Set Your House in Order (2 Kings 20:1)

Hezekiah was one of the best kings that Judah had. He was righteous and followed the LORD and brought about many reforms in Judah. Then it is perhaps somewhat puzzling, at the very peak of his reign, immediately after effecting reforms in Judah and turning the people back to the LORD, that Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, comes to him with the word of the LORD, saying, “Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.” (2 Kings 20:1) I believe there is a message here for every believer, in that we, too, need to “set our house in order” so that we will be more fruitful as followers of the Lord Jesus.

First we must understand the urgency of setting our house in order. Observe that Hezekiah was told that he was going to die. While it may seem obvious, the reality is that all of mankind is going to die, and that includes believers. Like Hezekiah, all people must deal with the fact of their own death and consider that then they will stand before the judgment seat (Hebrews 9:27; 2 Cor. 5:10; Romans 14:10). All the details of this judgment are not clearly described in the Bible, but the fact that all who are living in the flesh are continually subject to death (even Christ – Romans 6:9) is perfectly plain from Genesis onward (Genesis 2:17). Since we do not know the day of our death and since there is nothing that guarantees that our death is not imminent, there is an urgency in setting our house in order. So do it now.

Next we should understand the reason for setting our house in order. The reason we are to set our house in order is not because we fear death and are desperately trying to delay our death. Those who are of the world fear death and do everything in their power to postpone death and give themselves one more heartbeat. By contrast, those who have placed their faith in Christ have been delivered from the fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-15; Matthew 10:28; 1 Cor. 15:54-55) and so they view death very differently. For the believer, to live is Christ and to die is gain (Phil. 1:21). For the one who has trusted in Jesus, death is merely falling asleep (Acts 7:60; 1 Thess. 4:13). After death, the believer is immediately and always with the Lord (Phil. 1:23; 1 Thess. 4:17-18). Since all these things are true, what is the reason that the believer is to set his house in order? The believer is to set his house in order so that he or she can run hard after the Lord with reckless abandon in this life. You and I are to set our house in order so that we are not hindered from pressing toward the prize. If the affairs of this life are settled and we have taken care of what will happen when we are gone, then we can be fully focused on fruitful labor (Phil. 1:22) and can be intent of being useful to the Master (2 Tim. 2:21). Our full energy can be aimed at doing the good works that God has prepared for us (Eph. 2:10; Titus 2:7, 14; 3:8, 14). Therefore, set your house in order now so that you can serve Christ with undistracted devotion.

Here, then, are some suggestions for setting your house in order. These are in two categories: the eternal and the temporal. Setting your house in order obviously begins with being certain of your eternal destiny. Begin, then, by being certain of your salvation. Have you trusted in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation? But then, once your destiny is certain, consider your legacy. What works has the Lord given you to do that only you can accomplish? Jesus said that He had glorified the Father by accomplishing the work that He had given Him to do (John 17:4). Jesus had been given the calling to be the sin-bearer and the sacrifice for all His people, but I believe that all disciples of Jesus have been given a unique calling that are theirs alone to do. Is it writing or proclaiming or evangelizing or praying or leading or giving? What has the Lord called you to do before He calls you home? It is good to give a lot of energy and time to those good deeds or those tasks which the Lord has assigned to you alone. These good deeds will be your legacy in eternity.

Finally there are some very practical things that you can do in the temporal realm that clear away concerns about unfinished business. Have a life insurance policy that provides finances for your family which you would have provided. Prepare your will and other documents that prevent a mess with your affairs when you die. Plan out your funeral. Give someone you trust a copy of your personal testimony declaring your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ so that, even though you are dead, you will still speak (Hebrews 11:4). Talk about your death with your loved ones so that they will be comforted when you die.

Hezekiah was not ready when he was told he was going to die (2 Kings 20:2-3), but the follower of Jesus Christ is told to always be ready to meet the Lord (Matthew 24:42, 44; 25:13). Part of being ready is setting your house in order so that you can wait expectantly for your appointment with the King.                                                            SDG   rmb   9/28/2016

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