#175: Responding to the Rabshakeh Who Tries to Destroy You or Your Organization

Last week we looked at six different tactics someone might use to destroy you as a leader or your organization (Click here to read):

Rabeshakeh Organization
  • 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

 

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#174: A Modern Day Rabshakeh Will Try to Destroy You and Your Organization

Lessons from the Lesser Known

Every leader I have ever talked to has a story of someone who came along and tried to ruin them as a leader and/or destroy their organizations.

Rabshakeh

These organization killers come in all shapes and sizes. They can be inside your organization or attack from the outside. They may try to distract the organization from their work. They may try to divide the workers pitting them against their leaders. They may even try to take control of the organization itself.

King Hezekiah was just such a leader who had to deal with someone who tried to destroy the people of Judah. Hezekiah was trying to keep the people of Judah following the Lord and safe from the aggressive king of Assyria who had already conquered Israel. You’ll find Hezekiah’s story recounted in 2 Kings 18-19, and Isaiah 36-37.

When the king of Assyria threatened to invade Judah, Hezekiah tried to buy-off the Assyrians by giving them gold from the temple of the Lord. That wasn’t enough and soon the king of Assyria sent his military commander, someone known only by his title of “the Rabshakeh,” to convince king Hezekiah and the people of Judah to surrender (2 Kings 18).

The Rabshakeh tried six different tactics to convince the leaders and people of Judah there was no hope in trying to defend their country; the only smart choice was to surrender.

  • He tried to shake their confidence (vv. 19-21). The Rabshakeh belittled their military strength claiming not only could the people of Judah not defend themselves, even their allies could not help them withstand an attack.
  • He belittled their faith (v. 22). The Rabshakeh belittled their faith in the Lord and their commitment to worship before the altar of the Lord.
  • He claimed the Lord had sent him (v. 25). The Rabshakeh claimed the Lord himself had told him to come conquer Judah and destroy it.
  • He divided the people against the leaders (vv. 26-30). The Rabshakeh spoke to the leaders of Judah knowing the people could hear him. He tried to frighten the people by claiming the leaders would cause the people great suffering if they did not surrender.
  • He claimed Hezekiah was deceiving them (vv. 31 & 32b). The Rabshakeh said the people should not trust Hezekiah because he was deceiving them when he said the Lord would protect them.
  • He promised great rewards if they surrendered (vv. 31b-32a). The Rabshakeh promised if they would surrender the king of Assyria would provide for them by giving them their own gardens for food and wine, a land of bread, olives, and honey. But they must surrender, otherwise, they would be killed.

Lessons for us from The Rabshakeh

You don’t have to be the leader of a country to have someone come against you.

Here are six tactics a modern day Rabshakeh will use to try to destroy you and your organization:

  • You’re not good enough. The modern day Rabshakeh will say no matter how good you are, you are not good enough, you are not strong enough, you’ll never be successful, or this will never work.
  • The Lord doesn’t care about you. The modern day Rabshakeh person will try to tell you the Lord doesn’t really care about you and that you are foolish for putting your faith in Him.
  • The Lord told me to tell you. The modern day Rabshakeh will claim to have been told by God to bring a message to you to give up and do what they tell you.
  • Divide and conquer. The modern day Rabshakeh will try to shake the confidence of the organization in the leader; pitting them against each other. He will try to convince the organization the leader is only going to bring them great harm.
  • Your leader is lying to you. The modern day Rabshakeh will tell the organization the leader is not only wrong but is untrustworthy.
  • It will all be better if you do what I say. The modern day Rabshakeh will make all kinds of promises of wealth and security, if only you do what they say. They threaten if you do not follow them, you will most certainly suffer great harm.

The world is full of modern day Rabshakeh’s. It takes great wisdom and faith to persevere against them. But remember the words of John the apostle as he encouraged those who faced false prophets “…you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

The same is true for us today, He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world, and that includes any modern day Rabshakeh!

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Have you dealt with a modern day Rabshakeh in your role as a leader? What impact did they have on the organization?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Wisdom

 

 

 

 

#173: What Unique Trait Should Christians Share with Redwood Trees?

When I was a young lad, perhaps 13-years old, I along with 30 other members of Boy Scout Troop 193, boarded a rented school bus and set off on a 6-week adventure.

Trees, Unique, Redwood, Trait

We left Spokane, Washington and camped our way down through Oregon, into southern California, up through Nevada, and back home.

Along the way, in northern California, we stopped in the Redwood State Park to see the Giant Redwood trees. They are the oldest and tallest trees in the world.

These redwoods are truly amazing. Some of them are over 2,200 years’ old. They were already pretty good sized trees when Jesus was born! Now, however, they tower over 300 feet tall. Many are over 360 feet tall and 20 feet in diameter!

Despite their enormous girth and height, their roots are remarkably shallow reaching only 6-12 feet deep into the soil. What holds these majestic specimens up in the harsh winds of the coastal climate? Two things. Their roots stretch out fifty feet in all directions to give them stability. And they grow together in groves so their roots intertwine and support each other.

I’ve always thought this was an incredible picture of what it means to be in unity as a body of Christian believers. We are stronger together when our “roots” are spread out and intertwined. We are stronger together when we are united and support each other.

There are many Bible verses that speak to the importance of unity among the body of believers.

For example:

King David wrote how good and pleasant it was to God for believers to dwell together in unity:

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1).

The apostle Paul wrote extensively on the subject of unity among believers. Writing to the Ephesians and referring to the church, Paul said there is one body united by one Holy Spirit:

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).

Paul, again writing to the Ephesian believers compared the church to a body with every ligament supporting the rest:

“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:16).

Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers stressing their need to put aside divisions among them, to be united in mind and thought.

“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought” (1 Corinthians 1:10).

Writing to the Galatians, Paul taught we are all one in Christ. In the body of believers, there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, male and female, or slave and free. We are all one in Christ!

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26-28).

And finally, writing to the Colossians Paul exhorted them to let Christ rule in their hearts, united in one body of believers.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Colossians 3:15).

These are just a handful of verses that deal with the subject of unity among Christian believers. There is little doubt that the Lord’s hope for us is that we, as a body of believers, will be united in our faith.

What concerns me is there is often more disunity among believers than there is unity. We argue over minor points of theology. We publically cast dispersions on other denominations because they hold to a different liturgy or sing different kinds of worship songs.

No wonder the outside world looks on Christians with confusion and downright skepticism!

I do not believe this is disunity and division among the body of believers is pleasing to the Lord. As a body, we should be like the giant redwood trees of northern California whose roots intertwine providing strength and unity to all.

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. What is your view of unity in the body of Christians believers? Is it important?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Relationships | Interpersonal Relationships

 

#172: Situational Ethics and the Art of Dishonesty, Cheating, and Lying

The cover of a Success magazine some years ago shouted out its lead story, “The Art of Deceit.”

The story touted a new book leading the best-seller list in Asia (in Asia it’s called American Thick Black Theory, in America it’s called Thick Face, Black Heart). The young author had assembled witticisms from ancient Chinese military commanders into a manual for business people. Her book focused on how to create deceptive strategies to win in the marketplace.

Summing up her ideas, author Chin-Ning Chu says, “I talk about the positive aspect of the Taoist philosophy … and apply it to success. My book shows how winning is about self-conquering … You bring forth this divinely ordained power within you.”

People are paying $1,000 a head to hear her stories; to learn how to win by deception. In fact, the list of her corporate clients looks like a Who’s Who of the Fortune 500.

I’m ashamed that she can make a dollar in the United States. I wish there was such a lack of interest in her methods that she would take a cue from our marketplace and peddle her wares elsewhere. But wishing will not make it so. If it isn’t this author it would be another. It seems there is always someone willing to compromise principals in order to make a buck, and when they find out how easy it is, they offer to teach their success formulas to others (for a fee of course).

Having learned the techniques of deception to win in the marketplace, is it a very big jump of faith to think that these people will turn their skills inward to their peers climbing the corporate ladder or their bosses? Not to me. I see back-stabbing deceptive practices in the workplace all the time. One wonders why there is even a need for training in this skill.

“New Age” Management

Madame Chu, Shirley MacLaine, and others like them are trying to tell us that we are all gods. There are no absolute rights and wrongs. Our values are whatever we want them to be. This message is New Age through and through.

Chu’s own words condemn her. In the article, she referred to these methods as simply the application of Taoist philosophies. Taoism is a 4th century B.C. religious work ascribed to Lao-Tzu. The philosophy is outlined in the Tao-Te-Ching. It focuses on mythology, spirit possessions, and the quest to become one with Tao (a metaphysical absolute derived from a personal god). Does this sound like the philosophy you want to run your business?

Chu’s comment about how winning is about self-conquering and bringing forth a divinely ordained power within you is more Eastern religion packaged for New Age believers. Nowhere in God’s word do you find a reference to you and I becoming a god. Regardless of the amount of self-conquering, the only divine nature in us comes from the Holy Spirit.

Situational Ethics

Situational ethics is when people rationalize their behavior until they believe that what they are doing is right.

The first Biblical example comes in Genesis 3. Eve is lounging around the garden on a nice warm day when this crafty fellow comes along and asks her if she’s sure she shouldn’t eat from that tree in the middle of the garden. Eve says, “God says I’ll die if I eat or touch that fruit.” The crafty fellow says, “Oh you won’t die, but if you eat it you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Eve swallowed this rationale hook, line, and sinker. She talked herself into believing that it would be OK to disobey God. She wanted to be wise like God so she ate the condemned fruit and talked Adam into trying it. Thus, Adam and Eve became the first recorded case of the end justifying the means or situational ethics.

Another example of situational ethics is described in Proverbs 7. A father is teaching his son through a story of another young man. He described the scene, “For at the window of my house I looked through my lattice, and I saw among the naïve, I discerned amongst the youths, a young man lacking sense” (Proverbs 7:6-7). The father is describing a man young not only in years but also in spiritual maturity. A man who has not yet made up his mind about the values he will hold in his life. It is clear from the story that the danger to the young man is his not having made up his mind about his values. Without his values to guide him he is open to compromise, and compromise is the first step to a situational ethic.

More recent examples of situational ethics in world history include men like Mussolini and Hitler, or the kids on the street who think it’s alright to kill someone wearing the wrong color jacket who strays into their neighborhood.

Factory workers, managers, and executives are all prone to situational ethics. The factory worker teaches his child that it is wrong to lie, but when the boss says, “Did you forget to grease this machine?” he lies and says “No, not me boss!” because he doesn’t want to get fired. An executive tells his child it is wrong to steal but brings home pencils and pens from the office.

Results of Situational Ethics

Situational ethics; dishonesty, cheating, and lying because the ends justify the means occur in every company every day.

A company, a division, a work group, or even a single individual can be affected by a situational ethic. Whole companies are known for their results at any cost philosophies. Otherwise, good companies may have a division executive who puts so much pressure on his people to perform that they bend the rules and he looks the other way. Individuals may risk breaking rules just to get ahead.

In all these cases, people think that the end justifies the means. They think the situation allows them to make up new rules.

Allowed to continue, situational ethics will result in destructive behavior, poor performance, distrust, disloyalty, low levels of motivation, low productivity, and ultimately, poor profits.

Biblical Ethics

Deception is being dishonest, it is purposely misleading people, and it is willfully cheating in the attempt to win. The Bible is exceptionally clear on the subject of deception. God was giving Moses laws to give to the people of Israel when He said, “Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another” (Lev 19:11). You cannot get much clearer than this. For those that chose to ignore His Laws, God promised wasting diseases, fevers, famine, and slavery to foreign nations. The reward God promised to those that followed His laws included bountiful harvests, peace in the land, success in battle, and fruitful families (Lev. 26).

Peter, writing to Christians said, “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you his holy, so be holy in all you do…” (I Peter 1:14-15). Peter is encouraging us to be set apart to God, to be morally pure.

In simple terms, a Biblical ethic is integrity. The root of the word integrity is integer, meaning “Intact, untouched, whole.” Leopold Kronecker said, “God made integers, all else is the work of man.” In his book The Integrity Crisis, author Warren Wiersbe wrote, “God wants to make integers; Satan wants to make fractions.” God wants us to be whole, Satan wants us to be divided.

Biblical ethics provide reliable standards that promote consistent ethical behavior, increasing productivity, trust, loyalty, high levels of motivation, and ultimately, higher profits.

One Final Thought

I doubt any of us would say that we want to be deceptive or that we want to lie and cheat. But deception, lying, and cheating are an everyday occurrence in business. We have become so desensitized that, too many, certain levels of deceit are acceptable. White lies are OK as long as the end justifies the means.

Not too long ago a young man was accused of dodging the draft, smoking pot, and cheating on his wife. He was elected President of the United States. There’s no way around it; ethics are not as important as they used to be.

Jesus tells us, “You are the salt of the earth … You are the light of the world … Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16 NAS).

When it is dark, turn on a small flashlight. See how even a small flashlight penetrates the darkness? You are a small light penetrating the darkness. Let your light shine before men!

Bonus Whitepaper

This week’s post is excerpted from a 6-page whitepaper entitled Situational Ethics and the Art of Dishonesty, Cheating, and Lying.”

This whitepaper is a broader discussion of situational ethics versus Biblical ethics including:

  • Total Integrity Management and Biblical Ethics.
  • Six steps to establishing a Biblical ethic in your life.

You can download the free 6-page whitepaper here: Situational Ethics and the Art of Dishonesty, Cheating, and Lying.”

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you had to deal with people who had a situational ethic; the ends justifies the means attitude? How did it effect the organization?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Integrity