When Jeremiah finished telling all the people the whole Message that their God had sent him to give them—all these words—Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah, backed by all the self-important men, said to Jeremiah, “Liar! Our God never sent you with this message telling us not to go to Egypt and live there. Jeremiah 43:1-2 (MSG)
As I read the chapter this morning I was struck by the line “backed by all the self important men.” How often are things decided by a handful of “self important men?”
Along my journey, I’ve witnessed times when critical decisions are influenced by a small number of power brokers. I’ve seen it on church boards and denominational organizations. I’ve seen it in educational systems and in local communities. Then there are the well worn images of issues of national importance being determined in “smoke filled back rooms.”
How often do we find that which is best for the whole thwarted by that which is beneficial for the few? I chuckle to myself, even as I type this. Perhaps I’m channeling a bit of Oliver Stone this morning. Maybe I’m putting too much stock in conspiracies. And yet, my mind recalls specific instances I’ve witnessed and I tend to think that what Jeremiah encountered with Azariah and Johanan is not all that uncommon.
I pray that I never fall prey to self-importance. When placed in the position of decision making, I hope that I may stand firmly along side the lone voice of truth which is spoken in midst of dissenting, self-centered power brokers.