Isaiah 39:5-8 “Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Hear the word of the Lord Almighty: 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. And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’ ‘The word of the Lord you have spoken is good,’ Hezekiah replied. For he thought, ‘There will be peace and security in my lifetime.’”
I came across this passage during my Bible reading last week and it stopped me in my tracks. I was entirely puzzled as to King Hezekiah’s response. His family would be enslaved, all of his riches plundered, and yet his response was, “[it] is good!”
Counting the Cost
King Hezekiah did not seem to struggle with his response at all – it was quick and precise: I’ve counted the cost and it will be worth it. Peace and securitywould be worth it. Hezekiah would gladly trade ALL his riches and the freedom of his family for the peace and security of his people. He would sacrifice so others could gain. He was not ‘looking out for number one’, he was caring for those under his leadership – many of whom, he did not personally know. He would have his family sacrifice for strangers.
Jesus did the same for us.
Christ sacrificed his freedom – ALL of it – to grant us eternal peace and security. Christ, as with Hezekiah, calls his family to willingly sacrifice their freedom. This is a difficult concept for us Americans. Freedom is what has defined us as a nation for well over 200 years. We have allowed it to define our culture and ourselves. We cling tight to these freedoms that were so hard-won all those years ago. We concern ourselves with protecting our freedoms, our rights. Have we done so at the cost of someone else’s eternity?
Our country affords us the right to speak up at anytime, any place, and for any reason. And we take advantage of that, because we’re allowed. But would we ever willingly give up that freedom, that right, in order to be a better witness?
Sacrifice, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is the destruction or surrender of something you want to keep in order to help someone else. Sacrifice is not an easy thing, it isn’t a pleasant thing, and it certainly isn’t fun. But it’s not about us – it never was. It’s about them. The lost. The lonely. The searching. Christ looked at me in my lost state and he sacrificed for me…and then he called others, His children, to sacrifice for me (parents, mentors, youth leaders, pastors, etc.). Christ did the same for you. But now it is our turn to do the sacrificing.
Ultimately God’s grace does not afford us the freedom to say and do as we wish (just read Romans 6!) Instead, it continually points us to an example ofimmense personal sacrifice for the sake of another. Christ asks us each and every day, each and every moment, “What are you willing to sacrifice to save someone else’s eternity?”