3 Lessons of Leadership from 2 Chronicles 25-27
Rob Genin, 8.23.22
One of the key principles of leadership is to be a faithful follower. The idea of the magnetic, visionary leader who generates direction and purpose out of nothing is a lie. We all follow something, whether it is a person, or a set of ideals, or God Himself. For this reason, the mark of good leadership is that it chooses wisely what it pursues and seeks for direction. 2 Chronicles 25-27 contain three kings who were all leaders, and their success was determined by who and how they followed. Let’s consider them.
Amaziah, King of Judah
A prophet came to Amaziah and said, “O king, these troops must not go with you, for the LORD is not with Israel.”
Amaziah replied, “But what about the hundred talents I paid for these Israelite troops?”
The man of God replied, “The LORD can give you much more than this.” (2 Chronicles 25:8-10)
In this instance, the king was challenged to trust God in battle, and in spite of incurring what seemed a pointless financial waste. Amaziah listened to the prophet, dismissed the hired troops, and won a great victory in battle. God is clearly able to win the battle with many or few. Amaziah was successful because he listened to God through the words of His Prophet. Sadly, he later became proud, and stopped listening to God. He engaged in a foolish war and lost all the gains he had made in the first battle, and died in disgrace. He listened wisely for a time, and then turned to foolishness.
Uzziah, King of Judah
Uzziah was the son of Amaziah. He began well and God gave him great success in farming, building and war. However, after enjoying great blessing from God, we read:
“But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall.” (2 Chronicles 26:16)
Uzziah tried to offer incense in the temple, a role reserved for priests alone. He was a powerful king, but that was not his place. Some of the priests tried to stop Uzziah, and he raged at them. In the midst of his anger, God struck Uzziah with leprosy. He lived out the remainder of his days in isolation, a lingering reminder of the price of pride.
Jotham, King of Judah
Jotham was the son of Uzziah. He followed God faithfully in his leadership, and this is how the Chronicler describes his reign:
“Jotham grew powerful because he walked steadfastly before the LORD his God.” (2 Chronicles 27:6)
Unlike his father, there is no indication that Jotham grew proud or drifted from God after his success. Whereas Uzziah grew proud after receiving God’s blessing, Jotham remained faithful and humble. I believe Jotham saw what happened to his father and learned from it.
These are three really short biographical sketches. However, in their juxtaposition, I think they demonstrate the initial point of this article, that good leadership is defined by good following. When Amaziah and Uzziah followed and trusted God, they were blessed. When they stopped following God in favor of other gods (Amaziah) or pride (Uzziah), their success quickly unraveled.
Jim Collins makes the same point in his book, How the Mighty Fall. The first stage of decline in great companies is, “pride borne of success”. When we grow proud, we forget that our blessing comes from humility that maintains discipline. I believe that humility comes from remembering God and taking our leadership cues from Him. Many fall—Amaziah and Uzziah did—but Jotham did not. Even if we have fallen into a proud frame of mind, if we humble ourselves again and seek God, we can regain the discipline of faithful following that makes for excellent leadership. Let’s help each other do just that.