Every leader (outside of Jesus) has his strengths and his weaknesses, virtues and vices. The Bible does not seek to hide these from her readers. In reading through the Bible in a year, I came across the story of Hezekiah, a story that has always troubled me a bit.
In the ranking of the kings of Judah, Hezekiah ranks as one of the good ones. He has a heart devoted to the Lord. Yet when he is given an extra 15 years of life, he shows off to the leaders of Babylon his “blessings”. He is then told that Judah will eventually go into exile, but not in his lifetime. Such a prophecy doesn’t bother him because it won’t happen in his lifetime. That’s not the response of a strong leader. Strong leaders look to legacy, they look to the long-term health of their church, their company, or their country.
In many ways Hezekiah is a bit like all of us, there’s Good Hezekiah and there’s Bad Hezekiah.
Good Hezekiah has a heart devoted to the Lord, When the powerful Assyrians who have already taken Israel into exile put the squeeze in Judah, Hezekiah leads from faith and fortitude. His message is clear, confident and committed to God. He says to the fearful, “Be strong and courageous. Don’t be frightened or terrified by the King of Assyria or the crowd with him. Someone greater is on our side.” (2 Chronicles 32:7). If you thought, a 24-1 winner at the Belmont was a long shot. This one is off the charts. No one would have picked Judah in this fight except God and Good Hezekiah.
I have admired how Good Hezekiah took the King of Assyria’s written threat and lays it out before the altar of the Lord. In prayer he paints an accurate assessment of the situation, and even more in faith pleas for God to act for God’s glory, not just Judah’s preservation. That’s Good Hezekiah.
But there’s also Bad Hezekiah. He becomes sick and is about to die. He pleas for a longer life and is granted an extra 15 years. Then the writer says in 2 Chronicles 32:25a, But Hezekiah was conceited, so he didn’t repay the Lord for his kindness.
Bad Hezekiah leads to Horrible Manasseh who is born during those “extra” 15 years of life. Manasseh’s rule is evil. Was it the conceited side of his father that drove him?
Each of us as leaders has our good side, our bad side. Which one are you feeding? Most of all are you remembering the kindness of the Lord, and giving Him thanks. He is the greater One on your side.