Last week we looked at six different tactics someone might use to destroy you as a leader or your organization (Click here to read):
- He will tell you you’re not good enough.
- He will try to convince you the Lord doesn’t care about you.
- He will try to convince you he is acting on behalf of God.
- He will try to bring enmity between you and your organization.
- He will spread lies about you.
- He will try to convince your organization things will be better if they will just follow him.
We illustrated each of these tactics through the story of King Hezekiah of Judah (2 Kings 18-19).
The Rabshakeh came to Jerusalem and stood outside the city gates and gave a long speech to all the leaders and others who could hear. He said they could never withstand an attack. God would not protect them, and in fact, he claimed the Lord had sent him to destroy them. Then he tried to pit the people against their leaders. He claimed Hezekiah was deceiving them. And finally, he promised great rewards and comfort if they would just surrender.
Let’s look back now at King Hezekiah to see how he dealt with the Rabshakeh.
Hezekiah Refused to Be Intimidated
Three top officers of the Assyrian government along with a large army positioned themselves just a few miles from Jerusalem. The Assyrians had first demanded a large ransom payment in return for not attacking and now they were preparing to attack. When the three officials showed up outside the city gates, Hezekiah refused to meet with them. He had no reason to believe anything they said.
Hezekiah’s First Response
Hezekiah’s first command, before the Rabshakeh even started his speech, was to the leaders and people. He commanded them to say nothing in response to the Rabshakeh but to simply listen and report to him.
When the Rabshakeh’s speech was reported to Hezekiah, Hezekiah went into the Lord’s temple. He then sent two officials to tell the prophet Isaiah about the threats from the Assyrians and asked Isaiah to pray to the Lord to save the people of Jerusalem.
Hezekiah’s Second Response
The Rabshakeh then sent a letter to Hezekiah restating his threats against the people of Jerusalem. He listed all the countries they had conquered as examples of how hopeless it would be to rely on God to save them.
Hezekiah took the letter and went into the Lord’s temple and spread it out before the Lord. Hezekiah prayed over the letter to the Lord asking the Lord to destroy the Assyrians so that all the nations would know that the Lord was the one true God.
God responded to Hezekiah’s prayer through the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah reported the Lord’s answer to Hezekiah saying the Lord himself would do battle against the Assyrians, defeating them.
That night the Lord did indeed decimate the Assyrian army and they returned home to Nineveh in defeat.
Three Important Lessons for Us
There are three important lessons for today’s leaders that we can draw from the example of Hezekiah:
- Discernment. Hezekiah showed great discernment in not meeting with the Assyrian officials. They had lied about their intentions already. There was no reason to believe they would suddenly start speaking the truth. And as it turns out, Hezekiah was right! The minute they started to speak they spread vicious lies, slandered Hezekiah, and impugned God’s righteousness.
- Humbled Himself and Asked God to Save Them. After hearing the Rabshakeh’s threats, Hezekiah humbled himself (tore his clothes and put on sackcloth as a sign of mourning) and asked Isaiah the prophet to intercede on behalf of the people and ask God to save them. Hezekiah knew without God’s intervention the people of Jerusalem could not stand against the Assyrians.
- Prayed Once Again. When Hezekiah received the threatening letter he immediately went into the temple and spread the letter out before the Lord. Hezekiah personally prayed for God to hear his plea and deliver the people from the Assyrians so everyone would know that the Lord was the one true God.
In the face of an insurmountable enemy, Hezekiah refused to be intimidated, showed great discernment as a leader, humbled himself before the Lord, sought the Lord’s wisdom, and prayed for the Lord to intervene, not for his sake but for the glory of the Lord.
The world could use a few more leaders like Hezekiah today!
Join the Conversation
As always questions and comments are welcome. How have you dealt with a modern-day Rabshakeh who tried to attack you or your organization?
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Category: Personal | Dependence on God