Lecture

Welcome back now to section 8. We’re here, and I’m excited that we’ve come along this far in our journey. I’m excited because we’re coming to some of my favorite kings. Last time was a bit challenging, very soul searching, as we looked at lessons in the kings of Judah. And I pray that you are able to allow God to search you and make certain that all wounds are healed and you have received fully the spirit of adoption.

But now we’re going to go to the son of Amaziah. His name is Uzziah. He’s also called Azariah in other places in the Bible, so that name is interchangeable. But this guy is such a phenomenal king. He’s not only a king, a politician, a nation’s ruler—that’s not good enough—he’s an engineer; he’s an innovator. He created all types of weapons of war to protect their nation, created a sewer and running-water system. Back in those ancient days, there were all types of things that they had done in the nation of Judah under the leadership of Uzziah. This man was a true innovator. And I want to look at his reign.

30. Pride will eliminate a leader’s effectiveness

And there is one main lesson that we’re going to learn from him: that pride will eliminate a leader’s effectiveness. Pride will eliminate a leader’s effectiveness. We see this in 2 Chronicles 26:16, then skip down to verse 19–21. As I mentioned, Uzziah was a unique king. He was a diplomat. He was a scientist. He was an inventor. He was a statesman. All kinds of things. However, with all of his innovations, all the great things that he did, his success proved to be an albatross around his neck. Because, the danger was that his gifts and talents inflated his pride. His gifts and talents got him inflated. We must be careful; our pride will eliminate our effectiveness if we’re not very judicious and allow ourselves to be humble before the Lord. Here’s the key: You have had many victories as a leader. You’ve had many successes. But true humility states that if I do anything well, it was all God who did it. And if I failed at anything, it’s all me. So all glory goes to God; all blame goes to me. And I’m able to move forward. Even though during Uzziah’s time there was unprecedented prosperity, the economy was booming, there was peace, everything was in order under Uzziah, this pride caused him to think that he was bigger than God’s law. What happened is that Uzziah felt when he went to the temple he could take over what the priest was doing for himself. “I can do it myself.” And they told him, “Step back. You can’t do these things.” He said, “I’m the king. I brought this prosperity. I’ve done these things.” And God struck him with leprosy; and he was isolated the rest of his life.

Pride will isolate you, even with victories and success. We’ve seen many people who’ve had many victories, earned a lot of money, you can earn trillions of dollars—I don’t think I’m talking to any trillionaires, but if I am, God bless you. But you could earn trillions of dollars, you could have impacted millions of lives around the world, but if you allow pride, the seed of pride, to rise up in you, you’ll come into trouble. As a matter of fact, many people say, “But if we only could just love ourselves, if we only had high self-esteem, everything would be okay.” It was high self esteem that caused Satan to be kicked out of heaven like lightning from the sky. He thought he was better than God because he had a job that he felt he did well.

The truth is that, it’s not for us to love ourselves more or to be proud of what we’ve done. The truth is for us to be able to say, “I love God.” Remember the great commandment, to love God with all our hearts, souls, and minds and then love our neighbors as ourselves? Which means loving God, loving our neighbors, and self. Loving of self is the last thing. If you love God, you’re going to love your neighbors, and love of self will happen. Pride caused him to become ineffective and isolated.

The next king that we’re going to go to . . . We’re going to skip a couple. Jotham, we’re not going to look at him, that’s the son of Uzziah. Ahaz, we’re not going to look at him, but we’re going to go down to probably my favorite king: Hezekiah. Now everybody knows Hezekiah. Well, if you don’t, you do now. Hezekiah is a phenomenal king, one of the greatest kings of all time. One of the greatest kings of all time.

31. True leaders can bring about restoration.

And one lesson that we can learn from him is that true leaders can bring about restoration. Now remember, I skipped his father and his grandfather. His great-grandfather was Uzziah; his grandfather, Jotham; and Ahaz, his father; we didn’t even look at lessons from their lives. But now by this time, in 2 Chronicles 29:1–6, the nation of Judah had turned far away from God. They actually had shuttered the doors of the temple that Solomon built. They had stopped following the God of the Bible, and they were doing things on their own, without God, doing it in their own ways. Hezekiah learned from his father Ahaz’s example. He learned from his bad example of what not to do. The very first priority of Hezekiah as king was to open the doors of the house of the Lord. He reopened the house of the Lord. He recognized that, “I can bring about restoration in my area.”

What about you, where you live, where you minister, where you work, in your family? Have you reopened the ways of God? Have you reopened the things of God? Have you reopened and allowed access to the things of God? In America there’s so much idolatry, just as it was then, the idolatry of sexuality and materialism and self and all types of things. Have you reopened and said, “Have you considered that this is the way, that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life?” This is what he did. He led the priests to sanctify themselves. Literally, the Scripture says, he carried the rubbish out of the church. He cleared the rubbish out of the holy place. True leaders can restore by cleaning the rubbish and getting it out. This is exactly what we see in the text that he did. And Hezekiah became a leader with an immediate impact because he dared to clear out the rubbish. He dared to lead the priests and restore with revival and say, “This is the landmark which we must follow.” And so he brought about restoration for his nation.

32. A leader with a prayer life can achieve impossible things.

The next lesson that we can learn from him is that a leader with a prayer life can achieve impossible things. A leader with a prayer life can achieve impossible things. Second Kings 19:14–19 or 2 Chronicles 32:20–23 is where you find this lesson. When you’re a true reformer, just as Hezekiah was, when you are a true reformer and inspire people, an attack must come. And Assyria came to attack Hezekiah. I just want to remind you of this: When you are a reformer, when you restore your family; I mean when there’s been dysfunction, when you’re at the verge of divorce but then you decide to commit to one another and say, “I’m going to lead this marriage off of the brink. We’re going to make it.” “I’m going to help lead my children back to know God.” “I’m going to help lead my church to revival.” “I’m going to lead in my community.” “I’m going to be on the school board,” whatever it may be, “and stand tall,” might is not a question. You cannot say, “There might be an attack.” You are guaranteed that an attack is imminent. An attack is imminent. When you are advancing the kingdom of God, the forces of darkness will push back. You must know that.

However, you are inoculated. You are protected. There’s a force field around you when you follow the example of Hezekiah and have a prayer life, which helps you or empowers you to achieve impossible things. In the face of threatening letters and speeches, Hezekiah teamed up with the prophet Isaiah and called a prayer meeting. Imagine a king calling a prayer meeting. Imagine a royal king with all of the accoutrements of the society that he lived in, instead of calling the army, instead of calling their allies, instead of calling his friends, he called the prophet and put on a prayer meeting. He did not call a board meeting with his generals. Hezekiah called a prayer meeting. And Hezekiah’s prayer, I believe, is one of the greatest prayers in the Bible. Because he began to pray and say, “God, You heard their threats. You heard what they’re saying against Your work. You heard what they’re saying against Your people. God, I have a relationship with You, and all I must say to You, God, is, ‘Hear what they’re saying.’ And now, God, You do something about it. And make our enemies ashamed.” And you know what? Because he had this relationship with God, God was able to stand for him and to show His hand in his life. And God gave them the victory. The Lord reminded them, “The battle is not yours; it’s the Lord’s. And I will fight on your behalf.” When you have a prayer life and you hear from God, you can stand as ever before on the promises of God.

We also know that Hezekiah had a prayer life because when he was told by Isaiah that he was going to die—we all know that story from Sunday school—he turned his face to the wall, and he said, “Lord, give me time.” And God gave him fifteen extra years. There’s something powerful in prayer.

I remember when I was growing up in church they told me, they reminded us, “If you do not pray, you won’t stay; if you do not fast, you won’t last.” There’s another saying they always said, “Little prayer, little power; much prayer, much power; great prayer, great power.” As a leader, you must be a person of prayer. Spend time speaking to and listening to hear back from God to receive instruction.

33. True leaders understand the value of God’s Word more than anything.

I’m going to share one more lesson with you in this session. And this comes from a grandson of Hezekiah. Hezekiah, by the way, his son, Manasseh, comes in. He’s a bad king. Then Amon comes in. He’s a bad king. And then Amon has a son, Josiah. Josiah becomes king at eight years old. And at eight years old, this young man is brilliant. And a lesson that we learn from him is that true leaders understand the value of God’s Word more than anything. True leaders understand the value of God’s Word more than anything. Hezekiah, great story, great life, great king. His son and his grandson, problems. And now great-grandson Josiah comes in at a young age, after his father is killed, after his grandfather had reigned for fifty-five years. Manasseh had reigned for fifty-five years. Josiah comes in. And for generations now, they’ve forgotten the things of Hezekiah and the prayer life of Hezekiah. They have started back praying to other gods. Notice there’s a cycle here. Good leaders and bad leaders. There’s a cycle. But Josiah comes in and he does something. In 2 Chronicles 34:14–19, he instinctively, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, he reopens the temple also. And he begins to clean it out, and they find the Bible, the Word of God—the Torah, at the time. And they bring that Bible to him. And he learned that God’s Word is more valuable than any other word; and he mourned at the state of what was going on in his nation. And when he mourned at that, he had everyone come and gather together; and they read the entire Bible so that the nation could hear the Word of God.

Imagine if that happened in America today. Imagine if all television stations simultaneously aired the reading of the Bible every day. Shut down ESPN and Housewives of (whatever city) and whatever reality show and just read the Word so that the nation hears the Word. Because so many people think they know about the Word, but they have not really heard it for themselves. That’s why, as a leader, one key for you as a leader, is to understand the value of the Word of God more than anything; which means you, as a leader, should be reading the Bible, the entire Word, for yourself. The Word of God is like a laxative, flushes out all the bad things, lets everything else remain. It flushes out bad, stinking thinking; flushes out depression, oppression, anxiety, confusion, doubt, all types of things, and allows us to move forward without fear and impunity. He recognized that true leaders understand the Word of God is more than anything. And even without previous examples, he recognized that “I can stand for righteousness.”

I want to go to the next point, but I’ve got to wait until the next session.

Lesson Materials

Transcript
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