left to himself

God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart. (2 Chronicles 32.31, ESV)

Some of the scariest words in Scripture. Left him to himself. To himself.
What do we come to when we are left to ourselves? To our own wretched hearts. To our own decisions, our own strength, our own sinful lusts and desires. To ourselves.
Upon reading this, I instantly felt my heart leap with fear.
Oh God, I have seen glimpses of the wretchedness of being left to myself. To remedy my own insecurity, my own emptiness. I have seen past the veil of my own heart and it is a dark place, Lord. Never. Never leave me to myself, Lord. I am so very desperate to cling to You. I have no other hope. No good lives in me. Jesus alone.
Hezekiah was left to himself, not after a season of trial and sin, but rather in a season of healing and prosperity.
Oh how vulnerable we are when we think we’ve got this all figured out. Pride creeps out of our wicked hearts and begins to make itself known in a fresh way. Look what I have, what I accomplished….Me. Me. Me.
God misses nothing.Hezekiah had been so blessed, so healed. But not one bit of it his own doing. But where did he point when the envoys of Babylon came sniffing around? To the One who heals? The Blesser and Giver of all good and perfect gifts? Weak in his natural man, like me, when given the opportunity to point to God and glorify Him, instead points to self.He saw Hezekiah’s motive and his response. He knew in advance what it would be. Oh and still our gracious God healed and blessed. Such grace.

So, God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart. Not for God to know, He already did. But rather for Hezekiah to know.

The God of all grace, and mercy, and love comes, at times, to test our hearts, to prove us genuine. Not for His own knowledge. He has all knowledge and intimately knows the heart of man.

No, God tests hearts so we will know. So, we can see the sin we are capable of apart from Him.

Had He never left him to himself, would ole’ Hez have ever come to repentance? Would he have ever come to know and trust God in the same way? Depend on Him so desperately? Not likely.

Why not?

We are so good at tricking ourselves, though often no one else is buying it. Tricking ourselves into thinking we’ve got this, and we believe our own hype. Before we know it then, we come to the point of believing ourselves to be indestructible. We would never admit it. But one day, before we know it and while we are still seeped in the word, our pride throws a shovel full of dirt over us. We realize we dug this hole ourselves, wearing the blindfold of our own pride, hiding us from the reality of our own sin.

But when our eyes are opened to the reality of who we are and the sin we are capable of, suddenly we recognize our desperate need for Him. Our daily desperate need for Him. It’s grace, really.

Sweet grace that brings us back to our Savior. Sweet grace that pours out over us to wash clean the wretched sinner. Sweet grace that reminds me constantly to press into His side because without Him, I am at a complete loss and only steps away from another ditch.

Never leave me to myself, sweet Jesus, lead me only ever near to Your side.

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