At first, it might seem as if nothing has changed between 2 Kings 19 and 2 Kings 20. Hezekiah is praying, and God is answering. However, 2 Kings 20 stands not only as an encouragement to us to persist in prayer but also as a warning to us to guard our hearts against pride. In 2 Kings 19, Hezekiah prayed on the basis of God’s character. In 2 Kings 20, he prayed on the basis of his own character. In 2 Kings 19, Hezekiah prayed toward the end that the kingdoms of the earth would know that the Lord is God alone. In 2 Kings 20, he was eager to show the envoy sent by the king of Babylon his own wealth and possessions. In 2 Kings 19, Hezekiah prayed for God to save “us,” His people. In 2 Kings 20, he was content with the fall of Judah and the exile of his own sons, just as long as it didn’t happen in his day.
God did not change, but Hezekiah did, at first in ways that would have been undetectable to others. He was still praying, still speaking the language of faith, but his heart was centered on his own glory and not the Lord’s. He was concerned only with what happened to himself, no matter how bad it would get for others. Hezekiah’s story can hold up a mirror to our lives today. We’re reading our devotional, we’re praying, but is pride seeping in? Let’s ask the Lord to search our hearts, that we would pray according to His character, for His glory, and for the good of those around us.