It was during the fourteenth year of Hezekiah’s reign in Judah that the king became "sick and near death". Isaiah, the prophet of God, instructed him to "Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live" (Isaiah 38:1,NIJV). King Hezekiah prayed to God to permit him to live. By the grace of God, he was granted an additional fifteen years to his life. The king was approximately forty years of age at the time of his illness and the pronouncement of his impending death. This must have been a tremendous shock to him. Death is common among infants and aged men expect to die; but a man in his prime and vigor of life is reluctant to face the reality of dying.
There is a great truth and fact held in common by all men and that is, death is inevitable. The Preacher wrote in the long ago, "For the living know that they will die" (Ecclesiastes 9:5). The inspired writer declared in Hebrews 9:27, "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment." In view of this fact, man should set his house in order, that is, prepare for the final act that will remove him from among the living. But, what is it to set one’s house in order?
It is stated that after his counsel had been rejected, Ahithophel went to his house, "Then he put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died" (II Samuel 17:23). It is not clear within itself as to the meaning of the phrase, "put his household in order". However, we can conclude that financial and worldly affairs may have been included. Normally, this is the accepted view as experience has taught us. Where there is an extended illness, men hasten to prepare a will and arrange for their families in matters of monetary interest. There are times when death comes so swiftly that there is no time for such transactions. Procrastination has caused many heartaches and family feuds when the grim reaper gives no forewarning.
There is another view of setting one’s house in order that is of greater importance than the worldly affairs, and that is the moral and spiritual aspects of a man’s life. We can set our house in order by having a right relationship with God. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all" (Ecclesiastes 12:13). As a penitent believer, one should be baptized into Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:36,38; Galatians 3:26,27). In living a faithful Christian life, one can rest assured that his house is in order regardless of how and when death overtakes him (Revelation 2:10). Try not to neglect those people who are touched by your life. Express your love to your mate and children; influence your family in the way of the Lord; treat your neighbors fairly and honestly; teach the lost of Jesus; care for the widows, orphans and indigent people. Now is the time to set your house in order. The late brother Frank L. Cox wrote the following.
"How to live And not how to Die
Is the great theme
Of the Book of books.
However, if we,
Trust the God of Peace,
Follow the Prince of Peace
Obey the gospel of peace,
And, if possible, live in peace With man,
We are assured of a peaceful departure,
And a safe landing on the golden shore.
It is when we learn how to LIVE
That we learn HOW TO DIE."