in the morning without ever giving a second thought to the possibility of death or the judgment bar of God.
We live in a time where we do not seem to regard the things God has so generously given to us as being precious and dear to our hearts. From all appearances, we take everything for granted. Not only do we take God for granted, but from my observations, we also take our husbands, our wives, our children, our homes, our automobiles and so on and so on and so on.
We get into our cars confident that it is functioning properly and will perform its duty of getting us to our destination without a hitch. Thus, we do not bother to whisper a prayer of protection to the Father. We go about our daily business and chores fully in control of our lives, or so we think.
Having worked in hospice setting for a number of years and being at the bedside of those who only had a few months and then days left to live, I have come to believe that if we knew definitely that our time was limited, we would look at the world with different eyes. We would suddenly begin to see things more clearly.
There is something of the ancient priests and Levites in all of us on ordinary days. We look the other way of those who are in need; we direct the Lazarus’ who comes begging to us for crumbs to the welfare office – after all we are providing for them through our taxes. We close our eyes to the sick and elderly, who are confined, ill and lonely in heart. We do not have time for our friends and relatives who may call on us in the wee hours of the night – just to talk out their problems. We are too busy, too tired, too sleepy, too ungodly and too much in a rush going nowhere.
Think along with me, what would you do if one with respected knowledge said to you, “get your house in order, you will not recover. ” We know that it happens daily when we consider the hundreds of people who are told by medical authorities “your illness is terminal. ”
When Hezekiah heard the news of his impending death, he turned his face to the wall and prayed. And isn’t that what we need? Do we not need more praying Christians, more praying clergy, more praying parents, and more praying officials? I still believe that one of the biggest mistakes we Americans ever let happen, was to allow prayer to be taken out of the schools.
We must put our house in order.
Rev. Saundra L. Washington, D. D. , is an ordained clergywoman, veteran social worker, and Founder of AMEN Ministries. She is also the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow: Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances: Homilies that Teach which can be reviewed on her site. Her new book, Out of Deep Waters: My Grief Management Workbook, is expected to be available soon.
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