1544) Put Your House in Order

By Rebecca Mitchell, at:



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II Kings 20:1-6a  —  In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death.  The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says:  Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”

Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord“Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.”  And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him:  “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says:  I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you.  On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord.  I will add fifteen years to your life.’


“Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.”

–II Kings 20:1 (King James Version)

     My mother grew up in a family that saw a lot of sorrow.  Several of her siblings died in infancy, hard-earned money was scammed from them for Oklahoma oil wells that never delivered (existed?), an Iowa farm was lost in the 30’s.  And my mother’s mother fought a difficult battle for many years with multiple sclerosis.  On New Year’s Day of the year my mother turned 13, each of the family members chose a year verse, as was their habit.  The verse my mother’s mother chose for herself was 2 Kings 20:1 —“Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.”

     My grandmother died that year just days after Christmas.  She spoke her last words to her family, all gathered around her bedside, and the words pointed to joy:  “I’ll be waiting for you just inside the Eastern Gate.” (see Revelation 21:13 below)

     I heard this story often as a child, and now that I am older, I think the verse is a wonderful year verse for each one of us.  Is our house in order with the Lord?  Are we keeping short accounts with friends and family, eager to forgive, averse to holding grudges?  Are we regularly telling the ones we love how important they are to us?  Are we giving our best to the Master with our time, our skills, our money?  Are we taking time every day to praise and worship and thank the Lord for all His goodness to us?  Do we show God’s grace and joy to those in our sphere of influence?  Do we seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance?  Do we love with the love of Christ?

     I never met my grandmother, of course.  But that day will come.  And when we meet, “just inside the Eastern Gate,” I will thank her for teaching me to prepare willingly and carefully not only for death, but also for eternal life in Heaven.


Revelation 21:3-7…10…13  —  I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.  They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”  Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  He said to me:  “It is done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.  To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.  Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children…  And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God…  There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west.


Lord, as you prepare a place for me, prepare me for that place.

–St. Lawrence