2 Chronicles 32:6-8
We continue today with the wonderful story of Hezekiah and his magnificent leadership. (It certainly was at this point.)
- What he did (6b): To ‘encourage’ is literally ‘to put courage in.’ It is an indispensable part of leadership. Discouraged people won’t serve to the best of their ability, and some may put a brake on serving altogether. Leaders need to learn how to speak and act in encouraging ways. Yes, we have to challenge people. There is a definite time and place for that. But we need to remember that week by week assembled…before us are people who are often facing great fears and overwhelming odds. Our leadership should exhale the air of encouragement.
- What he said (7, 8): As noted previously, Hezekiah was a realist. He did not hide from the brutal truth or attempt to shield his people from it. He just told them a greater truth. He acknowledged the presence and power of a contemporary ‘Goliath’. But he told the people that they needed to see him, as David did, in the light of God. The Himalayan peak of trouble is dwarfed before the infinite Almightiness of our God. Perspective is regained. Hezekiah’s approach was simple. He admitted that the army amassing against them was big, but he said ‘our God is bigger.’ In fact, ‘He is much bigger.’ Again and again we preachers have to stand in the pulpit and say, ‘’Yes, it is true that our world is like this. It is, as someone said, ‘going to hell in a hand cart.’ And yes, it is true that our personal problems often loom ominously over our heads. But here’s a larger truth: God is greater than all of this.’ Acknowledge the gloomy truth, by all means, but then ‘check mate’ it with the glorious truth. Play the ‘trump card’ of revealed truth. When we get a vision (and at best it can only be a glimpse) of who God is, it takes our breath away, and we are encouraged. The truth sets people free. Our task; our calling as leaders is to state it and restate it in all its sparkling clarity and simplicity. ‘There is a great enemy against us. How true! But there is a greater power with us.’ Hezekiah rallied the people, saying, ‘’Be strong! Take courage! Don’t be intimidated by the king of Assyria and his troops – there are more on our side than on their side. He only has a bunch of mere men; we have our GOD to help us and fight for us! The Message.
- 3. What happened (8b): I had to smile to myself. For a number of years a Bible College student spent around three weeks with us at ‘Bridge Street’ church in Leeds. Every year we had someone different, and they came to get some practical training experience. It was always a joy to have them. But I remember one rather cool young guy asking the senior minister, ‘Did you get a result last night?’ It makes me smile still today when I think about it. He was referring to a visit the senior pastor had made the previous evening, and I knew that my esteemed older colleague would not have used those terms! However, as I recall, I think he did ‘get a result’ on that visit!! There was a good outcome. Hezekiah certainly got his result. And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said. This is how it reads on the Message: Morale surged. Hezekiah’s words put steel in their spines. Result! (With a capital ‘R’)
Prayer: Lord, take my tongue and speak through me words that build and fill others with courage and hope.