WHEN POWER DOES NOT CORRUPT

‘Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the Lord and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook’. (2Kings 18:5-7)

History abounds with stories of men and women who despite their humble starts, ended up corrupted when they were granted power and possessions. When the life of other men depend on you, when you have access to riches and resources, when decisions that affect nations pass through your hands, it is inevitable for most men to drift away from dependence on God to a state of pride and self-sufficiency. The same tendency is also seen in the lives of men and women who are given the privilege of an affluent lifestyle. Cultures and nations that are well to do economically also demonstrate that same drift. Prosperity more often than not tends to lead people away from God.

Hezekiah however was distinct. Though he was son to a king who did much evil in the eyes of the Lord and though he was surrounded by nations including Israel that rebelled against God, it is credible that he stayed true to God. To begin with, he trusted God. Trusting God is only possible when you recognize your inadequacy and the sufficiency of God. It does not matter how affluent you are or how much power you command, there are times in your life you come to realize none of that helps. Situations arise in your life where your weakness as a human being is exposed. You are taught through such situations that only God’s sufficiency can get you through and keep you safe. There is only so much you can do to safeguard your lives and what belongs to you. But for God’s intervention, you are left in a lurch.

Now when faced with such situations, how do we respond? While before you had nothing to hold on to but God, now that you command power and resources, it is tempting to try to solve these problems your way. Hezekiah himself despite being one who trusted God during the difficult phase of the Assyrian threat did begin by paying gold and silver to the king of Assyria. But soon he came to realize that not only did he lose his treasures, but ended up with the Assyrian king at his doorstep asking much more. A man who trusts God would totally depend on God and find deliverance as Hezekiah found. The way the Lord put the Assyrian king in a confusing spot, slaughtered his vast army and allowed his own sons to take his life demonstrated how much better God can solve a problem than we ever can.

Hezekiah’s character was seen in his persistence with obedience to God and holding fast to him. To never lose focus of the priority of God in your life, to eagerly carry out his ordinances and to honor him above all things is not easy in this materialistic world where many things vie for our attention. Yet, Hezekiah showed us how power and riches did not corrupt his love for God. Being prosperous and successful was not a surprise as the presence of God inevitably begets prosperity.

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