The Expository Files

The Qualities Of Noble Male Leadership

2 Chronicles 32

1After these deeds of faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and entered Judah; he encamped against the fortified cities, thinking to win them over to himself. 2And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come, and that his purpose was to make war against Jerusalem, 3he consulted with his leaders and commanders to stop the water from the springs which were outside the city; and they helped him. 4Thus many people gathered together who stopped all the springs and the brook that ran through the land, saying, “Why should the kings of Assyria come and find much water?” 5And he strengthened himself, built up all the wall that was broken, raised it up to the towers, and built another wall outside; also he repaired the Millo in the City of David, and made weapons and shields in abundance. 6Then he set military captains over the people, gathered them together to him in the open square of the city gate, and gave them encouragement, saying, 7“Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. 8With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah. (2 Chron. 32:1-8)

Observe in this passage several qualities of noble male leadership. These are exemplified by Hezekiah’s response to the threat of Sennacherib. The Assyrian invaded Judah, hoping to conquer key cities. When this threat came to the attention of Hezekiah he took prudent actions immediately.

We learn that threats should be “…met with courage, energy, intelligence, and piety. These qualities Hezekiah was now showing. He had given way to trepidation, and he had resorted to means which were unworthy of his position and his piety (see 2 Kings 18:9-16). But now he was in a nobler mood. His courage rose to the occasion (ver. 7); his energy was manifested in the effective measures (vers. 4, 5) he took to distress and to disappoint the enemy; his intelligence was shown in his taking counsel with the strongest and wisest of his people, in the rapidity of the measures he adopted and in their sagacity, and also in his effort to inspire the people with confidence and security; his piety shone forth in his address to the people, calling on them to remember that they had not an ‘arm of flesh,’ but ‘the Lord their God,’ to lean upon. Let us meet any form of trouble — disappointment, loss, bereavement, sickness, or any affliction whatsoever — in this spirit and with these qualities, and it will not master us; we shall prevail over it. It will not leave desolation and ruin in its track; it will rather leave benefit and blessing behind it.” (Clarkson, Pulpit Commentary) These comments are helpful and true. But our focus now is directed to the noble qualities of male leadership.

At this time in Hezekiah’s reign as king, his leadership was marked by mature watchfulness. Verse 2 says that king Hezekiah “saw” what Sennacherib was doing; it came to his attention. National defense requires that leaders be vigilant. It is necessary to watch for the approach of any threat to the people. At Ft. Meade, Maryland there is a park called “National Vigilance Park.” It is dedicated to honor the pilots in various wars who flew missions of aerial reconnaissance. These men and their leaders were watching; alert to threats and the approach of the enemy. Hezekiah was that kind of leader. He saw the approaching threat and was alert to the danger; ready to respond because of duty to God and man.

Then, the Bible says He consulted with his officials (vss. 1-3). Good leaders confer and consult, asking for a good plan from qualified people; listening to people of wisdom. There can be great value in listening to people who know and who care. One quality of noble leadership is to listen and learn from others. Hezekiah saw the enemy threat and consulted with his officials.

Then He went to work. Verse 5 says, “he worked hard.” Water supplies accessible to the Assyrians were blocked off. Walls were repaired and fortifications made stronger. Bulwarks were urgently erected. Weapons and shields were manufactured. Defensive preparations were undertaken by the authority and under the orders of the vigilant king. We should know, even when we see the threat of the enemy; even when we consult with those who are qualified to help and we form a plan, the plan doesn’t work itself. The plan must be activated by people. The work must be done.

Likewise, in the components of noble leadership, we observe in Hezekiah – delegation. Verse 6 says that “he appointed” men to do certain things. Good leaders realize, they cannot do everything alone. There must be the participation of others; a team effort. Good leaders use the process of delegation. Not only do they consult with others, they assign duties to qualified people. Certainly not every task can be delegated. Mature leaders must carefully consider what can and what cannot be delegated. Care must be taken to delegate duty to people who are qualified. Higher efficiency, productivity and success is often directly related to skills of delegation. Woodrow Wilson once said: "I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow."

Hezekiah encouraging his people. In any nation, any organization, any family, any church, morale/attitude is critical! There needs to be an environment of hope. It is good for people to hear their leaders say: “This is right; this is good!” “With us is the Lord our God.” “Let us press on, with love for God and love for each other.” Think of leaders as encouragers in that which is good, right and valuable. Hezekiah filled that role. He was watchful; consulted with qualified people; labored (active faith); delegated wisely and encouraged the people. These are the defining characteristics of noble leadership. One more thing . . .

A defining component of Godly Leadership is (in verse 20): Prayer. “King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer…” All leadership; all work; all efforts – must be submitted to God, for His care and guidance (Eph. 6:18; Phil. 4:6).

Take these qualities of noble male leadership, and move into the practical applications! Think of national leaders, spiritual leader and family leaders.

National Leaders should find in this biblical example a model for noble leadership. Governing authorities should watch for all approaching threats. They should consult with those who are wise and skilled. Our leaders should labor to activate a good plan. Civil servants need to appoint or delegate duties to qualified people (not just those to whom favors are owed). And never overlook the value of encouraging the citizens to be faithful, to do what is right, to act in the interests and good of all. Leaders should lead to generate and encourage these components of good morale.

Spiritual leaders - in the New Testament, elders. It both necessary and good for congregations to be led by men who are devoted to these defining characteristics of noble male leadership. Elders must be watchful – aware of threats against the flock (Acts 20:27-32). Elders should be willing to consult; to take into account or consider the wishes and wisdom of those in the clock with ability and goodwill. Elders must be workers; laborers in the vineyard who can delegate various aspects of work to people who are qualified. And spiritual leaders need to encourage the flock in that which is good and right. These are the defining characteristics of good & noble leadership. Our prayers and efforts should be directed to our young men who can become elders some day. {Observe in the text, the unity of the people under good leadership: “they helped him … many people gathered … the people were strengthened.”}

Fathers, Husbands!

If you are a husband and/or a father – God expects you to be a spiritual leader in your family. In Eph. 6:4, Fathers are addressed and assigned the work of “the training and admonition of the Lord” in the responsibility they have to their children. In Eph. 5:23, “the husband is the head of the wife.” God expects husbands and fathers to be spiritual leaders.

This is more than just financial support. This includes but is not limited to physical provision of shelter, food and clothing. We are here placing stress on Spiritual Leadership!

We must get back to thinking of husbands and fathers as spiritual leaders in the home! Read the Bible to your family, and led them in prayer. Be certain your children attend their Bible classes, and do whatever reading and assignments they are given. Encourage the whole family in the direction of full participation in the work of the church. And don’t allow sports, entertainment and secular activities to rob your children of that participation!

The time is past and remains urgent today to emphasize this; to re-establish heads of households as the spiritual leaders in the home. Fathers and Husbands, consider the model of efficient leadership exemplified by Hezekiah.

1. WATCHFULNESS. This simply means looking, monitoring – aware of the influences, threats and weaknesses in your family. Pay attention daddy!

2. CONSULTATION: getting help you may need, from wise and qualified people to address the threats you must respond to.

3. LABOR is the matter of working hard for the spiritual success of your home; for a godly marriage and for children who become faithful to the Lord.

4. DELEGATION involves assigning various duties to family members, fairly and in keeping with the goal of godliness and purity.

5. ENCOURAGEMENT. The apostle Paul was very careful to say this to fathers: “…do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged,” (Col. 3:21). This directs fathers to sincerely engage in the opposite of discouragement. This prohibits discouragement and places the duty on fathers to impart and inspire encouragement. Praise your children in what is right; convey to them your love and care for them; explain your concerns about their spiritual future. Talk to them about God, about obeying the gospel; read and pray with them. Encourage them from the early ages, to be morally discerning people of godly character. It will not just happen!

And may I add, the first step in leadership in the home is to be led by the Lord yourself! You cannot be ungodly and lead in a godly manner. You cannot do things that are wrong and effectively lead people in what is right.

One of the pressing needs of our time in the home, the church and the nation is noble male leadership! Women cannot do it all. Women have their assignment from God and great power and influence comes to pass, when godly women accept the challenges and duties, which in some cases – men have neglected and shunned! But let us never give up calling upon men to be accountable; to learn noble leadership from Bible examples, like this one in 2 Chron. 32.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles. And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.”

By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 10.9, September, 2003