Friday, November 16, 2012
fallen leaders, fallen people
The LORD himself has scattered them; he will regard them no more; no honor was shown to the priests, no favor to the elders.
The first to fall and the worst to suffer when God's judgment came to Jerusalem were the leaders. For generations they had perpetuated a status quo of cool disregard for God and His Law. And when the punishment came, it came strongly upon those who had done this. God scattered the leaders in the terror of war.
There is a twinge of irony in this poetry. The king was meant to unify the nation, yet Jeremiah laments that it is now scattered. And in obedience to the Law, Israel was supposed to know the love of God. Now they experienced no regard from Yahweh. They were indifferent. Now God was. Priests should have honored God and thus have been honored. Elders should have been worthy of respect and shown favor. Now neither group was respected. All those who had helped lead the nation down a path of apathy were now ignored by God. It was part of the destruction God can bring on people who covenant with Him only to break faith.
I look at the pain in Lamentations and I see the tragedy of sinful failed leadership. I find it interesting that my study had me pick up Lamentations after I had studied Nehemiah, whose leadership had a reviving effect on the Jews 70 years after the events of Lamentations. The difference between the two scenarios can be found in the role of personal faith and commitment to God on the part of the leader. As a leader, my first and most motivating leadership task is to submit wholly to God so that He may lead me.