Leading Through Fear

Fear is a wild-eyed beast turned loose, and it's running amok. We hear people talking about it in the news, we may make plans based on it at work, parents discuss it in code if the kids are at the dinner table or in hushed tones when we think they're not listening. 

There's an old story in Isaiah 36-37 about fear and how one great leader, Hezekiah, responded to it. It goes a little something like this.....

You can imagine how the news spread....."Did you hear what he said? We'll be eating our own excrement and drinking our own urine!!!" It must have traveled, in hurried whispers, like wildfire. Fear does that.

Assyria had destroyed many other kingdoms. And the messenger came from Assyria for one purpose -- to strike fear into the hearts of the people of Judah. (And I'm guessing he used words a little more crude than excrement and urine.)

At age 39, fourteen years into his leadership of Judah, Hezekiah found himself shoulder-deep in a major leadership crisis. Maybe the threat was real, but whether it was or not, the fear could paralyze his people. What would leaders today do in his situation? I can think of a few knee jerk reactions:

  • gather their advisers
  • contact their allies
  • hold a news conference
  • issue a press release
  • mount a military offensive
But here's what Hezekiah did:
When King Hezekiah heard the report, he also tore his clothes and dressed in rough, penitential burlap gunnysacks, and went into the sanctuary of God.

Not long after, messengers from the King of Assyria delivered this message directly to Hezekiah:

Don't let your God, on whom you so naively lean, deceive you, promising that Jerusalem won't fall to the king of Assyria. Use your head! Look around at what the kings of Assyria have done all over the world—one country after another devastated! And do you think you're going to get off? Have any of the gods of any of these countries ever stepped in and saved them, even one of these nations my predecessors destroyed?

But Hezekiah didn't "use his head." He used something a lot more powerful.

Hezekiah took the letter from the hands of the messengers and read it. Then he went into the sanctuary of God and spread the letter out before God. Then Hezekiah prayed to God....click here for his prayer

When fear was a wild-eyed beast, running amok in his kingdom, when his leadership was tested...when his God, the source of his leadership, was derided....when his people were looking to him for answers....the first thing Hezekiah did was to seek God.

Wherever you lead....at home, at work, at church, among your friends.....lead like Hezekiah. What will your prayer sound like?


Kim Turnage


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