The Lord offered a lot of insights in Jeremiah 22 but chief among them is what kind of a leader you should be, including what your consequences will be if you failed to follow his model.
Chapter 22 of the book of Jeremiah offers us quite a lot of information about what a leader under God’s principles ought to be like. From the usual of being fair, just and not to oppress and rob, He also spoke out about the evils of not paying the wages to those who have worked for us.
Jeremiah 22 (New International Version)
3 This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.
Through the prophet Jeremiah, the Lord also prompted him to speak the thoughts out of God’s mind about the kings of Judah who have been more preoccupied with adorning their palaces with premium furnishings and fittings. Is it wrong to do so when you are the emperor of the emperors in the land that you rule? I believe it is not so until you violate your duties and responsibilities as a king to run your country fairly and justly for the people.
13 “Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness,
his upper rooms by injustice,
making his own people work for nothing,
not paying them for their labor.
14 He says, ‘I will build myself a great palace
with spacious upper rooms.’
So he makes large windows in it,
panels it with cedar
and decorates it in red.
When our thirst for refined goods supersedes that of ordinary daily fulfillment and wiggles its way into lust and worship for the jewelleries, stature and power, we would have placed ourselves in very dangerous territories. Blinded by the bling bling and unbeknownst to us, we are actually setting ourselves up to lose the sensibility, faithfulness and sensitivity that we were supposed to have been aligned to receive from God. Instead, our vile intentions have put us on the descending route to earthly desires where we seek fame, fortune and unfortunately fake friendships too.
15 “Does it make you a king
to have more and more cedar?
Did not your father have food and drink?
He did what was right and just,
so all went well with him.
16 He defended the cause of the poor and needy,
and so all went well.
Is that not what it means to know me?”
declares the Lord.
17 “But your eyes and your heart
are set only on dishonest gain,
on shedding innocent blood
and on oppression and extortion.”
- When the Kings have a preference to use cedars in a volume that surpasses normalcy, the people will come to see and understand that their leader has fallen by the wayside to possessions.
- When the Kings have failed to protect the innocent from the oppressors in the court of justice, the people will come to see and understand that their leader has no interest for the livelihood of his people.
- When the Kings neglected his role to lead his charge to pump prime the economy of his land and instead, allowed himself to be consumed by the constant squabbles for the sake of retaining the throne, the people will come to see and understand that their leader is only power hungry and nothing else; absolutely nothing else matters.
- When the Kings have forgone God and defied His promptings to stop, the people will come to see and understand that their opportunity for a prosperous life is finished on this land and will seek elsewhere for their future livelihood.
Friends, are you living under such a leader? Are you a victim of such a leadership regime? Or are you such a leader yourself, one who dictates your flocks to your whims and fancies but invests little or no interests in their lives and maybe not even knowing the full name of your most loyal deputy?
Leadership matters and in a world filled with more followers than there are leaders, it is the biggest responsibility one can shoulder. If you’ve been chosen to be one, you are compelled by God to lead with godly principles and teachings. But if you’ve been asked to be a follower, the demands from you then is aside from following orders, you are also to be the check and balance to ensure your leader does not fall into the usual temptations of life and walk on the sinful path to hell. Either way, you possess the responsibility to make sure things do not go wrong.
But assuming if you’ve been ordained to lead a larger flock with an immense influence that has the capacity to shape their future and the world around them, then by the power of Jesus Christ, may we ask that God will impart His discipline and wisdom upon you because we want you to succeed and not falter, and we want you to remain humble knowing that should you succeed, it is all because Jesus Christ has made you so, not forgetting the ardent support of the loyal flocks that have carried you through all those times.
In the era of Covid-19, may you live abundantly knowing that the Lord will choose His leaders out of the flocks for the next part of this world’s future and if you are indeed among the chosen few, may you lead with God in front of you and not the other way round, in Jesus name, amen!