2 Kings 18:1-8
I’ve mentioned this before, but I really believe that David is, without a doubt, the best king that ancient Israel ever had. Throughout the books of Kings and Chronicles, kings are measured against David as the standard, and most of them fall far short. The only two who are compared favorably with David, with no qualifications, are Hezekiah and Josiah.
We’ll talk about them in a moment, but there’s a major point I need to make about the king and spiritual leadership, and this is as good a place as any. I can’t take real credit for this, but I also can’t remember who first mentioned it to me. In the Bible, you have descriptions of kings which are frequently listed along with a diagnosis of the general spiritual condition of God’s people at the time. You had good kings and bad kings, and the spiritual condition of Israel ranged from really good to really bad. What's interesting to me is not so much what you can find, but what you can’t. There are examples of good kings with good people: In other words, a godly king was mirrored in the nation as a whole, which you'd anticipate. You also had bad kings with bad people—no surprise there. You also had good kings with bad people—Josiah being the best example. But this is important—there is no example recorded in Scripture in which you had a bad king with good people. I've believed this for some time, and experience has only strengthened my opinion—It's virtually impossible for a group to rise above its leader, especially in the spiritual realm. In fact, they tend to be about two steps below the leader. To all the church leaders reading this—please take note.
Now let’s talk about Josiah and Hezekiah. If you read today’s passage and 2 Kings 23:25, you might find yourself scratching your head. Is this a contradiction? Who was better? The NIV Study Bible (which I highly recommend, by the way) provides a solution in the context. Hezekiah was unique among kings in the way that he trusted in the Lord. If you read his story in chapters 18-19, you’ll see a man who trusted the Lord and had an incredibly intimate relationship with him.
Josiah was also unique: There was no king before him or after him who dedicated so much effort into obeying God’s law. He was utterly ruthless in tearing down idols and high places (places of pagan worship, often mixed with worship of Yahweh), and tireless in rebuilding and restoring the temple of God and reviving the Passover. As far as zeal for the law was concerned, he was unmatched.
Can you guess where I'm going with this? Each of us has not only spiritual gifts but personality quirks which we bring into the Body of Christ. Everybody’s temperament has its strengths and weaknesses. The Lord's made each of us completely unique, and we need each other. Let’s help each other, and let’s provide balance for each other. And for God’s sake (literally) let’s respect and value each other, shall we?
Lord Jesus, every other Christian I meet has a unique place in your Body. Please help me to value and respect that part, even when they’re in conflict with me. Let us be one, just as you and the Father are one, please.
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