Hezekiah’s Weaknesses

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Hezekiah was delighted with the Babylonian envoys and showed them everything in his treasure-houses—the silver, the gold, the spices, and the aromatic oils. He also took them to see his armory and showed them everything in his royal treasuries! There was nothing in his palace or kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.

Isaiah 39:2

Hezekiah was one of the most pious and faithful kings of Judah. Chapters 37 and 38 of Isaiah testify to his exemplary trust in the Lord. But then, in Isaiah 39, we see some of Hezekiah’s weaknesses: his susceptibility to flattery and his pride over his possessions. When Babylonian officials offered their best wishes to Hezekiah, he was thrilled to show them all of “his” treasures. Apparently he didn’t stop to think of the dangers inherent in a relationship with Babylon, or the risks involved in displaying the royal treasures to those who might seize them. Thus Isaiah communicates the Lord’s displeasure in Hezekiah, predicting that someday the royal treasures—and even some of Hezekiah’s sons—would be carried off to Babylon (vv. 5-7). Indeed, this happened almost a hundred years later.

Hezekiah could be manipulated by flattery and could fall prey to pride. Like any other human being, he had his weaknesses, and these were costly, not only to him, but also to his people. Our leadership, whether in our jobs or families, whether in our churches or communities, can also be compromised by our weaknesses. Yet if we are aware of them, we can make sure they won’t wreak havoc in our lives. Perhaps we can ask close friends to hold us accountable. Or we might make sure that a colleague has strengths that balance out our weaknesses. An honest appraisal of our strong and weak suits will enable us to lead with effectiveness and faithfulness to God.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What are your strengths as a leader? What are your weaknesses? What have you done to minimize the impact of your weaknesses?

PRAYER: Gracious Lord, even as Hezekiah’s leadership was hurt by his weaknesses, so it can be with me. This is especially true if I try to pretend that I don’t have any. So, first of all, I pray that you will help me to see myself clearly. In particular, show me where I am weak, and how these weaknesses could hamper my leadership.

If my failings are sinful, may I confess them, receiving your forgiveness. Then, by your Spirit, help me to live rightly, with new freedom from sin.

If my weak spots are a matter of inability, help me to surround myself with people who are strong where I am weak. May I follow their leadership in contexts where I need their help.

Teach me, Lord, to listen, not only to you, but also to those in my life who can help me to see myself truly and to keep my weaknesses from doing damage. May I risk the vulnerability of true community, so that I might be the leader you have called me to be. Amen.