Chapter-a-Day Jeremiah 38

King Zedekiah caved in: “If you say so. Go ahead, handle it your way. You’re too much for me.” Jeremiah 38:5 (MSG)

King Zedekiah is an interesting study in leadership. Let’s quickly examine his tosses and turns in this one chapter:

  • He caves into one group of officials and lets them throw Jeremiah into the well.
  • An Ethiopian official tells the King he shouldn’t have done it, so the king changes his mind and orders that Jeremiah be hauled up from the well.
  • The King then decides he wants to hear what Jeremiah has to say and calls Jeremiah in for a secret chat.
  • The King then refuses to do what God tells him to do through Jeremiah, because he’s afraid of what the Judean political party might do in response.
  • The King then makes Jeremiah swear to lie about their conversation because he’s afraid of what his officials might say.

I’ve observed that people generally don’t follow, nor respect, leaders who change their minds and change their course like a shifting wind. Unbridled fear leads to poor decisions. Zedekiah provides an classic word picture of weak leadership. Unfortunately, everyone in Jerusalem suffered for it.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and spodzone

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