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Epitome of Selfish Leadership (2 Kings 20:16–19)

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“Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Hear the word of the Lord. Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house and that which your fathers have stored up till this day shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord. And some of your own sons who will come from you, whom you will father, shall be taken away. And they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the King of Babylon.’ Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.’ For he thought, ‘Why not? If there will be peace and security in my days.'”
-2 Kings 20:16–19

Do you catch what I just read, what just happened in 2 King’s chapter 20. Hezekiah, the king, just heard from Isaiah, the prophet, the word of God that said the Babylonians were going to come and take away the people of God into exile, and the torment and the misery that would come upon them, including torment and misery that would come specifically upon his own sons. “Your own sons,” God says through Isaiah, “who will come from you shall be taken away.” And Hezekiah responds by saying, “This word is good.” Because he thinks, “There’s going to be peace and security in my days.”

Did you catch that? Hezekiah is so focused on himself that as long as he experiences peace and security, he’s fine. That’s a good word. But even if that means other people, including his own children and grandchildren, his own family, the people of God, they would experience a lack of peace and a lack of security. And Hezekiah is fine with that. This is the epitome of selfishness in life and leadership.

And yet I just want to encourage us to think of any ways that kind of selfishness is evident in any of our lives, in any of our leadership, in our families, in our workplaces, in the church, in the world, God please help us today to look out for others above our selves. Just as you call us to in Philippians chapter 2, just as we see in the example of Jesus. God, we pray that we would have the attitude of Christ that we would look to others’ interests above our own, in our homes, in our families, in our workplaces, in your church, in the world. God, we pray that we would not live simply for our own good, that we would live for others’ good. And trust that if we were living for others’ good and for your glory, even as we saw in 2 King’s chapter 19, that this will be best for us. God deliver us, saves us from ourselves, our selfishness, and our self-centeredness.

Oh God, even as we pray day after day on this podcast for unreached people in the world, we realize the only reason, ultimate reason why there’s still three billion people who are unreached by the gospel is because we have sat back with the peace and security that we have in the gospel, and turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to three billion people who need to hear it.

Oh God, deliver us. Save us from our selfishness so we might go, we might send from our churches, we might give our resources so that others might know the peace and security that are found in you. God, we pray that for the sake of Korenchi Muslims in Bahrain for Korenchi Muslims in Indonesia. God, please, please, please cause your salvation, your peace, your security to be made known among them, and more and more people and people groups in the world. And use our lives toward that end. Help us to lay down our lives toward that end, for people around the world and for people right around us.

God, may we not coast through this life in this world, holding onto the gospel while so many people around us need it. Help us to proclaim the gospel today, that other people might know your peace and your security that’s found for all eternity in you. God, help us not just to rest in that ourselves while ignoring people all around us, people in coming generations, and people among all the nations in need of your grace, and your mercy, your peace, and your security. We pray this, God save us from ourselves, according to 2 King’s chapter 20. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.
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