Now that our 50-day "Discover" series is over at church, I'm back in Jeremiah. These two chapters are especially appropriate with Election Day just a week away. Good and godly leadership is so needed in our government and churches. Here are a few examples of what Jeremiah and Israel were facing in their leaders:
Neither King Zedekiah nor his attendants nor the people who were left in the land listened to what the LORD said through Jeremiah. (37:2)
Later King Zedekiah secretly requested that Jeremiah come to the palace, where the king asked him, "Do you have any messages from the LORD?" "Yes, I do!" said Jeremiah. "You will be defeated by the king of Babylon." (37:17)
Leaders who do not listen when God speaks are not good leaders. We need leaders in our government and in our church who are willing to listen to God, even when we don't like or are uncomfortable with the message.
Now [some leaders] heard what Jeremiah had been telling the people. He had been saying ... "those who surrender to the Babylonians will live." ... So these officials wen to the king and said, "Sir, this man must die! That kind of talk will undermine the morale of the few fighting men we have left, as well as that of all the people. This man is a traitor!"
King Zedekiah agreed. "All right," he said. "Do as you like. I can't stop you." (38:1-5)
Leaders who are not willing to do what is right in the face of pressure are not good leaders. This counts in both politics and churches. When something is right, it is right, even if some or many or most of the people don't like it. Good leaders stand strong.
Ebed-melech rushed from the palace to speak with him. "My lord the king," he said, "these men have done a very evil thing in putting Jeremiah the prophet into the cistern. He will soon die of hunger, for almost all the bread in the city is gone." So the king told Ebed-melech, "Take thirty of my men with you, and pull Jeremiah out of the cistern before he dies." (38:8-10)
Leaders who play games and politics instead of confronting error are not good leaders. Zedekiah was trying to straddle the fence, keeping everyone happy. Doing so nearly got Jeremiah killed. Leaders are responsible for the people put under their care. Good leaders don't take that responsibility lightly.
When considering who you will vote for, don't consider just the candidate's issues; be sure to consider the candidate. Will this person be a good leader?