By our Baptism, we receive three offices as priest, prophet and king. As kings, we are called to participate in the Kingship of Christ. A king should bring a community to order and direct the good of that community toward God for the benefit of all. A king must take charge, exercise leadership, and take responsibility for the world around him.
We exercise this kingship in the many encounters that we face in life – as a parent, a political leader, a teacher, a doctor, a lawyer, a soldier, a nurse, a farmer, etc. Therefore, we must endeavour to grow in the capacity to exercise kingly leadership. The question is how to go about it. Examples of great kingships are available in the Bible, with the Kingship of Christ being the best model. But we tend to make excuses as to why we are not living the kingship expected of us by hiding behind our lacking in the divine nature of the Lord Jesus; yet, there are more humanly examples available for us to emulate.
Growth in Character Despite the Upbringing
Consider the example of one King Hezekiah. The son of Ahaz, the king of Judah, and Abi, the daughter of Zechariah, Hezekiah became king of Judah at twenty-five years of age. He reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. King Hezekiah had genius, strength, wisdom, and piety. He was a statesman, a general, a poet and a religious reformer all rolled up in him. He does make for a surprise inclusion in the list of good kings because he was rather pious for one who came from a lineage renowned for its worldliness, half-halfheartedness, and utter apostasy.
Despite his antecedents and his environments, Hezekiah did what was right in the LORD’s sight, just as David his father had done (cf. 2 Kings 18:3). His home surroundings as he grew up were far from being favorable to godliness and faith in God, but he was fortunate to have Isaiah, a God-fearing man, for his friend and counselor when he assumed the kingship of Judah. Because of this friendship, he became familiar with going to God in prayer for any and all matters pertaining to his reign. He destroyed idolatry and did well courtesy of having reinstated the Kingship of God to Judah (vs 4-8). He surprisingly gave his full allegiance to Yahweh. That it was said there was no other Judean king before or after him who showed greater faithfulness and trust in God.
Prayer, the Chief Weapon
On one such occasion, Hezekiah was faced with a weighty matter that would test his faith in God and furnish the opportunity to try the prayer agency in order to obtain deliverance. The Assyrians were sorely pressing the king of Judah with seemingly solid arguments that were sure to bring imminent defeat and captivity (cf. 2 Kings 18:19). The commission sent by the king of Assyria was to publicly defy and blaspheme the name of the LORD God and to insult King Hezekiah. As soon as Hezekiah heard what they had to say, he without hesitation tore his garments, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD (cf. 2 Kings 19:1).
His very first impression was to turn to God (not to by going to the ‘house of prayer’ in humility. The LORD God was on his mind and in his thoughts. For Hezekiah, such an emergency needed God’s intervention. Hezekiah knew that there was one person he could count on to join him in prayer; so he sent a loaded message to his friend, Isaiah (cf. 2 Kings 19:2-4). We see how the involvement of God had an immediate effect on the forces of the king of Assyria, which were besieging Hezekiah. They were diverted from an impending attack on Jerusalem!
But the king of Assyria continued to be a big problem, sending Hezekiah yet another defaming and blasphemous letter (cf. 2 Kings 19:9-14). For the second time now, Hezekiah was insulted and beset by the forces of this heathen king. He again entered the house of the LORD God, the ‘house of prayer’ and spread out the insulting letter before the LORD. He prayed in the presence of the LORD God (cf. 2 Kings 19:14-15). He received a speedy answer, complete with marvelous results.
Deliverance from Enemies
First, there was full assurance that he need fear nothing for the LORD had listened to his prayer and would give a great deliverance. That very night, the angel of the LORD God went forth and struck down 185,000 men in the Assyrian camp (cf. 2 Kings 19:35 & 2 Chronicles 32:21). What a mighty prayer! The king was vindicated. The LORD God was honored, the people of God were saved, and the enemy was destroyed.
The united prayer of the praying king and the praying prophet were a mighty force to bring deliverance and to destroy God’s enemies. Heathen armies lay defenseless at their mercy, and a swift-winged angel armed with almighty power and vengeance was their ally. Hezekiah ministered in prayer in destroying idolatry and in reforming his kingdom. In battling his enemies, he had prayer for his chief weapon.
Prayer Assures Confidence to the People
Then came a time when Hezekiah was forced to try the efficiency of prayer against the set and declared purposes of Almighty God. The Passover was to be celebrated during the second month and not at the regular time because the priests had not sanctified themselves in sufficient numbers, and the people were not gathered at Jerusalem (cf. 2 Chronicles 30:2-3). Everyone was to come to celebrate the Passover to the LORD, the God of Israel, in Jerusalem, since not many had kept it in the prescribed manner. By the king’s command, couriers carrying letters written by the king and his princes went through all Israel and Judah urging the people to return to the LORD that He also may return to them (cf. 2 Chronicles 30:5-6).
Thus many people gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month, and there was a very great assembly (cf. 2 Chronicles 30:13). However, there was a problem, because many in the assembly had not sanctified themselves by the required ceremonial cleansing and were therefore unfitted to participate in the ceremony (cf. 2 Chronicles 30:16-17). Nevertheless, they still ate the Passover feast contrary to the prescription because Hezekiah their king prayed for them (cf. 2 Chronicles 30:18), and the LORD God heard Hezekiah and healed the people (cf. 2 Chronicles 30:20). The prayer of this God-fearing king brought forgiveness for violating the Passover laws.
Prayer as a Shield
This king’s defense against the mighty enemies of God was prayer. When his own armies were powerless, his prayers would cower and destroy his enemies. God’s people were therefore always safe because their king was in prayer. The strength, directness, and foundation of his faith and prayer were found in his encouraging words to be strong and steadfast, not afraid or dismayed because of the king of Assyria and the entire horde coming with him. For Hezekiah, Israel had a lot more with them than the Assyrians had with their king. He gave confidence to the people. Hezekiah reminded the Jews that the Assyrians had only an arm of flesh whereas they had the LORD God to help fight their battles. The people took confidence from the words of Hezekiah (cf. 2 Chronicles 32:7-8).
Prayer can Revoke God’s Decree
We learn from Hezekiah that prayer makes God condescend in granting requests. Prayer can actually make God change His mind! Hezekiah was a dutiful servant who did much for God. Therefore, God also did much for him. Hezekiah’s service and the rule of his life had truth, perfection and goodness in their element. His tears and prayer were much more to God than were consistency and decrees. In fact, they so moved God that He gave him not only life, but also a promise for protection and security from his enemies (cf. 2 Kings 20:5-6). This was prayer born in the fire of a great desire, and pursued through the deepest agony of conflict and opposition to success.
In Hezekiah teaches us that God hears prayer, heeds prayer, answers prayer and delivers by prayer. We learn that prayer breaks all bars, dissolves all chains, opens all prisons and widens all straits that hold us back. Our spiritual cravings must likewise be strong enough to give life to the mighty conflicts of prayer. They must be absorbing enough to stop all business, arrest worldly pursuits and awaken us before day, in order to send us to the closet, into solitude, and unto God. They must conquer every opposing force and win our victories even from hell itself.
Living the Call to Kingship
Each of us must stir ourselves up and take a hold of God, move souls toward God and sanctify energy to reach out and wrestle God to draw out his treasures for spiritual uses. We must make the life-changing decision to seek Wisdom (cf. Proverbs 4:5). We will seek knowledge which allows us to make wise choices (cf. Proverbs 19:2). We will strive to have a good name, walking securely in integrity (cf. Proverbs 10:9). We will have the heart of a servant who knows there is a certain reward in serving with humility and fear of the Lord (cf. Proverbs 22:4).
We will start by asking God for good leadership skills and abilities to be an example to the world (cf. Deuteronomy 10:12). We will remove and take off all limits trusting that nothing is impossible with God (cf. Luke 1:37). We will wear a warrior’s heart, made and prepared to fight in any battle; without breaking rank, but willing to leap and jump over walls for our Lord (cf. Ephesians 6:11-20).
Our prayers need to have power to overcome difficulties, power to win marked results, and power to gain a complete and wonderful victory. Our prayer should be like the prayer of Hezekiah, the faithful, God-fearing King. Then our kingship will be judged as pleasing in the eyes of the Lord God.