Abusing Power

Last week we looked at a series of kings of Judah who had some serious issues (2 Chronicles 21-28).  A number of them tried to consolidate their power by killing of potential rival siblings or officials.  One queen-mother killed off the rest of the royal family in order to set herself up as ruler.  Later, some of the kings worshiped idols, closed up the Temple, built shrines to other gods and even sacrificed their own children.  There weren’t too many kings who actually walked faithfully with God with their whole heart.

Joash and Uzziah were two kings who walk faithfully for a time, but ultimately the power they had as king corrupted them.  They seemed to think that the prosperity they were enjoying was from their own work.  They listened to sweet-talking officials who buttered them up with flattery.  These same officials would seize their chances to get rid of the kings when the opportunity presented itself.

Leaders abusing power isn’t just an ancient problem.  The Roman Catholic church has been rocked by sexual abuse committed by priests.  Those called to care for and nurture the vulnerable have seized power over people and abused their office.

But it’s not a “Catholic” problem either.  In the last few months scandals have rocked two large American Evangelical networks.  First Willow Creek church, the Willow Creek Association and the Global Leadership Summit all struggled to deal with the abuse committed by Bill Hybels.  This past week James MacDonald was fired from the Harvest Association after he seriously abused his power over the church.

Luckily the line of unfaithful kings abusing power isn’t the end of the story.  Sunday we’ll look at how Hezekiah helped God’s people to refocus on faithfully seeking God.  He through open the doors to the Temple and invited anyone and everyone to come and celebrate God’s saving acts. The people came humbly before God in confession.  They experienced a revival of worship.

There are some good lessons for us in the church today to learn.  We certainly have a multitude of sins to confess.  We too might come humbly before God in confession.  We too can return to celebrating the saving acts of God.

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