Symptom of Narcissism

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), July 22

How can someone who began so well end so poorly?

Hezekiah experienced God’s intervention on his behalf when God killed 185,000 of the opposing army.
Hezekiah also experienced God’s intervention in nature when God caused the sun to go back 10 steps.
Pretty cool stuff.

Hezekiah’s experiences make him cocky—so cocky that when the Babylonian king’s son hears about Hezekiah’s healing and the sun going backwards, he comes to visit Hezekiah, and Hezekiah “showed them all the house of his treasures” (2 Kings 20:13). Confronted by Isaiah for his prideful foolishness, he does not repent but rejoices that he, at least, will not experience captivity by the Babylonians.

Hezekiah’s statement reveals a narcissistic personality, “‘And they shall take away 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.’ So Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘The word of the LORD which you have spoken is good!’ For he said, ‘Will there not be peace and truth at least in my days?’” (20:18-19). Hezekiah apparently gave no thought as to how his decision would affect the lives of his descendants. He was only concerned about the here and now— his best life now!

Daniel, one of the captives taken to Babylon, hails from the royal family and is of noble birth (Dan. 1:3, 6). That he is a eunuch is probable since he is given into the charge of Ashpenaz, the master of the eunuchs.

What prompts a person to live in blatant disregard for the consequences of his actions upon others?

All of Hezekiah’s problems may stem from one thing: not once after experiencing God’s intervention in his life, in any of his conversations with Isaiah, does he express any gratitude. It doesn’t appear that he thanks the Lord for His intervention on his behalf with the Assyrian army, nor does he express gratitude to the Lord for his healing. Instead he shows off his possessions, as if they are his to show off. Never mind that his showing off whets the appetites of the Babylonians for these possessions.

imagesIngratitude is a symptom of narcissism and spiritual madness; it is the ugly monster that rears its head in those whose proud hearts refuse to acknowledge God and His gracious gifts.

An ungrateful person doesn’t care that others suffer as a result of his actions. Ingratitude leads to further spiritual madness, as seen in Romans 1:21, “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

It only takes a moment for the heart to deviate from gratitude to ingratitude—from God-centeredness to self-centeredness; therefore God’s people must cultivate a heart of gratitude.

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (2 Kings 20:1-19; Is. 38-39; 2 Chron. 32:24-31):
A reprieve from death and immense prosperity are heady stuff. Why does the LORD withdraw the sense of his presence from Hezekiah after he becomes prosperous?
The Babylonians are a small and budding nation, seemingly too far away to be a threat to Judah during the days of Hezekiah’s reign. What does Isaiah promise regarding the Babylonians? How will their eventual power impact Hezekiah’s descendants? Why does the LORD provide this information over a hundred years in advance (Is. 46:9-11)?