Sometimes those who ought to be spiritual leaders aren’t… and sometimes those you’d not expect to sensitive and responsive to God’s will are… Figure!!! Well that’s the state of affairs I read about today during my time of “Coffee with the Lord” in the Bible! Three individuals actually who responded to God’s word and will…
First of all, Jeremiah the prophet of God. He faithfully proclaimed God’s message and God’s will. He warned of judgment and predicted exile for Judah unless the nation repented. He also declared blessing and prosperity if they turned from sin and followed God’s will.
Then there was Zedekiah, the king of Judah and leader of God’s people – the one charged with leading the nation to repentance, restoration, thus avoiding judgment. Here’s what the Bible says about him… “He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God. He did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke from the mouth of the Lord… He stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the Lord, the God of Israel.” And those he led? “All the officers of the priests and the people likewise were exceedingly unfaithful, following all the abominations of the nations. And they polluted the house of the Lord that He had made holy in Jerusalem… (2 Chronicles 36:11-14 ESV)
“The Lord…sent persistently to them by His messengers [one of whom was Jeremiah], because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. But they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words and scoffing at his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord rose against his people, until there was no remedy.” (2 Chronicles 36:15-16 ESV)
The result? Destruction, defeat, and exile to Babylon for 70 long years! … “To fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah!”
But then there was leadership from an unexpected source… A pagan leader, Cyrus king of Persia, heeded the will and word of God! “Now in the first year of Cyrus, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and put it in writing: ‘Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, the Lord God of heaven, has given me all the kingdom of the earth, and He has charged me to build Him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah, Whoever is among you of all His people, may the Lord his God be with him. Let him go up.” (2 Chronicles 36:22-23 ESV)
Seems to me these are a few lessons for us…
Those charged with leading God’s people need to personally prioritize God’s word and doing God’s will! How tragic when they are self-willed, compromise and lead God’s people away from doing God will! They will be held accountable and those they lead will suffer!
Those who faithfully proclaim God’s word in our culture and time need to be honored and heeded – not marginalized and mocked! God Himself honors the message they proclaim.
God sometimes raises up even pagan leaders who will honor God’s word and will and they may be used by God to fulfill his will and bring deliverance to God’s people. What impetus for God-fearing people to obey this Scriptural injunction…
“I urge, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2 ESV) Let me tell you, I intend to do that as a daily practice! God answers prayers like that!