The Lingering Effects Of Poor Leadership

Surely these things happened to Judah according to the Lord’s command… (2 Kings 24:3). 

I am intrigued by the succession of the last kings of Judah just before Jerusalem falls in 586 BC. The leadership authority has been completely undermined by the downward spiral of sin in the previous leaders. As a result, the kings of Judah are now just an “empty suit,” with someone else exerting the real influence.

King Josiah was the last God-fearing king Judah had. After Josiah died, “the people of the land” made Jehoahaz king of Judah. He only reigned three months. 

After Jehoahaz died, “Pharaoh Neco made Eliakim son of Josiah king” after Egypt subdued Judah. Pharaoh changed his name to Jehoiakim, took all of Judah’s treasures, and imposed a tribute on Judah, forcing Jehoiakim to tax all the citizens. 

Later on, Jehoiakim became a vassal king of Nebuchadnezzar. After Jehoiakim died, his son Jehoiachin only reigned as king for three months before he was deposed by Nebuchadnezzar. 

Nebuchadnezzar then “made Mattaniah” king. He also imposed tribute and changed the king’s name to Zedekiah. 

King Zedekiah rebelled and was executed, after which Nebuchadnezzar “appointed Gedaliah as governor.” Gedaliah was assassinated shortly thereafter, completing the collapse of Judah and sending the people into exile in Babylon for the next 70 years. 

[Check out all of the biblical references for these sad events by clicking here]

Oh, what misery for the people of Judah for this last 20-year span under these final kings! The consequences of the leaders’ continual rebellion against God brought such uncertainty and heartache for the citizens. 

A mark of a godless leader is the wake of misery that follows him for generations afterward. 

Lord God, help me to see that my actions today have consequences for tomorrow. I want to leave an empowering, God-honoring legacy for the next generations, but this can only happen as I remain obedient to You! 

This is part 51 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts in this series by clicking here

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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