Great Men and Humility

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), July 21

Leaders who are decisive and live humbly before the Lord attract followers.

imagesAs the Assyrians laid siege around Jerusalem, King Hezekiah’s faith in God shone. He had an it-may-be faith when he beseeched Isaiah’s intercession: “It may be that the LORD your God will hear all the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to reproach the living God, and will rebuke the words which the LORD your God has heard. Therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left” (2 Kings 19:4).

This scene reveals a number of truths about God-fearing leaders:

  • God-fearing leaders are not swayed by public opinion. Hezekiah was not afraid to admit his limitations and the hopelessness of his situation. He was not afraid to appear weak and defenseless before God’s prophet or before the people whom he led.
  • God-fearing leaders go public with their humility before God, “And so it was, when King Hezekiah heard it, that he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD” (19:1).
  • God-fearing leaders seek to discover the will of God rather than use their energies to defend themselves, “So the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah” (19:5).
  • God-fearing leaders discipline their thoughts and emotions and bring them in line to what is true about God, “And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and spread it before the LORD” (19:14). Hezekiah did not allow the threatening letter to marinate in fear and worry, but straightway submitted the letter before the LORD.
  • God-fearing leaders develop and operate out of a strong and correct view of the Sovereignty of God. Hezekiah’s prayer begins with an exalted view of God, “O LORD God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth, You have made heaven and earth. Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see . . . .“ (19:15-16a).
  • God-fearing leaders understand what is at stake and dare to ask big requests of God, Hezekiah recognizes the idolatry of Assyria and its implications, should Assyria defeat Judah, “Truly, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands—wood and stone. Therefore they destroyed them. Now therefore, O LORD our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the LORD God, You alone” (19:17-19).
  • Finally, God-fearing leaders experience God’s deliverance. Isaiah assures Hezekiah of God’s intervention. Isaiah sends messengers to Isaiah, “Surely, I will send a spirit upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land” (2 Kings 19:6-7; Isaiah 37:7).

Questions from today’s chronological reading (2 Kings 19; Is. 37; 2 Chron. 32:9-23):
Describe how pagans view God and God’s people.
What does Isaiah communicate about God and about Assyria to Hezekiah through his message delivered by the son of Amoz?
How does God deliver Hezekiah and Judah from the Assyrians? What does this reveal about God and His sovereignty?