I recall a Forbes article from a few years ago listing the top 10 most corrupt leaders of all time. Big surprise, all 10 were politicians—presidents of their respective countries.
While no U.S. presidents made the list, it was easy to find a list of the top 10 most corrupt business leaders in America. More than a few were involved in politics in some way. Their corruption generally centered on fraudulent accounting and reporting activities while they enjoyed lifestyles of the rich and famous. The result of their corruption was failed companies, and unemployed workers left without their retirement funds.
God holds leaders responsible for their actions in a very special way. When God was getting ready to judge the nation of Israel for their sin He commanded Jeremiah to prophesy to them (Jeremiah 25:30-38). God used some very graphic language describing Himself, and what was going to happen to the nations of the world including the Israelites. Five of the six graphic images of God’s judgement are directed to the people in general. But God calls out leaders in particular in the sixth illustration of His wrath:
Judgement for doomed leaders would be like being chased by wild lions with nowhere to hide.
Leaders, in God’s economy, bear a special heightened level of responsibility and accountability for their leadership.
It seems today, as in Jeremiah’s time, many men want to become leaders for the power and prestige that comes with the mantle of leadership without much regard to the responsibility and accountability that goes with such a position.
Listen now to God’s words directed to the bad leaders of Jeremiah’s time:
“Weep and wail, you shepherds; roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock. For your time to be slaughtered has come; you will fall and be shattered like fine pottery. The shepherds will have nowhere to flee, the leaders of the flock no place to escape. Hear the cry of the shepherds, the wailing of the leaders of the flock, for the LORD is destroying their pasture. The peaceful meadows will be laid waste because of the fierce anger of the LORD. Like a lion he will leave his lair, and their land will become desolate because of the sword of the oppressor and because of the LORD’s fierce anger.” Jeremiah 25:34-38 (NIV)
These leaders could weep and mourn all they wanted, but God’s judgement was coming. They would be slaughtered with nowhere to flee to safety. Even their possessions were to be destroyed.
Why did God single out leaders? Because these leaders had led God’s people away from God. They were priests, rulers, judges, and prophets who all played a part in pushing God out of people’s lives to the point that they had rejected God and begun to worship false gods.
You and I may not be priests, ruler, judges, or prophets (although some of you may be), but regardless, if God has given you the privilege of leading then along with that privilege comes the added responsibility and accountability to God for the care of his people.
Make no mistake, God is jealous for His people. Jesus, teaching the disciples gave this warning,
“But whoever causes the downfall of one of these little ones who believe in Me—it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea!” Matthew 18:6 (HCSB)
So take care leaders. Whether you are leading little children in the family or in a classroom, or leading great companies, or even nations God expects us to take great care to lead in such a way that we care for His children.
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As always questions and comments are welcome. Do you know of leaders who have led God’s people astray. Does knowing how God feels about the responsibility of leadership give you pause?
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Category: Relationships | Exhortation