First Reading: Isaiah 22:19-23

Measure to the Heart

How do you measure the character and intent of others?

Thus says the LORD to Shebna, master of the palace:

19 I will thrust you from your office. You will be pulled down from your station.

20 It will happen in that day that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, 21 and I will clothe him with your robe, and strengthen him with your belt. I will commit your government into his hand; and he will be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. 22 I will lay the key of the house of David on his shoulder. He will open, and no one will shut. He will shut, and no one will open. 23 I will fasten him like a nail in a sure place. He will be for a throne of glory to his father's house.

World English Bible

Isaiah prophesied during the reign of King Hezekiah, a religious king loyal to the Lord. He was a reformer who centralized worship to YHWH in Jerusalem. He also faced off against Assyria, the regional superpower that swept south into Judah. The Assyrian king, Sennacherib, breathed threats against Hezekiah and his officials, Eliakim the prime minister and Shebna the state secretary. (See Isaiah 36-37 and 2 Kings 18-19). These few verses from Isaiah 22 implied Eliakim was promoted for his loyalty to Isaiah and the king. But, Shebna suffered demotion from his critique of the prophet.

The power of these verses were not in the people mentioned. (We can only speculate at the cause of the prophet's diatribe). Its power remain in God's judgement. The truly faithful would receive their reward, while the devious and two-faced would suffer condemnation. The verses remind us that there was such a thing as ultimate judgment. Such belonged in the hands of God.

God's scale is the heart. How do you feel God measures your heart? Your intentions?