Leadership Responsibilities, part 2

Jeremiah 23 offers tough words to those who would lead God’s people. In the previous post we looked at the responsibility we have for the people we lead. The next admonishment speaks to our responsibility to the Lord. In this same chapter the Lord says some very tough words to the prophets. They too were messing up the people of Israel. They were hurting God’s people.

Here’s the words to us.

23:16 The Lord who rules over all says to the people of Jerusalem: “Do not listen to what those prophets are saying to you. They are filling you with false hopes. They are reporting visions of their own imaginations, not something the Lord has given them to say. 23:18 Yet which of them has ever stood in the Lord’s inner circle so they could see and hear what he has to say? Which of them have ever paid attention or listened to what he has said? NET

The problem that Israel was facing at this point in their history was that some prophets were going around saying, “All is well. The Lord will defeat the Babylonians.” We know from history and the Bible that those “prophesies” did not come true. Jeremiah was speaking to the last few kings of Israel. Things were going worse and worse for Israel. They had abandoned their God, chased after false gods and abandoned the Lord’s commands. They were pressed on every side from the nations surrounding them.

The pointed jab the Lord through Jeremiah is giving to them was, “Who are you listening to?” The prophets weren’t spending time to get God’s word. They were not listening. They were on their own, hoping their situation would turn. They were listening to the world around them, listening to each other, listening to their own wishful thinking. See this scenario played out in chapter 28. Hananiah speaks his mind. Jeremiah hopes what Hananiah would be true, yet he listened to the Lord’s counsel and spoke differently.

This is the very tough part for us today. Will we pull ourselves away from the noise in our world and in our mind to listen to God. Can we, will we seek what he has, what he wants for us? Listening always starts with the Bible. It is strengthened through prayer, godly counsel and others.

How do you know when you’ve listened to the Lord?


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