Power Abuse

Then Zedekiah the king said, “Look, he is in your hand. For the king can do nothing against you” (Jeremiah 38:5).

Some schemers wanted to put Jeremiah the prophet to death (v. 4) and the king basically said, “Well, I have no power to stop you.”

What?! Isn’t Zedekiah the king?

Zedekiah was afraid of “bad press.” His officials said, “Jeremiah’s message is making us look bad,” so Zedekiah went along with them. Fortunately, Ebed-Melech wisely used the same tactic to rescue Jeremiah. He said, “King Zedekiah, if word gets out that Jeremiah has been so shamefully treated, you will look bad” (vv. 8, 9). So the king relented.

Even when Zedekiah wanted to talk to Jeremiah, he did so secretly (v. 16), and he even gave Jeremiah the “talking points” to say if anyone asked what they talked about (vv. 24-26).

What a spineless “leader”! 

Zedekiah was a position-only leader. John Maxwell rightly pointed out, “Power abuse occurs not only when evil leaders act out of selfishness, but when good leaders neglect to do what they should.” 

A mark of a godly leader is one who doesn’t abuse his power.

This is part 28 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts in this series by clicking here.

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