When a good man does something utterly stupid

Do you have what it takes to be a king or queen? How about president or prime minister?

Since Donald Trump took office in America, I’ve heard a lot of criticism of him. I was extremely critical of David Cameron during his tenure as prime minister in the UK. It is quite easy to criticise when our decisions and actions are not being scrutinised to the same extent.

As I’ve been reading through the books of first and second Kings I’ve noticed a large number of the kings of Israel and Judah are recorded as having done “evil in the eyes of the Lord.”

There are others who “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord”, but often there is a caveat: “but not as his father David had done.”

David is held up as the High Standard of what God was looking for in the kings that ruled over Israel and Judah.

Then along comes Hezekiah, a man who “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done.” 2 Kings 18 NIV

In fact Hezekiah may even have been a better king than David. Right up to the point where he did something so utterly stupid that I almost can’t believe anyone could have done that.

Can you imagine the leader of Iran inviting foreign diplomats to tour their nuclear research facilities? How about the leader of North Korea?

Can you imagine the tour guide: “Here’s where we enrich uranium. We discovered that if we tweak the process just so, we get a ten percent increase in yield. Now tomorrow we’ll go and look at the mobile launch unit factory. That’s in a secret factory in the town of … Is there anything else you’d like to see?”

It’s debatable whether those diplomats would even make it back to their embassies before the call went out: “Send in the drones!”

If there is one thing you do not do as the leader of any country, is reveal your state secrets to an unknown envoy. Yet that’s precisely what Hezekiah did.

Hezekiah showed these foreign diplomats all the treasure, answered all their questions, gave them everything they needed to make a report as to whether invading Jerusalem would be worthwhile.

He didn’t pay the price, but his country did, years later when Babylon invaded and sacked Jerusalem.

Occasionally I do dumb things, make stupid decisions. Many of us do. But many of us aren’t kings or presidents or prime ministers. We might say we would never have done something as rash as Hezekiah, perhaps even say we would never behave like Donald Trump, yet I find it a sobering thought that a ruler who in many regards was to be respected, could have made such an foolish mistake.