Don’t you just hate that moment in a scary movie where the heroine has just breathed a sigh of relief because her stalker is out cold and she carelessly lays down her weapon and lets down her guard? She seems oblivious to the normal turn of events in such scenarios, but you’re no dummy. You know what’s coming…
The villain, thought to be lifeless on the floor in a pool of blood, somehow rallies to and reaches out for the carelessly abandoned weapon. The heroine is cluelessly leaning against the wall, running her fingers through her sweaty hair and assuming the battle is over. Suddenly the music intensifies, the villain wraps his evil fingers around the weapon and rises in one last attempt to take his victim down with him.
All the while I’m screaming at the TV, “Hey you dummy! Look up! He’s after you! It’s not over yet!”
Fortunately the heroine hears my cries of alarm, gets a grip, grabs the weapon and puts a true and final end to the villain. Finally, the threat of harm is indeed put to rest. All is well.
But that’s exactly why I don’t watch many scary movies–too many heroines who are too quick to breathe a sigh of relief. It gets my blood pressure up and causes me to head to the kitchen for comfort food.
Today I read one of those nail biters in 2 Kings 20. King Hezekiah had just hung in there and sent his enemy, the king of Assyria packing. Praise be to God, he had not given into the nasty king’s threats and sarcasm, but had trusted in God to defeat Assyria’s mighty army. And God had told Hezekiah through the prophet Isaiah that indeed the Assyrian king would pack up his men and horses and chariots, skeedaddle, and even end up dead within his own land. God had allowed Assyria to take the people of Israel into captivity (He had his holy reasons), but He wasn’t about to allow this wicked king to take down Judah and the city of Jerusalem.
And so with the king of Assyria dead and the threat gone, Hezekiah breathes that infamous sigh of relief. Big mistake. Happy to be rid of his enemy, Hezekiah invites the king of Babylon in to see all of the treasures of his house. He shows him the silver and gold, the spices and precious ointments, and the armory. Scripture makes it clear that there was nothing of value Hezekiah didn’t share with the king of Babylon.
Hezekiah had forgotten that just because one enemy was no longer a threat didn’t mean that he had no worries. He had let his guard down. When Isaiah found out about the king of Babylon’s friendly little visit with Hezekiah he warned him of the consequences. He told Hezekiah that one day Babylon would come in and take all of those precious belongings, nothing would be left. Not only that, but Babylon would take away all that was of value to Judah. They would even take “some of your sons who will descend from you, whom you will beget; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”
Do you know who those “sons” would be? Does Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego ring a bell? There would be a huge payment for Hezekiah’s negligence to keep his guard up.
This little story made me think about how we also mistakenly let our guards down sometimes. Just when we’ve defeated one spiritual enemy, put down one idol, resisted one temptation, or defeated one urge of the flesh, we rest a little too easy and the next threat catches us by surprise. Maybe it’s pride or maybe it’s just neglecting to size the enemy up correctly, but we put down our spiritual weapons, get up off our knees, put away the Word of God and rest on our laurels. And before we know it the enemy is rearing up from where we thought we’d knocked it out once and for all and we’re caught unawares.
Have you had a spiritual victory lately? I hope to goodness you have. But take a clue from both our careless heroine and the overly confident Hezekiah. Keep your guard up. Put on the full armor of God every day. Pray, for the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Walk humbly with your Lord, for pride goes before a fall. And know your enemy. It’s true that Jesus has won the victory, but there remains a few battles to be fought. And your integrity, your joy, your peace, and your testimony are on the line.
Hey, let’s be careful out there today.