Many of you have done it. You have run a Google search of your name to see what personal information is available to the billions who have access to the worldwide web. It can be fun, and a little frightening, to see what others might learn about you. When I Googled myself I waded through a number of like-named people, most prominently a man who was wrongly convicted of murder and another who is a tattoo artist. Surveys indicate that 34 percent of American babies have sonograms posted on the web, and 92 percent have an internet presence by age two. Two-year-olds are developing an internet profile that will remain for the rest of their lives!
The truth is, long before Google there was a place where you could see yourself in stark detail. Have you not read, “There was a man who had two sons,” and not seen yourself in the story? (Jesus’ story of the Prodigal Son) Who hasn’t read, “Thou art the man,” and known that could be said of them? (Nathan’s statement to King David after his adultery with Bathsheba)
When our oldest son was four years-old I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. He said, “I’m going to be Goliath, and get hit in the head with a rock, and I’ll fall down.” Sometimes children see themselves in Bible stories in ways we don’t expect, or intend!
Like a mirror, Scripture enables us to see ourselves. With that in mind, consider King Hezekiah and his request that God extend his life when told that he would die. Found in 2 Kings 20, we learn that Hezekiah wept bitterly and asked God to remember his faithfulness. God heard his prayer and added fifteen years to Hezekiah’s life.
God extended Hezekiah’s life, but Hezekiah would have been better off dead. That sounds exceedingly harsh, but in Isaiah 39 we learn that it’s also true. If you recall, after God extended his life, Hezekiah sinned by showing envoys from Babylon all of his treasures.
Following that, Isaiah told Hezekiah that everything in his palace, and all that his fathers had stored up, would be carried off to Babylon. Not only that, but he told him that some of his own family would become eunuchs in the palace of Babylon’s king (Isaiah 39:5-7).
The consequences of Hezekiah’s sin were huge indeed. But the worst was yet to come, at least as it concerns Hezekiah’s character. After learning that everything the Jewish people built would be destroyed or stolen, and after learning that his own descendents would be emasculated, Hezekiah’s responded: “’The word of the Lord you have spoken is good,’ Hezekiah replied. For he thought, ‘There will be peace and security in my lifetime’” (Isaiah 39:8 NIV).
Have you ever read anything so selfish in all your life!? Yet, if I am honest, I have to admit that I sometimes see myself in Hezekiah. I would never speak it, but Hezekiah’s selfishness was not spoken either. He merely “thought” it. He was secretly thankful that the kingdom wouldn’t fall apart, and his children mutilated, until after he was dead. Of course, God sees our inmost thoughts.
In times of uncertainty, like those in which we live, it is tempting to retreat into your private place and “make the world go away,” to quote country crooner Eddie Arnold. Tempting, but oh so dangerous. We have children and grandchildren, some yet to be born. And what of the neighborhood boy, the ruffian down the street, who might marry your daughter and be a dad to your grandchildren. We’d best do all we can to love them and reach them with the gospel of Jesus Christ before the sun set.
If I could Google myself in the Scriptures, I would like to see myself in Andrew, who introduced others to Jesus. Or maybe I could be the “man born blind” in John 9, ignorant of many things, but confident in Jesus’ love and power.
How about you? What will be your final heritage … your ending Google? Will you be like Hezekiah who was secretly thankful that he wouldn’t see destruction, or will you prevent destruction by bringing the love and good news of Jesus to your neighbor? What will God include for your final Google entry? After all, He gets to write the ending.